WCW will always hold a place in the heart of longtime wrestling fans, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t make quite a few mistakes. Most WWE productions looking back at WCW will feature the bad moments of people running WCW making poor decisions. Eric Bischoff, Vince Russo and a few others had the power to control the show and they unfortunately did not have a great track record of the best long-term thinking.
The biggest reason WCW went out of business was due to all the bad decisions piling up to lead to the audience declining quickly. A fall from record-breaking profits to bleeding money is extremely rare and shows just how bad some of the decisions were for WCW. We will look at just what made some of the low points so bad and what the thinking was behind it. These are the ten worst booking decisions in WCW history.
10 Unmasking Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio was among the most underrated talents in WCW. The cruiserweight division provided great variety with hard-working young talents led by Mysterio. His role as the face of the division made him an underdog hero to the younger fan base watching.
WCW however ruined the magic of Mysterio by removing his mask at the end of a storyline with Kevin Nash. The hope was that Mysterio could connect more to the fans without a mask, but the mask was part of the season they loved him. Rey would fulfill his potential years later in WWE as a top main eventer.
9 David Arquette winning the world title
An obvious instance of the poor decision making from WCW would see celebrity David Arquette winning the WCW Championship in 2000. Arquette appeared on WCW television to help promote the Ready to Rumble wrestling movie, but Vince Russo wanted more than just promotion for the movie.
The mind of Russo expected mainstream press coverage with his plan of Arquette winning the WCW Championship. It instead just made the company look like a joke and sped up the already terrifying downward spiral. Arquette has returned to wrestling now and is already accomplishing more than his WCW run did.
8 Reuniting the New World Order factions with Fingerpoke of Doom
One forgotten footnote in WCW history that the New World Order splitting into two factions worked for a while. Fans loved the Wolfpac group with Kevin Nash, Sting, Lex Luger, Randy Savage and Konnan all becoming top faces.
WCW however ruined that and their entire company with the Fingerpoke of Doom spot. Hulk Hogan won the WCW Championship after Nash laid down for him to get the pin thus reuniting the nWo. Fans felt disrespected at the title change and all the love for Nash disappeared weeks after ending Goldberg’s streak.
7 Making all young wrestlers heels in the New Blood
WCW tried to rebrand in 2000 with both Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff working together. The reset would see the young wrestlers on the roster almost all become heels in the group known as the New Blood led by Russo and Bischoff.
It was a promising idea, but the new stars playing heels against all the fan favorite legends meant no one would care about them. Wrestlers like Billy Kidman, Vampiro and Shane Douglas gained nothing from their victories over Hulk Hogan, Sting and Ric Flair due to the ineffective storytelling.
6 Jeff Jarrett winning the world title
The WCW Championship was protected well for many years with only top credible names winning the gold. That fell apart in the late 90s when Vince Russo took control and experimented with some surprising world champions.
Jeff Jarrett winning the gold and becoming a main player on the show was a huge reason for fans losing interest in WCW. Many years of work in both WWE and WCW portrayed Jarrett as a mid-carder. Nothing he did in the newly pushed role would convince anyone to take him seriously as the world champion for a relevant promotion.
5 Bringing in Ultimate Warrior for Hogan feud
The decision to bring in Ultimate Warrior to WCW was a huge mistake for many reasons. WCW already had a loaded roster with countless past and future legends. Warrior lost most of his credibility as a top star after a couple of disappointing WWE returns.
That didn’t stop WCW from bringing Warrior in on a huge contract worth over a million bucks for a handful of dates. Reports from the time claimed that Eric Bischoff hired Warrior solely for Hulk Hogan to get his win back from WrestleMania almost a decade prior. The match between the two was an all-time disaster and Warrior left right after with no payoff from this time there.
4 Turning Diamond Dallas Page heel before title win
Diamond Dallas Page had one of the best stories in WCW history. The popular wrestler started wrestling later than most, but he wanted to chase his dream of becoming a top wrestler. WCW would see Page rise to the top of the company as the fan base fell in love with his work.
DDP would not win the WCW Championship until 1999, and they turned him heel right before it happened. Fans could not get to truly appreciate the long journey of supporting Page when he had his big moment due to WCW wanting him booed.
3 Indecisive finish to Hogan/Sting
The iconic feud between Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Sting culminated at Starrcade 1997. Sting had his first match in over a year after the New World Order turned WCW wrestlers against him with a fake Sting doing dastardly damage.
Following months of revenge, Sting finally wrestled again to defeat Hogan in the main event of Starrcade in the highly anticipated match. The match sadly did not live up to expectations mostly due to the booking.
Referee Nick Patrick counted three for Hogan that was explained as a fast count to restart the match, but his count looked normal. The controversy took away from Sting’s big moment.
2 Kevin Nash ending Goldberg's streak
The undefeated streak of Goldberg became the most popular storyline in WCW in 1998. Goldberg racked up 173 victories without a defeat as the reigning WCW Champion heading into the Starrcade 1998 main event against Kevin Nash.
Fans were surprised to see the streak end when Scott Hall tazed Goldberg with a cattle prod leading to Nash hitting the Powerbomb and scoring the win. The choice of Nash was already curious given his older age, but the win became meaningless when Nash handed over the title to Hulk Hogan weeks later with the Fingerpoke of Doom.
1 Vince Russo winning the world title
The absolute worst decision to come from WCW featured Vince Russo booking himself to win the WCW Championship. Russo made the move to WCW after having a successful run as the lead writer for WWE during the Attitude Era. The hope was that Russo could save the sinking ship of WCW.
Russo instead made it significantly worse with decisions like booking his way on-screen as a top character. Despite not having any success as a character, Russo would win the WCW Championship and further sink the ratings to the point of no return.