It has been said the best professional wrestling storylines are at least partially based in reality. However, for those involved in what would come to be known as The Monday Night Wars, the competition was all too real. If your company wound up on the losing end, your entire career could be in jeopardy. Should your side lose, would the rival company want to continue to employ you? Would they give you a fair chance to make a name for yourself or would you be forced to j-o-b for other wrestlers? These are just a couple of thoughts that must have been going through the heads of the Monday Night War veterans.
The battle for Nielsen ratings between wrestling promotions WCW and WWE began in September of 1995.Vince McMahon's WWE had long been the top wrestling company in the land. However, when World Championship Wrestling, lead by Eric Bischoff, began poaching many of WWE's top stars the momentum began to shift. By late 1996 WCW was consistently drawing higher ratings and almost put WWE out of business. However, McMahon with help of stars like Steve Austin and The Rock rallied and wound up winning the rating's battle. By 2001 McMahon quite literally owned WCW, when he purchased their assets for $3,000,000.
But what if that didn't happen? What if instead, it was Bischoff and WCW who came out on top? Let's journey to a parallel wrestling universe and take a look at 15 things that could have been very different had WCW come out on top.
15 Goldberg Squashes Steve Austin
When Stone Cold Steve Austin arrives in WCW he is already apprehensive. Austin was previously fired from WCW, via a telephone call from Bischoff years earlier and isn't thrilled to be returning. To make matters worse he is told that TNT is a family friendly network and his crude gestures and foul language won't be tolerated. Austin quickly becomes disgruntled and difficult to work with. Bischoff knows there is still money to be had in an Austin versus Goldberg feud and is able to placate Austin long enough to get through the one-sided feud, that ends with Goldberg winning a "Loser Leaves Town" match at Starrcade. Apparently, there was only enough room in WCW for one bald guy with a goatee and black boots and it wasn't Steve Austin.
14 Trish Stratus Becomes A Nitro Girl
For those of you that would like to get an overview of how Stratus's career really went, check out 7 Photos Of Trish Stratus They Want You To See And 8 They Don’t. However, in this universe, things turned out very differently. WCW never really had much of a women's division, this doesn't change after the Monday Night Wars. As a result, there is little incentive for Stratus to learn to wrestle. She instead sticks to being a manager. After a forgettable stint managing the tag team High Voltage, Bischoff suggests she joins Kimberly Paige and the Nitro Girls. Stratus goes on to dye her hair blue and become Nitro Girl "Ocean". However, after about a year she becomes bored with the role and leaves wrestling to pursue her passion for yoga.
13 Bret Hart And Kurt Angle Have A Match For The Ages
With the influx of new talent pouring into WCW after their victory in the Monday Night Wars, Bret Hart's feud with Goldberg, which resulted in a career-ending injury never happens. When ultra-talented prospect and former Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle finally arrives in WCW he finds himself in a feud with a relatively healthy Hitman. Hart's experience and ring generalship combined with Angle's athleticism help to create some of the greatest matches ever performed inside the squared circle. When the dust clears WCW has a brand new star in Kurt Angle. The Pennsylvania native would go on to have several world title reigns and become one of the biggest stars in WCW history. "Oh, it's true"...well not really, but it could have been.
12 Chris Jericho Joins Team Canada
WWE folds before Jericho is able to defect. As a result, the charismatic Canadian winds up getting lost amongst a sea of mid carders. He eventually winds up joining real life close friend Lance Storm's Team Canada faction. The team eventually breaks up. Jericho and Storm go on to have some pretty good matches with each other, following the fallout. However, once the angle ends Jericho finds himself in an undercard rivalry with the lackluster Glacier. A frustrated Jericho exits WCW and works the independent circuit for a couple of years before leaving the business altogether. Jericho, a lifelong music fan is able to parlay his wrestling fame into a job as a roadie, who winds up working for several big name rock bands. Thus, sparing millions of wrestling fans a trip to Jericho-Holics Anonymous.
11 John Cena Never Becomes A Star
When John Cena finally emerges on the scene, the WCW locker room is a place full of backstabbing and dirty politics. Despite relegating him primarily to undercard feuds, fans begin to notice his natural charisma and skills on the mic. Hulk Hogan and other veterans backstage being to notice him also.Hogan is always leery of young talent who he see's as a threat to his position as top dog in the company. As a result, he requests that Cena be primarily featured on WCW Saturday Night, a program that generates comparatively low ratings. Despite this setback, Cena continues to hustle, remains loyal to WCW, and over time earns management's respect. However, after spending so many years on Saturday Night as a mid-card act, it becomes difficult for the company to view Cena as a main eventer. John Cena has a long and noteworthy career but never comes close to becoming the star he is in WWE.
10 The Undertaker Feuds With Sting
The Undertaker is fortunate enough to already be an established main event star by the time he makes his way to WCW. The ability to utilize previously established stars is what helped Bischoff win the Monday Night Wars and he plans on getting the most out of Taker. The Deadman is booked as an unstoppable force, who spends several weeks easily defeating various mid-card acts. After The Undertaker emerges victorious from his bout with Alex Wright, commentator Tony Schiavone shouts "Can anyone stop this man?" Sting's music hits right on cue, as he is lowered down from the rafters. This is the start of a highly memorable feud between the two men. The Undertaker would go on to remain a top star in WCW for several years.
9 Buff Bagwell Gets A Main Event Push
Buff Bagwell never made it big in WWE, but he was actually quite popular in his days with WCW. As one of WCW's loyal soldiers during the Monday Night Wars, Bischoff decides to try and take Bagwell's career to the next level. He's even put in a high profile program with The Rock. The main event picture eventually becomes too crowded, but Bagwell still manages to remain a solid upper-mid card contributor. He even go's on to form a tag team with Dude Love, The Buff Dudes. Their team is primarily a comedy act, but the two end up having great chemistry. They go on to become one of the longest reigning tag team champions in WCW history. In this alternate wrestling universe, Buff Bagwell becomes a borderline legend.
8 Randy Orton Joins The Horsemen
WCW immediately recognizes Randy Orton as a potential future star. As such, they decided to pair him with the legendary Nature Boy Rick Flair. Orton goes on to join Flair, Dean Malenko, and Jeff Jarrett as a member of Four Horsemen. Flair is able to shield Orton from some of the behind the scenes backstabbing, which allows Orton's career to develop nicely. The youngster from Knoxville has an especially memorable match with DDP, where the two battle for the right to use the Diamond Cutter as their finishing move. Orton goes to become a multiple time world champion and is one of WCW's top stars for the next decade.
7 Stephanie McMahon Leaves The Business
When WWE finally folds, the McMahon's have little interest in working for Ted Turner and Eric Bishoff. Stephanie McMahon is fortunate enough to have a communications degree from Boston Universtiy to fall back on. While McMahon never becomes Chief Brand Officer for the WWE, she still ends up being quite successful. She is able to combine her business savvy and work ethic to become a Communications Director for one of New York's top ad agencies. She even uses her family connections to appear as a contestant on Donald Trump's hit television show The Apprentice. While she doesn't win her season, she manages to make the final four. Following her stint on The Apprentice, McMahon returns to her ad agency and fades into relative obscurity.
6 The Rock Doesn’t Return Once He Leaves For Hollywood
The Rock is a once in a generation talent, who was going to be successful regardless of the circumstances around him. His natural charisma and ability to talk smack, like only he can do, make him a huge star in WCW. He goes to have a career that very much mirrors the one he had with WWE. However, Eric Bischoff already has a tight inner circle of wrestlers he's become close with and none of the former WWE guy's are a part of that circle. The Rock is still treated well and compensated nicely, but he never develops a bond with WCW management. He still goes on to make Hollywood blockbusters, but WCW is unable to lure him back for an occasional appearance or match. Once The People's Champ goes on to become a movie star, he leaves the world of wrestling behind for good.
5 Vince McMahon Starts Another Promotion
Vince McMahon is a workaholic who is obsessed with wrestling. As such, he spends many sleepless nights trying to figure out, just how exactly things went wrong for the WWE. However, McMahon isn't a quitter and view's his defeat in The Monday Night Wars as a temporary setback. Moreover, all his years as a big time promoter have left McMahon with some solid business connection. He is able to lure in enough big-time investors to start another promotion. A new company, Total Nonstop Attitude, or TNA, is born. McMahon's promotion offers a more adult oriented product, as opposed to WCW's more family friendly show. He is even reunited with Steve Austin, who becomes the promotion's centerpiece. McMahon's new company is able to generate a very loyal cult following and is a modest success.
4 The New Age Outlaws Split Up
The New Age Outlaws are quickly disbanded upon their arrival in WCW. Management felt their promos and catch phrases aren't in line with TNT's PG rated environment. The Road Dogg is paired with real-life brother Brad Armstrong, who was already working in WCW. Despite a modest initial push, the team never gets over and the two are primarily used as enhancement talents. Billy Gunn, the other half of the outlaws, becomes a member of Curt Hennig's West Texas Rednecks faction. Bischoff remembers Gunn portraying a cowboy during his stint as a member of The Smoking Guns and decides to have him revisit the role as a member of the Rednecks. The gimmick flops and Gunn is eventually relegated to the undercard. The Outlaws don't fair particularly well in WCW.
3 Hulk Hogan Refuses To Drop The Strap
As the years go on, wrestling fans begin to tire of seeing Hogan headline every show. The Hollywood Hogan gimmick has become stale and the nWo has finally cooled off. Despite pressure from WCW to let someone else win the world title, Hogan threatens to leave, if he is forced to do so. The influx of new up and coming talent has made the aging Hulkster feel a bit insecure. However, he eventually listens to reason, when his friend Eric Bischoff convinces him to drop the belt to a young Randy Orton. Hogan goes back to being a babyface and continues his career as an upper mid-card attraction. He is quietly phased out, over the next few years. However, he does become part of WCW Hall of Fame's inaugural class.
2 Brock Lesnar Joins 3 Count
WCW sometimes had difficulty developing new talent and this is very much the case when Brock Lesnar shows up. The memorable boy band parody 3 Count was managed by former UFC star Tank Abbott. Abbott was turned into a comedic character who was supposed to be 3 Count's biggest fan. When Abbott eventually leaves WCW, creative tabs Lesnar to be the group's next dancing fanboy. Management feels that seeing someone with Lesnar's size and ferocious appearance dance would be hilarious. After a few weeks, a frustrated and humiliated Lesnar walks out the door.
WCW's loss is the UFC's gain, as the amateur wrestling standout join the world of mixed martial arts even sooner. A much younger Lesnar goes on to become a 3-time UFC Heavyweight Champion and is considered one of the earlier pioneers of the sport of mixed martial arts.
1 Triple H Joins The nWo
After the deal to purchase WWE is finalized, Triple H and Chyna arrive backstage at Monday Nitro and are greeted by close personal friends Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, The Outsiders. Triple H, Hall, and Nash are all part of a group of real life friends who call themselves The Kliq. The Outsiders both have Bischoff's ear and put in a good word for their pal. Before long, Triple H and Chyna both find themselves sporting shiny new nWo t-shirts. Triple H gets a nice push in WCW and is involved in many important storylines as part of the New World Order. Triple H is well connected in the industry and has no trouble with the backstage politics in WCW. They don't call the guy the Cerebral Assassin for nothing.
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