The '90s world of wrestling was defined by the Monday Night Wars - a time where Vince McMahon and his WWF promotion went up against Ted Turner's WCW company. The two wrestling juggernauts battled for ratings supremacy right after Hulk Hogan signed with WCW in 1994.
Following the formation of the legendary New World Order alliance - plus additions of old WWF talents like Lex Luger and 'Macho Man' Randy Savage - WCW began to topple Vince's company in ratings. For a few years, it looked like the WWF's demise was inevitable.
But as WCW began to shoot themselves in the feet with terrible booking and business decisions, Vince transitioned the WWF towards the Attitude Era. They moved away from the comic book hero/villains gimmicks and adopted a more adult-oriented product that focussed a lot on rebellious characters and vulgar promos.
After the Attitude Era launched, the WWF began to run away with the ratings war. WCW was eventually bought out by Vince -- and the Monday Night Wars were over.
Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels recently appeared on the In This Corner podcast with Brian Campbell, and explained why the WWF prevailed in the ratings battle:
"I've always known the guy I work for, and the dude works 24/7, and that's why it was always easy never to leave. There was absolutely no way that guy was going to give up. You didn't know when, you didn't know how long, or whatever.
But there was absolutely no way he was not going to continue standing and continue fighting. So, really once you really know that, it's just are you willing to wait it out."
McMahon made a number of gutsy calls that helped him hand the lead to the WWF. For starters, the "Mr. McMahon" on-screen character (inspired from his involvement in the Montreal Screwjob), became a massive success. His feud with 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin defined the Attitude Era and got over with the fans.
WCW also made a bunch of awful decisions that killed their momentum. From giving Hulk Hogan full creative control to his character to hiring Vince Russo and Kevin Nash as storyline writers, WCW did too much damage that couldn't be repaired.
Vince grew up in the wrestling industry. He knew what had to be done in order to win the wars. And his risky business and storyline decisions all paid off. As such, we're about to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Raw -- not Nitro.