WCW is always remembered for a mixed history of amazing memories and horrible regrets. No promotion had such a polarizing reaction to the major concepts and decisions that went down in the company. Eric Bischoff, Vince Russo, Kevin Sullivan, Bill Watts, and a few others had power at different times, with each person having their fair share of ups and downs in putting together the product that unfolded every week.
We will look at both the iconic and disappointing moments that are remembered the strongest today. The positive side will see the best instances of WCW thriving and delivering something that led to a lasting memory. Regrets will see the things that make some fans still joke about WCW for their decline. Find out just how much things went up and down with the five most iconic and the five most embarrassing moments in WCW history.
10 Iconic: Ron Simmons makes history
Ron Simmons winning the WCW Championship truly provided a special moment loved by the fans. The win made Simmons the first ever black WCW Champion. Fans reacted with joy when Simmons defeated Vader and overcame the interference of Harley Race.
Feel-good moments are hard to build in wrestling, but WCW did it with their push of Simmons. This was before the bigger names came in and it helped give WCW an identity of pushing their own talents. Simmons made history and created a moment fans still appreciate today.
9 Embarrassing: Hulk Hogan vs Ultimate Warrior
The rematch of Hulk Hogan vs Ultimate Warrior from WrestleMania 6 took place in WCW over eight years later. Warrior came in solely for the Hogan angle with weeks of strange storytelling. Things got worse when they finally had the match at Halloween Havoc 1998.
This match is considered to be in the running for the worst of all time. Everything they did appeared to come off in slow motion. Hogan tried using a fireball spot and ended up burning his own eyebrows. Horace Hogan helped Hulk win the weakest chair shot you’ll ever find.
8 Iconic: Lex Luger ends Hulk Hogan's title reign
WCW Nitro rarely featured title changes as most big matches main eventing ended in a DQ or no contest. Lex Luger, however, scored one of the biggest wins in company history when defeating Hulk Hogan to end his first run as the leader of the New World Order.
The locker room emptied and lifted Luger on their shoulders to celebrate the victory. Luger washing off the spray-painted letters of the nWo is a visual every WCW fan will remember. Hogan won the title back just a few days later, but that didn’t take away from the moment.
7 Embarrassing: Judy Bagwell on a Pole Match
Vince Russo’s entire WCW stint would be considered embarrassing. There were quite a few matches with strange items on a pole given the fascinating of this stipulation for Russo. The dumbest of them took place when Chris Kanyon faced off with Buff Bagwell.
Buff’s mother Judy was abducted by Kanyon and placed on a forklift to create the Judy Bagwell on a Pole match. Luckily, Bagwell did win to free his mother and end the storyline. This was around the time WCW lost their fans and couldn’t win them back for good reason.
6 Iconic: Ric Flair beats Vader
Starrcade 1993 featured one of the most emotional matches in WCW history. Ric Flair put his career on the line to challenge Vader during his dominant run as the WCW Champion. Vader was the top heel in the company and Flair was the one trying to stop him by risking his career.
Flair defeated Vader in a tremendous main event to give fans the incredible moment of him holding the gold again. This was considered the best story of Flair’s career while playing a face character. Vader’s great heel run added a lot to the moment as WCW told a perfect story.
5 Embarrassing: Oklahoma parody
Jim Ross has always been a respected mind in the wrestling community. Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara decided to challenge that by mocking him when they joined WCW. Ferrara played a parody of Ross called Oklahoma mocking his accent, BBQ sauce and personal illness.
WCW continued to run with this angle even though it just turned fans away. The gimmick is one of the first things to come up when fans and wrestlers dislike the worst moments of WCW. Oklahoma was both horrible on a personal level and entertainment level each.
4 Iconic: Hulk Hogan joining the New World Order
Bash at the Beach 1996 was the night things changed forever in WCW. Hulk Hogan turned heel for the first time since becoming a wrestling icon and joined the duo of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to form the New World Order in an attempt to take over the company.
WCW started dominating in the ratings war against WWE shortly after the nWo angle started. Hogan was the driving force here as his heel turn created a dynamic fans never expected to happen. The nWo was the main reason WCW found such success on the mainstream level after this moment.
3 Embarrassing: David Arquette winning WCW Championship
David Arquette winning the WCW Championship is among the more popular instances of wrestling fans all agreeing to dislike a storyline. The starring role in the Ready to Rumble film would see Arquette making appearances in WCW to promote it.
Vince Russo came up with the idea to have Arquette win the WCW Championship with the expectations of getting media coverage to improve the ratings. No one cared outside of the wrestling community and they hated the storyline. Arquette even admitted in recent years that he didn’t want to win the title but was talked into the bad idea.
2 Iconic: Goldberg winning the WCW Championship
The rise of Goldberg gave WCW their first homegrown star in many years. Goldberg had an undefeated streak that extended all the way to 173 wins before suffering his first loss. The massive match on Nitro here would see Goldberg put his undefeated streak on the line against Hulk Hogan’s WCW Championship.
Many fans expected a run-in finish to stop the match before a winner was crowned. WCW shocked us all by putting the title on Goldberg and having him beat Hogan clean. The moment was must-see television and created one of the loudest responses in wrestling history.
1 Embarrassing: Fingerpoke of Doom
The infamous Fingerpoke of Doom played a huge role in fans giving up on WCW in the battle against WWE. Kevin Nash ended Goldberg’s undefeated streak to become WCW Champion and defended it against Hulk Hogan a couple of weeks later.
The start and finish of the match saw Hogan poke Nash with his finger to send him to the pat and get the pin. Nash and Hogan hugged to reveal it was a plan all along to reform both nWo Wolfpac and Hollywood factions. Fans were livid at such a weak ending and tuned into WWE to see Mick Foley win the WWE Championship in a better match that night.