WCW began to seriously challenge WWE in the mid-90s when they began to recruit plenty of Vince McMahon's top talents. Even though WCW had been home to big names like Ric Flair, Sting, and Dusty Rhodes, they just didn't have enough to compete with WWE until Eric Bischoff came along.
Bischoff was able to bring aboard big names like Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Randy Savage from WWE. But even though the company relied too much on the veteran pickups from the rival promotion, fans often forget that WCW had some success in developing their own stars as well.
Here are the five best stars that trained at WCW's Power Plant, and five that the company stole from WWE.
10 From The Power Plant: Chris Kanyon
Chris Kanyon spent a brief period of time in WWE before landing in WCW in 1995, where he started out as a jobber. He was eventually repackaged and became the horror-themed Mortis character, which included the signature skull mask.
Kanyon also spent time in The Flock stable, and he would win a pair of WCW Tag Team Championships in his tenure there - one with Diamond Dallas Page and one with Bam Bam Bigelow. Sadly, Kanyon passed away at the age of 30 in 2000.
9 Stole From WWE: Roddy Piper
'Rowdy' Roddy Piper is widely considered to be the greatest heel in WWE history. He portrayed the angry, hot-tempered, and arrogant Scotsman (he was Canadian in real life), and Piper pulled it off perfectly. He was by far the top heel for WWE during its boom in the 80s.
After leaving WWE in 1996, Piper joined the rival WCW promotion; many of Vince McMahon's former talents had already jumped on board here. Piper clashed with the New World Order shortly after its formation, and he entered a feud with Hulk Hogan - defeating him at Halloween Havoc 1997. Piper also held the United States Championship for a brief period in 1999. He left WCW a year later.
8 From The Power Plant: Diamond Dallas Page
Diamond Dallas Page joined WCW in the early '90s, starting out as a manager for the legendary Fabulous Freebirds tag team. DDP then began to train as a wrestler at WCW's Power Plant, where he worked for five years.
DDP quickly emerged as one of the top babyfaces in WCW. After all, he and Sting were practically the only good guys that didn't jump to the New World Order during its highest point in power. DDP feuded frequently with Hulk Hogan, the company's top star, and he captured the WCW World Heavyweight Championship three times.
He was a rare instance of WCW developing its own main event talent.
7 Stole From WWE: Lex Luger
Lex Luger actually started out with NWA/WCW in the mid-80s, but many remember "The Total Package" for his run in WWE from 1993 to '95. When Hulk Hogan left the company, Vince McMahon tried pushing Luger as the next top babyface in WWE, but the plan simply didn't work.
Luger's contract with WWE ran up in 1995, but before Vince could give him a new one, the wrestling legend took his talents back to WCW despite being lowballed by Eric Bischoff in contract offers. Luger would return to the main event scene in WCW, and he stayed with the company until it was bought out in 2011. Luger would move on to TNA and began working with WWE's Wellness Policy in 2011.
6 From The Power Plant: The Giant
This man is better known as the Big Show to all wrestling fans today. But before he embarked on an illustrious 20-year run in WWE, The World's Largest Athlete was duking it out in WCW, where he portrayed a character named "The Giant."
The Giant endured a WCW World Heavyweight Championship reign early in his tenure there, and he had a brief yet memorable feud with Hulk Hogan (they even had a Monster Truck match, people!).
The Giant would later join the villainous nWo stable, though he was booted after a short time and began to fight them off along with the other main babyfaces. Giant left WCW in 1999 after failing to reach fair pay from the company, so he joined WWE and embarked on a career that will certainly land him in the Hall of Fame.
5 Stole From WWE: Scott Hall
Hall had a brief run with WCW early in his career, portraying a character "Diamond Studd." But his career really took off when he signed with the WWE in 1992, portraying the beloved and iconic Razor Ramon heel character.
Hall quickly developed into one of the top heels in the company, and he later joined The Kliq stable. However, Hall and Kevin Nash were offered better deals from WCW in 1996, so they left WWE to join the rival company. Hall, of course, formed one-third of the legendary nWo stable along with Nash and Hogan. His addition was a true game-changer for WCW, to say the least.
4 From The Power Plant: Kevin Nash
Nash actually began his career with WCW in 1991, and he portrayed various characters - including The Master Blaster, Oz (a clear knock-off of The Wizard of Oz), and Vinnie Vegas. But Nash got his big break after he joined the WWE in 1993 (as Diesel), where he worked closely alongside Shawn Michaels.
Nash had one run with the WWE Championship and also joined The Kliq. He and the aforementioned Scott Hall became close friends and left for WCW together in 1996. And like Hall, Nash formed one-third of the nWo members. That put Nash on the path to becoming a future Hall of Famer and all-time wrestling great.
3 Stole From WWE: 'Macho Man' Randy Savage
'Macho Man' Randy Savage was among the biggest names in professional wrestling during the 80s. He and Hulk Hogan carried the torch and helped WWE take off in the mid-80s, and they formed the popular "Mega Powers" tag team. Savage dazzled with his phenomenal in-ring skills and top-notch promos. Everybody fell in love with him and real-life wife and manager, Miss Elizabeth.
But near the end of his time in WWE, Savage was moved to the broadcasting table. He wished to compete in the ring again, but Vince wanted to roll with younger talents instead. Savage joined WCW in 1994 and rekindled his feud with Hogan. Savage later turned heel by joining the villainous nWo stable. He stayed with WCW until 2000.
2 From The Power Plant: Goldberg
Goldberg played three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL from 1992 to '94. After his playing career, Goldberg briefly trained at the WCW Power Plant before debuting on television.
Interestingly, Eric Bischoff explained that they chose to put him on the broadcasts right away because of his "charisma," which won the fans over. This was despite Goldberg having done very little training at the Power Plant.
Well, Goldberg became one of the top main event faces in WCW and embarked on a historic undefeated streak that supposedly hit 173-0. He was right up there with Sting as the most admired babyface in WCW, up until its demise in 2001.
1 Stole From WWE: Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan was the face of professional wrestling during his first go-around in WWE. But he left the company in 1993 and began an acting career, even starring in Thunders in Paradise. But Eric Bischoff approached Hogan and convinced him to come aboard, and the latter debuted for WCW in 1994.
Hogan returned to being the good ol' beloved Hulkamaniac that everybody knew and loved all those years earlier. In 1996, he pulled off a shocking heel turn by aligning himself with Hall and Nash, forming the villainous nWo stable.
WCW paid Hogan handsomely during his six years with the promotion, and even when the company was in need of new stars, they simply kept building the product around him. Hogan left WCW in 2000 following some real-life tension with writer Vince Russo, who berated him on television at the Bash at the Beach pay-per-view.