Three words that every wrestling fan in the 1990s grew up hearing: Monday Night War.
Billionaire and WCW owner Ted Turner squared off against WWF's (now WWE,) billionaire owner Vince McMahon for nearly a decade in a battle for wrestling entertainment supremacy.
The two companies embarked on Monday night battles to draw the most ratings and followings from the hearts and minds of wrestling fans all over the planet. The best part about this was how the two sides kept trying to manipulate each other; those parts were often more entertaining than the storylines and in-ring action themselves.
McMahon and Turner stole each other's wrestlers, traded jabs at each other, made fun of each other and did whatever it took to go to the very top. Ultimately McMahon won the wars when WCW when was bought out by McMahon and went defunct in 2001, when his rival company started to go down the drain.
Even though McMahon remains the chairman of the world's most entertaining wrestling promotion (without any real life competition in all honesty), no one is going to forget the moments in which he and Turner tried to outdo one another, outside the ring and behind the scenes.
You may not be aware of the shots each company tried taking at one another. But whether or not you believe it, these shots actually led to the demise of one company while allowing the other to take over. Here are the 15 biggest shots that WCW and WWE took at one another during the Monday Night War.
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15 Hulk Hogan Joins WCW
This was the move that kick started the Monday Night Wars, so it's only fitting we use it to kick off this list.
Vince McMahon decided he didn't need Hulk Hogan anymore. McMahon was, and still is, a brilliant businessman and was able to let big names go while bringing in ones to replace them.
This happened with Hogan, as the two sides separated. Hogan then tried an acting career, but Eric Bischoff did everything in his power to get Hogan to join Ted Turner's WCW.
Hulk Hogan joined the company, and WCW began to take off and suddenly WWE had serious competition.
14 WWE and ECW Unite
Extreme Championship Wrestling had its fair share of talent, but no way in a million years would the Monday Night War become a three-way horse race.
Well, McMahon saw the opportunity and jumped on it. He saw the stars ECW had, and they made it work from there.
In 1997, ECW stars, like Tommy Dreamaer and Paul Heyman, began to invade WWE. ECW stars began to appear on WWF programming, and fans from ECW would invade WWF events.
The two companies worked incredibly well together, and it helped WWE slowly get to the top of the ratings.
13 1-2-3 Kid Joins WCW
Formerly the 1-2-3 Kid, X-Pac was one of the members of the ever-popular WWE faction, D-Generation X. (The Triple H version)
However, 1-2-3 Kid made a rather shocking appearance on WCW in 1996. He sat front row on a Monday Nitro event causing much speculation among fans. Kid was soon to be revealed as the newest member of the nWo.
He went by Syxx there, and once again, WCW gave WWE a punch in the gut by taking one of their promising Superstars.
12 Bret Harts Goes to WCW
This was completely Vince McMahon's mishandling, there's not much else to say about it. Bret Hart was arguably the WWE's biggest Superstar during the '90s.
McMahon encouraged Hart to join WCW, saying he wouldn't be able to fulfill the contract. Hart would join WCW, but had an ugly end with the WWE via the infamous Montreal Screwjob.
Hart's tenure in WCW was arguably the worst in the history of Ted Turner's company, but the fact McMahon couldn't keep one of his best, and let him go over to his rival didn't bode well.
I guess Hart was right, back in 2010, when he said "Vince screwed Vince."
11 Rick Rude Stands on Both Sides
This was one of the stranger moments in the history of professional wrestling, and you can interpret the winner or loser of this incident however you want.
You see, Rick Rude was a huge Superstar for both WWE and WCW, having multiple stints with both companies.
On the November 17, 1997 edition of Monday Nitro, Rude appeared to make fun of D-Generation X, taking a shot at them.
He was also on Raw is War, which was taped six days earlier. So he was on air, appearing on both shows.
So he was able to draw ratings for both companies, but I guess you can say WCW benefited with him criticizing their rival company.
10 Randy Savage Joins WCW
Macho Man was by far the biggest name in WWE history not named Hulk Hogan. You could even say he was the greatest Superstar Vince McMahon ever owned.
When his contract ran up with WWE, Savage chose to join WCW, and Vince McMahon had to announce on the air that the beloved Macho Man was leaving the company.
Like Hogan, this was a huge punch to the face for McMahon and the WWE. Bischoff and Turner stole the two biggest names McMahon had and turned them into major Superstars with WCW.
Over the next couple of years, Nitro would win most of the rating battles, thanks in part to having Savage on their side.
9 WWE Steals Low-Cards, Turns Them Into Powers
Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit were four of the absolute biggest names in the WWE during the 2000s. Dean Malenko was a bigger hit in WCW than WWE.
What do they all have in common? They were all talents in WCW, but they all failed because of Bischoff's obsession with making the nWo and Sting the only superstars with television time
Eventually, the aforementioned low-card wrestlers slowly joined the WWE together, and Jericho was instantly a hit when he began a feud with The Rock in 1999.
All of the other men, and of course The Radicalz alliance, made huge names for themselves in WWF. McMahon proved that one man's trash is another one's treasure when he took these guys in.
8 Diesel and Razor Ramon Look-Alikes
Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, also knows as Diesel and Razor Ramon, respectively, had previously wrestled in WCW but became huge names in the WWE during the early '90s.
However, WCW once again threw a curveball at WWE by bringing both men in within two weeks, as Eric Bischoff threw piles of cash at them to sign with the promotion.
As a result, McMahon took a shot at both wrestlers by introducing Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon. They had Rick Bognar portray Hall's old gimmick while Glenn Jacobs (Kane) assumed Nash's former role.
Unsurprisingly, it wasn't a successful decision by McMahon. In fact, it was one of the worst he ever made. At least we got some good laughs out of it. But the real Nash and Hall got the last laugh when they climbed to the top of the wrestling hierarchy.
7 MSG Curtain Call
Had a group of fans failed to sneak in a video camera to capture this tense moment, who knows if it would have been all that big.
Triple H and Shawn Michaels competed in separate matches against Razor Ramon and Diesel, respectively.
However, it was well-known that Nash and Hall were planning to leave for WCW. The group of wrestlers broke character and embraced in the ring and celebrated together in an event knows as the "MSG Curtain Call," as a nice send-off for Hall and Nash.
Needless to say, WWE management was not happy with this call. Even though it wasn't their intention, the future DX alliance members really shot themselves in the foot by doing this.
6 DX invades WCW
It's safe to say Eric Bischoff and his men weren't going to "Break It Down" when the powerful alliance invaded WCW.
During an April 1998 Nitro show, D-Generation X actually drove a tank outside of the arena where Nitro was happening.
DX then rallied the fans to chant against WCW, and Bischoff failed to take advantage of this. Though WWE was obviously taking a shot at them, who knows the amount of ratings WCW could have had that night if they cooperated.
Instead, WWE found a great way to embarrass their competition in a big way.
5 Lex Luger's Surprising WCW Debut
Lex Luger was yet another huge name that Vince McMahon developed, making him an all-time fan favorite.
The All-American had an earlier stint with WCW, but his career reached new heights under McMahon's watch.
Luger surprisingly left the WWE when his contract expired without telling the company in 1995.
Bischoff jumped on the opportunity and gave Luger a contract offer, and Luger took it and made a shocking appearance on the first episode of Nitro.
WWE was shocked to see that not only did one of their biggest Superstars leave, but he showed up out of nowhere on WCW television.
Indeed, this was an early shot WCW took at WWE, and they wouldn't look back for a long time.
4 Madusa's Shot at WWE
Madusa was one of the first female wrestlers to make a huge name for herself. She, like many other wrestlers, was in WCW but began to grow bigger when she joined the WWE.
In a December 1995 segment, Madusa showed up on Nitro television and threw the WWE Women's Championship title in the garbage and said "And that's what I think of the WWF(E) Women's Championship Belt."
Bischoff was reportedly the mastermind behind the stunt, and she later regretted the decision. But at the time, Bischoff seemed like a genius for showing which side was more dominant.
3 Vince Russo Jumps Ship
Vince Russo was one of the early great writers for the WWE. He was one of the key figures behind the storylines where Stone Cold Steve Austin fought Vince McMahon, The Rock's superstardom, and the rise of DX.
Russo left WWE in 1999 after a heavy workload, and appeared to try to take a shot at McMahon by joining WCW.
Yes, this was a huge shot he took at the company, but McMahon got the last laugh as Russo could not steady the sinking ship that was WCW at that time.
2 Billionaire Ted's Wrasslin' War Room
This is when Vince McMahon showed he was indeed feeling incredibly threatened by the rise of WCW.
To take a shot at them, the WWE aired skits where they mocked Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Ted Turner himself.
The skits featured "Billionaire Ted," a Southerner who knew nothing about wrestling, "Huckter," an old man who couldn't do easy exercises without getting injured and made his own storylines, and "Nacho Man" who feared coffee and women's shoes.
It's anyone's opinion on how funny they were, but it was a huge shot McMahon felt the need to take as the Monday Night War became real.
1 WCW Spoils Raw Results
This actually turned out to work in WWE's favour, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a huge cheap shot on WCW's behalf.
When the Monday Night War took off, Eric Bischoff would either have his announcers give out spoilers during Nitro (since Raw episodes were taped prior to being aired on Monday nights), or simply announce them himself.
The most infamous one? WCW main announcer Tony Schiavone tried to sabotage WWE during a 1999 Nitro show.
Here's how it went down: Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash fought for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Nash let Hogan poke him in the chest, where Nash dramatically fell and let Hogan pin him to become the champion.
That same night, Schiavone, during the broadcast and at the request of Bischoff, told fans that Mankind was set to win the WWE Championship from The Rock on Raw Is War.
Well, what goes around comes around as many WCW viewers couldn't help but see Mankind win the title as more than half-a-million people would change the channel.
This is the event that essentially led to the downfall of WCW and the end of the Monday Night War, but it still is the biggest shot one company took at the other.
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