The second half of the 1990s was a tumultuous time for WWE. While the '80s and early '90s had been a time of growth and success, the latter half of the decade saw WCW rise up and pose a legitimate threat to WWE's establishment and dominance on the pro wrestling industry. Ted Turner and Eric Bischoff shared the goal of wanting to bring down Vince McMahon, and for a while it looked like they might very well achieve that. WCW stated their intent by creating Nitro, a show that would air on Monday nights so that it could go head to head with WWE's flagship, Raw. For a time WCW actually took the lead when it came to the oh so important TV ratings and WWE really had their backs against the wall, but of course Vince and co would come back to eventually win the war after it had been raging for six plus years.
The main focus of the Monday Night War between the two companies was who their rosters were made up of. Even before the war had officially begun WCW were already in the business of poaching WWE talents. As time went on it became common place, and worryingly for WWE more and more faces that had once been their's would start appearing on Nitro. Not everyone jumped ship of course, and some Superstars realized that they were already on what would eventually be the winning team, despite having to ride through some pretty tough times.
15 Betrayed: The Ultimate Warrior
Those of you who were watching both WWE and WCW throughout the Monday Night War may have forgotten, or rather tried to forget, that The Ultimate Warrior ever competed for the latter. Warrior's relationship with WWE, and more specifically Vince McMahon, was a pretty fragile one. Before the war between them and WCW even began things were far from great between the two of them. Warrior had left the company not once but twice in 1991 and 1992. Vince managed to convince the former WWE Champion to return four years later but in hindsight that may have been a mistake. Warrior effectively held WWE to ransom for more money and when he didn't get it, he high tailed it and tried his luck with WCW instead.
14 Loyal: Mark Henry
Mark Henry is one of the longest tenured Superstars still under contract at WWE right now, especially since The Undertaker's status is up in the air. The former strong man signed with WWE all the way back in 1996 and has been loyal to Vince McMahon ever since. Impressive since I imagine there were times during the war with WCW where a new company and a fresh start probably looked very tempting for Henry. The man was labelled Sexual Chocolate for a long while during the Attitude Era, and is remembered for a story line that culminated in him fathering a hand with Mae Young. Giving WCW a call must've crossed Mark's mind when he was in that 'delivery room' with Mae on the table.
13 Betrayed: Bret Hart
One of the most famous defections from WWE to WCW during the Monday Night War was that of Bret Hart. The Hitman is probably the one man on this list who regretted the move the most, especially since a large part of him didn't actually want to leave WWE. In 1997 Hart was WWE Champion, but had agreed a deal to join the company's bitter enemies. Naturally Vince McMahon didn't want Bret taking his company's most coveted prize with him, so needed Hart to drop the title to Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series. Hart infamously wouldn't do it and insisted on handing the title over in some other way. Vince and co then felt they had to take matters into their own hands which resulted in one of the most infamous moments in all of pro wrestling history, The Montreal Screwjob.
12 Loyal: Owen Hart
Considering what had happened to his brother Bret and how WWE treated him, it was very surprising that Owen Hart didn't follow suit and join him in WCW. Shortly after the Montreal Screwjob for a short time it did actually look like Owen was considering doing just that. Fellow family members Jim Neidhart and British Bulldog were both granted early releases from their contracts so that they could follow in Bret's footsteps, yet Owen was not. There are a few schools of thought as to why Owen never left. Some believe that Vince simply wouldn't let him, while Bret claims that Eric Bischoff wasn't willing to pay Owen what WWE was paying him. Owen himself actually thought that WCW wouldn't use him correctly and still had bad memories of a time that he had been there before joining WWE.
11 Betrayed: Alundra Blayze
There was a good reason and precedent surrounding the thought process Vince McMahon had behind not trusting Bret Hart to hand over the WWE Championship before moving over to WCW. Two years prior WWE Women's Champion Alundra Blayze had jumped ship and been pretty underhand about it. Blayze appeared on WCW Nitro one week and to the horror of the higher ups at WWE at the time she still had their championship with her. By order of Eric Bischoff, Alundra would drop the women's title into the bin before becoming Madusa and wrestling for WCW. It was the ultimate act of betrayal, and one WWE took a long time to forgive her for, twenty years in fact. Now it's finally water under the bridge and Blayze is in the Hall of Fame.
10 Loyal: The Rock
You look at The Rock now and it's almost inconceivable to think how far he has come since his WWE debut in 1996. The days of Rocky Maivia are a very distant memory. It wasn't plain sailing for Rock either. Despite having pro wrestling coursing through his veins and being a third generation Superstar, the fans didn't instantly accept The People's Champ. In fact for a while chants of 'Die Rocky Die' would echo throughout arenas around the country. Pretty horrible stuff, and you probably couldn't have blamed Rock if he had decided to try his luck somewhere else with a different persona. He persevered with WWE though and rather than try to win the fans over, which of course he would do eventually anyway, he became the Corporate Champion and embraced the hate, all while boosting the popularity of WWE at the same time.
9 Betrayed: Randy Savage
Randy Savage was not only one of the biggest coups made by WCW during the Monday Night War, he was also one of the first. The Macho Man signed for WCW before WWE were probably that worried about them, on December 3rd 1994. It was before Nitro had even begun. In the time leading up to his departure Savage had transitioned to a color commentator role for WWE as opposed to competing in the ring as much. Turns out it was a role Randy didn't particularly want and believed that he still had a lot more to give in the ring. It was a time of change in WWE with Vince McMahon's focus shifting to the younger talent. Eventually Savage saw opportunities elsewhere, and that if he signed for WCW he could return to performing in the ring on a more regular basis as opposed to just calling the action.
8 Loyal: Kane
Mark Henry isn't the only man who has suffered through some terrible gimmicks yet remained loyal to Vince McMahon in WWE. In fact you could argue that before Kane became The Big Red Machine he had to suffer through worse, especially since he's been at the company a whole year longer. Before Kane became the monster that we all know him as he was a victim of a time when WWE believed that every Superstar should have a career as their gimmick. Kane's was that of an evil dentist named Isaac Yankem. Yes it was ridiculous, and yes it did really happen. It was well over twenty years ago now so I'm sure Kane and WWE hope that we've all forgotten about it. When Vince calls you into his office and tells you you're going to be playing an evil dentist on TV, it must have taken every fiber of Kane's being to not turn around, leave his office, and give WCW a call.
7 Betrayed: Scott Hall
There are so many moments during the Monday Night War between WWE and WCW that fans can argue were the exact moment that things really started and really heated up. The arrival of Scott Hall may be the moment with the most logic to it however. The arrival of Scott Hall on WWE television really had fans of both shows wondering what exactly was going on. It was at a time where the internet was in its infancy, so people weren't sure as to whether Scott was genuinely still under contract with WWE and was invading WCW Nitro. Of course that wasn't the case, and the lucrative contract with less dates had tempted the man formerly known as Razor Ramon from WWE across to Eric Bischoff's show.
6 Loyal: Triple H
There is no better definition of a true company man than Triple H, especially in the present day. The Game has been a part of the WWE family since 1995, ironically after leaving WCW, and his loyalty to Vince McMahon hasn't wavered since. Many would argue that's because he's married to the boss's daughter, but at the height of the Monday Night War he was not and was actually far from being in WWE's good graces. Before some of his closest friends jumped ship he and the other members of The Kliq broke Kayfabe in an act dubbed The Curtain Call, and it was Triple H who took the heat for it. WWE halted his push and made him pay for what he and The Kliq had done, and with three of his best friends in WCW The Cerebral Assassin could have easily joined them had it not been for his loyalty to Vince.
5 Betrayed: Kevin Nash
When Scott Hall crossed the divide between WWE and WCW, it was only a couple of weeks before he was joined by the man that would make the move even bigger news. It was both Kevin Nash and Hall that 'invaded' WCW and both of them, known at the time as The Outsiders, who had fans believing that they were WWE Superstars trespassing on WCW territory. Nash has candidly spoken about his decision at the time, claiming that it wasn't a question of loyalty but a question of dollars and cents. Vince McMahon simply couldn't stump up the cash to make him stay put so he decided to go. He and Hall would of course go on to be key in WCW's success over their former employers with a third man who is yet to appear on this list.
4 Loyal: Shawn Michaels
One member of The Kliq whose loyalty never wavered was Shawn Michaels. While close friends Kevin Nash and Scott Hall shifted their allegiance and took the large amounts of money being offered to them, the Heart Break Kid remained in WWE and attempted to steady the ship when their competitors began to edge ahead. Shawn was a different man at the time to the one he would later become though. He had trouble with drugs and drink and was a bit of a handful for Vince McMahon. The chairman of WWE knew Michaels' worth though and suffered through what Shawn threw at him in the name of WWE. Shawn has admitted that there were times during the Monday Night War that he probably could have signed for WCW, but clearly knew how good he had it in WWE.
3 Betrayed: Hulk Hogan
That third man I mentioned earlier was of course Hulk Hogan. The Hulkster would join Nash and Hall to form the nWo in one of the most famous moments in pro wrestling history. He had been part of another big moment a few years prior however when he joined WCW in what really signaled that the company meant business. It was before the Monday Night War had officially begun, but it was most certainly a statement of intent from WCW and a sign of things to come. WWE had made Hogan and in turn he had really made them. If it wasn't for Hulkamania during the 1980s then both Hulk's life and the wrestling landscape as a while would look very different right now. You would have thought Hogan bled WWE, yet when he had finished up with film commitments and returned to the ring it was for WCW instead of the company who had previously done so much for him.
2 Loyal: The Undertaker
When you're talking about men who have shown loyalty to WWE and to Vince McMahon, there is no one who holds a candle to The Undertaker. The Deadman debuted for WWE all the way back in November of 1990, long before the Monday Night War ever began. The Phenom would remain with WWE, and at the top of the card, throughout all of the 1990s and is still with the company today. Even when WWE was at its lowest and WCW was riding high, it was never in any doubt that Vince could always rely on The Undertaker and that he would never even consider joining the enemy. His long, unbroken tenure has made Undertaker one of the most highly thought of and respected Superstars in the WWE locker room. He's as much a part of WWE's success as anyone who has been at the company in the past 30 years.
1 Betrayed: Lex Luger
While there are many potential starting points for where you could say the Monday Night War began, as I mentioned earlier, really you would have to say that it was the day of the first ever WCW Nitro. Eric Bischoff and co decided that to compete with WWE they would have to go toe to toe with their flagship show Raw on Monday nights. That's what started it all and WCW truly struck the first blow of the war during that very first episode. During the show none other then Lex Luger emerged to the shock of everybody watching, including those at WWE because they thought Lex was still under contract with them. Turns out he wasn't, and despite performing for WWE just 24 hours prior had become a member of the WCW roster. It was an incredibly sneaky thing to do, by both WCW and Lex Luger, and truly signalled that WWE may have had a problem on their hands.
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