Looking at the history of WCW, the question is not how this company went out of business, but how they managed to last as long as they did. If not for Ted Turner’s backing, WCW might have folded much earlier thanks to their infamously long list of massive mistakes. Even at the height of their success, the company was making some incredibly stupid moves that would end up costing them. The biggest would be the ridiculously over-inflated contracts paying out guys far more than they were actually worth. It got to the point many wrestlers realized they could make more money just sitting at home rather than risk their health.
But WCW also made other insanely stupid moves. From blowing cash on idiotic matches and wild stunts, celebrity appearances and more, the company seemed to go out of its way to waste Turner’s money. So when Turner was removed from power, all those costs hurt them bad. Here are 10 of the most ridiculous things WCW blew millions on as a reminder why they lost the Monday Night War.
10 The Halloween Havoc 98 Main Event
Halloween Havoc 98 will always be remembered for WCW massively hyping up the long-awaited Hogan-Warrior rematch... and having it be one of the most epic disasters in their history. Thankfully, WCW had not scheduled it for the main event. That left Goldberg and DDP to salvage the show with a terrific match that won back the crowd. Too bad the PPV audience didn’t see it. Incredibly, no one realized the show was running late and they should let the cable company know. Just as the main event started, the feed cut off. Fans were outraged as WCW had to show it for free the next night on “Nitro” and the demand for refunds cost WCW $1.5 million for failing to make the right time.
9 Free PPV Audiences
In 1995, WCW decided to have Bash at the Beach take place at an honest beach outdoors by the water. 10,000 people attended, which may sound a lot until one realizes this was an open beach and none of these people paid to see it.
Bischoff would top this with the annual Road Wild PPVs which took place at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Again, no one paid any admission and the motorcycle crowd was famous for being against good wrestling. Basically, Bischoff preferred being a biker fan over making any money.
8 Flying The Entire Roster
WCW benefited from the money of Ted Turner and being able to use his fortune to succeed. But it also meant they acted like WCW had an endless bank account they could use for anything. That includes the fact that in 1998 and ‘99, the company would fly the entire roster to every show. Yes, almost 100 guys flown out and put in hotels even if only 30 would be used on a show. That was because of the last-minute booking meaning WCW could never be sure who’d they need as a fill-in. Still, blowing so much cash on unneeded workers is astoundingly stupid.
7 Michael Buffer
WCW thought adding Michael Buffer as a ring announcer would be huge. The man was famous for his “Let’s get ready to ruuuuuumbleeeeeee!” line that got boxing crowds going. Using him now and then wasn’t too bad, but WCW soon insisted Buffer was at not just every PPV, but also regular “Nitros” when another announcer would be just as good. Since every appearance cost $25,000, that meant WCW was paying over a million bucks a year for a guy to read off cue cards when they could have had someone for a tenth of the price.
6 Glacier’s Entrance
Glacier is well known as one of the most highly-hyped flops in WCW history. After months selling this awesome Sub-Zero lookalike, he turned out to be a bad worker fans hated. But WCW kept pushing him, which included shelling out cash for his big entrance.
Between the blue lighting, fake ice via snow machine and $35,000 for the armor he would only wear for his entrance, WCW was paying nearly half a million dollars for every time Glacier walked to the ring. The whole act should have been iced, fast.
5 WCW Latino Show
WWE has to give WCW credit for their fantastic Cruiserweight division which made “Nitro” so much more watchable. Bischoff tried to use the Latino influence for the “Latino World Order.” He then figured that audiences would love an entire show about these guys. He was very, very wrong. “WCW Latino” was a total flop not helped by terrible booking. Also, the main backer suddenly left right before it launched and left WCW on the hook for $300,000 of debt. It’s why the cruiserweights in the company hit a major nose dive.
4 The Junkyard Invitational
WCW’s attempts to catch the whole “hardcore” thing were lacking, to say the least. Nothing sums that up more than the insane Junkyard Invitational. At Bash at the Beach 1999, a dozen guys were put into an honest-to-goodness junkyard with the weird goal of retrieving the belt from a pile of cars.
It cost over $100,000 to set this up, which included exploding barrels and cars gimmicked to fall which the wrestlers didn’t know about. Between that and the glass and sharp metal, it’s a miracle no one lost a limb on this mess that fans could barely even see.
This is actually two money-wasting items rolled into one. In 1999, Eric Bischoff entered into a partnership with KISS, somehow thinking they were still the biggest rock band on the planet. As part of this, WCW paid over half a million for KISS to come out and perform a big song which ended up being one of the lowest-rated segments in their history. The deal then involved a wrestler called the KISS Demon to be given a serious push including a feud with Sting. The entire thing was hated by fans and added up to blowing cash for a lame rock bit.
2 Losing Money On A Sold-Out Tour
Few things sum up WCW’s utter incompetence as this. In 2000, with business going badly, WCW got a rare dose of good news as word came in that tickets for a tour of Australia were selling better than expected. The company went there expecting to do great with a sold-out tour. However, due to the deals, WCW had to buy back seats that were unused which meant the ones covered up by the soundstages and the ring area. All told, WCW managed to lose money on a sold-out tour which is astounding incompetence even by their standards.
1 Hogan vs Goldberg For Free
One of the reasons why WCW fell apart fast was that Bischoff was convinced the ratings were proof of who was winning. That was why he made the incredibly short-sighted decision to have Goldberg beat Hulk Hogan on Nitro. Goldberg was incredibly hot and a match with Hogan on PPV would have led to huge numbers. Instead, Bischoff gave it away for free just to get a win in a ratings war WWE was dominating. It got the win but WWE was back on top fast, meaning Bischoff sacrificed what could have been WCW’s biggest-ever PPV payday for one lousy ratings bump.