The Monday Night War between WWE and WCW was a great time to be a professional wrestling fan. Not only were there two promotions competing at a high level for our attention each Monday night, but it also created a level of mystery between the two promotions. It seemed that talent would transition between the promotions each week, and it made things exciting for fans. One week Lex Luger would be performing on Monday Night Raw, but then the next he would be on Nitro (or in this case, it occurred on the same day). The 90s were a great time to be a professional wrestling fan, but this was a rough time for some of the wrestlers.
While the industry was booming, wrestlers were often taken for rollercoaster rides between the companies. The defection and jumping between promotions created a lot of bitterness between the two sides due to how wrestlers were being treated. When a wrestler would leave WWE for WCW their career would end up in one of two ways - they would either love the experience or loathe it.
Some wrestlers continue to sing the praises of their time with World Championship Wrestling, and others claim that it was the worst move of their career. It depends on who the wrestler was, but the feelings are truly split on if defecting to WCW was a good career move or not. Here are 10 Wrestlers Who Regretted Jumping To WCW And 10 Who Adored It:
20 Regretted - Eddie Guerrero
While he is now regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, WCW management did not see him that way. After departing the promotion in 1999, he was very vocal about how he felt about his time there. Guerrero may have experienced a wealth of success in WWE, but WCW did not treat him anywhere near the same way.
Guerrero was not treated well as a wrestler, and did not receive opportunities befitting his talents. Due to his size, Guerrero was pigeon-holed as a Cruiserweight, and did not reach above mid-card status with the company. Realizing that he would not be receiving better opportunities, Guerrero asked to be released during an episode of Nitro. Whether or not this was a work or shoot is still debated, but one thing is for sure - Guerrero was happy to defect to WWE when he did.
19 Adored - Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan's defection to WCW in 1994 was one of the biggest shockers in the war between WCW and WWE. Hogan was WWE's biggest bankable star, but he was lured away by money being offered by Ted Turner's promotion. How much money? He apparently was paid upwards of $13 million per year with the company, which added plenty of zeroes to The Hulkster's bank account.
Given how much money he was making in WCW along with the infamous creative control clauses he had in his contract, there was no reason for Hogan to hate his time with the company. Hogan has always been one of the most recognizable professional wrestlers, but his time in WCW made him one of the richest.
18 Regretted - Mike Awesome
For those that remember Mike Awesome during his time in ECW, they remember a wrestler in his prime at the top of a company. The Mike Awesome that wrestled in ECW was a lethal, big-man wrestler who had a spectacular run as ECW Heavyweight Champion, and tore the house down in matches with Taz and Masato Tananka. However, like many other wrestlers at the time he was drawn in to WCW by their large-money offers.
While more exposure was good for Awesome's career, his time in WCW cannot be considered his best work. He was sacked with multiple ridiculous gimmicks, which were not fitting for someone of his talent. Awesome proved that he belonged in the upper echelon of talent, but WCW only served to waste some of his best years.
17 Adored - Kevin Nash
As someone who had experienced a poor run in WCW previously (Oz, anyone?), it stands to reason that Kevin Nash would have rather spend the rest of his career with WWE, especially after experiencing a year-long WWE Championship run. However, the call of Ted Turner's checkbook was too loud for Nash to ignore. Nash loved his time in WWE, but WCW's offer was too lucrative to ignore and he would remain as a top-guy with a new company.
Nash was brought in to WCW alongside Scott Hall, and would change the face of professional wrestling history. As part of The Outsiders and a founding member of the nWo, Nash etched his place in wrestling history in WCW in a way he never did in WWE. While he has a bad reputation for some of the business decisions he made with the company, he is certainly pleased with himself.
16 Regretted - Goldust
Dustin Rhodes has had some unfavorable things to say about his time in WWE, TNA and WCW. While each company has mishandled him as a character or done things that were considered less favorable to him, WCW is the biggest culprit of them all.
After leaving WWE in 1999, he jumped to WCW and began crafting the Seven gimmick. Despite popular opinion, Rhodes himself has said that Seven was his own creation but WCW management mishandled it and led it to be the joke it wound up becoming. Eventually, he was given the signal to abort the gimmick at the time of his debut. After working so hard on something, it must have been disheartening to pull the plug on his creation. Thankfully, Rhodes would find his way back to WWE, and has done much better for himself.
15 Adored - Scott Hall
While he didn't reach the same level as his nWo cohorts, Scott Hall was given opportunities in WCW that he never received in WWE. As perennial mid-carder Razor Ramon, he was never given the same main event opportunities as Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, and welcomed greener pastures when offered a contract in 1996.
One of the main factors for Hall leaving WWE was the amount of days he was required to work. WWE's rigorous 300-plus date schedule was becoming less appealing, so when Eric Bischoff offered him a maximum of 180 dates, he jumped at the opportunity. Hall would become part of wrestling history with the nWo, and never had a bad thing to say about the company.
14 Regretted - Paul Orndorff
WCW had a penchant for bringing on former WWE stars on their roster in hopes of capitalizing on their popularity. While this was certainly successful in the case of wrestlers like Hogan, Nash and Hall, other wrestlers were lost in the shuffle.
Following Paul Orndorff's main-event run in WWE coming to an end in 1990, he joined WCW in 1992. Unfortunately for him, he suffered an arm injury before this and would never fully heal. While he achieved success in his career, the injury forced him in to retirement in 1995. However, he did return for one match at Fall Brawl 2000 where he suffered a neck injury during the match. As an already injured wrestler and in his 50s at the time, WCW management never should've allowed him to perform. This is likely a decision that Orndorff still regrets.
13 Adored - Ultimate Warrior
By the time The Ultimate Warrior entered WCW in 1998, he had already had a checkered career. His time in WWE had ended in an air of mystery following him apparently "holding up" Vince for money prior to a pay-per-view appearance. However, his name recognition and history with Hulk Hogan made him a sought-after wrestler for WCW. The only person pleased with Warrior's WCW run was Warrior himself due to the big payday he received for the minimal amount of work.
Unfortunately for most parties involved, his time in WCW was considered to be one of the worst moves in the company's history. In 1998, he only wrestled a total of three matches for the promotion and each one wasn't well-received. However, he did get to shake the ropes all the way to his bank.
12 Regretted - Davey Boy Smith
Speaking of The Ultimate Warrior's WCW career, he also contributed to ending the career of one of the greatest in-ring performers of all time. Following his family's falling out with WWE after The Montreal Screwjob, Davey Boy Smith returned to WCW. Instead of experiencing a career resurgence like he had hoped, he only experienced more misfortune.
Warrior had requested a trap door be installed in the WCW ring for his dramatic entrance. Unfortunately, Smith would land on this during his match which resulted in a severe spinal injury. Ultimately it would be a contributor to his personal issues, which led to his downfall. While staying with WWE would have gone against his personal grudges, it would have spared him a serious injury.
11 Adored - Jeff Jarrett
How Vince McMahon feels about Jeff Jarrett has been well-documented over the years. Dating back to their poor business dealings during Jarrett's WWE career all the way to Vince publicly firing him on a broadcast of RAW following his purchase of WCW, they do not have a strong relationship. However, this means that Jarrett is one of the talents who would not erase his WCW career from history given the opportunity.
From the moment he entered WCW in 1999, Jarrett was launched directly to the main event level. In fact, he was even given four runs as WCW World Heavyweight Champion. This is much more exposure than he was given during his years in WWE. While his departure burnt a bridge with McMahon, it opened a lot of doors for him in another company.
10 Regretted - Bret Hart
While personal issues and a big-money contract lured Bret Hart to WCW, it's a decision he wishes he could take back. His final minutes in WWE may have been marked with controversy, but his WCW career is only filled with regret.
Hart himself has stated that he "really didn't enjoy anything" about his time in the company. Despite holding the World Heavyweight Championship twice, he accomplished little in the promotion since he had to vacate it each time. Furthermore, he experienced a career-ending concussion while with the company. While this could have also happened to him in WWE, he was more comfortable working with the performers there, which may have prevented it. Hart's time in WCW is one of the biggest missed opportunities in wrestling history.
9 Adored - Sid Vicious
While his WCW career certainly ended on a down-note, Sid Vicious kept going back to WCW each time they came calling. He may have become World Champion in WWE, but his best career days were by far in WCW.
Sid had a tumultuous time with WWE, including when he left the company in 1993 due to a disagreement with management about The Ultimate Warrior. Each time that he was not pleased with his WWE run, he always knew that WCW would welcome him back. So while he may have taken breaks away from the promotion, it seems that this is where is heart always was.
8 Regretted - Fred Ottman
Fred Ottman's WWE career is certainly nothing to boast about - he was a lower mid-card wrestler whose gimmick was that he mimicked a large boat. He certainly could not have been considered World Champion material, but at least he faired out better there than he did in WCW. Ottman would be part of WCW history, but as much more of a joke than he likely would have hoped to be.
After departing WWE in 1993, he was brought in to WCW to partner with Sting in an upcoming WarGames match. He was due to make a dramatic entrance during an episode of A Flair for the Gold by crashing through a stage wall. Unfortunately, the wall did not fully break and he tumbled to the floor and lost his helmet. This resulted in one of the most unintentionally hilarious moments in wrestling history, that Ottman was very upset about.
7 Adored - Rick Rude
Today, Ravishing Rick Rude is regarded as one of the best wrestlers in the '90s. His utility worker status in the mid card is a great body of work (no pun intended), and he was a very believable semi-main event wrestler. However, it was WCW who gave him his big opportunity at the top of the card, not WWE.
During his first run with the company in 1993, he would make history as the longest reigning WCW International World Heavyweight Champion during the company's split from the NWA. Rude was given a real shot as "the guy" in WCW, while Vince McMahon never gave him that ball to run with in WWE. He is also another wrestler to lose his faith in WWE following the Montreal Screwjob.
6 Regretted - Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio may have WCW to thank for his first wide exposure in the United States, but he also has them to blame for almost squandering his career. The WCW Cruiserweight division may have been a highlight for the company, but Mysterio wishes he could erase part of it from his career.
In 1999, Mysterio began a feud with the nWo which resulted in him losing a Mask vs. Hair match. Despite being a highly regarded luchador (and a big merchandise seller for the company), Mysterio removed his mask for the first time in his career. Almost twenty years removed from the incident, Mysterio has been very open about his displeasure about removing his mask, stating that WCW didn't understand what the mask meant to him and the cultural significance behind it.
5 Adored - Lex Luger
Looking back, Lex Luger was one of the wrestlers who originally defected to the WWE from WCW. However, he made it very clear that his true allegiances were with WCW. In fact, he left WWE high and dry in 1995 and it's considered one of the first "shots" fired during the Monday Night War.
During his time in WCW, Luger became a multi-time World Champion and was a big player for the company. In WWE, he only briefly tasted main event status but never fully became "the guy". In a choice between a company who perceives him as a top guy and one who does not, the choice was very easy for him.
4 Regretted - Madusa
Madusa made a big splash when she left WWE for WCW in 1995, but it is something she wishes that she never did. As one of the most sought-after female performers of the decade, Madusa had built up a big following as Alundra Blayze in WWE, and was the cornerstone of the women's division in the early '90s. However, one action on WCW programming would change her relationship with WWE forever.
During her first appearance on WCW programming, Blayze threw her WWE Women's Championship belt in the trash, but now she wishes she never did it. Blayze has stated that she felt "coerced" in to trashing the title. The action blacklisted her from WWE for 20 years until she was inducted in to the Hall of Fame in 2015, and apologized for her actions.
3 Adored - Psicosis
WCW's ability to put on top-notch Cruiserweight matches gave them an edge of WWE for a number of years. The Cruiserweight talent on the roster was second-to-none, and many of the wrestlers became stars as a result of their performances. On the other hand, when some of these wrestlers entered WWE following their purchase in 2001, they floundered. Psicosis experienced a lot of success in WCW, but certainly did not in WWE.
Psicosis was employed by WCW from 1996 until the company folded, and held the Cruiserweight Championship twice. On the other hand, his WWE run was only filled with disappointment. If given the opportunity, he would have much rather stayed with WCW than ever accept WWE's offer.
2 Regretted - Roddy Piper
Rowdy Roddy Piper was one of WWE's greatest attractions in the 1980s, and established himself as a legendary heel. After a long-run with the company, like other legends at this time he found himself in WCW as a result of a big-money offer. Unfortunately, it also led to one of the biggest disappointments in his career. WCW attempted to rehash his decades old feud with Hulk Hogan, except that both men were visibly aged and unable to perform at their previous level.
The match between Hogan and Piper at SuperBrawl VII is considered one of the worst matches in the promotion's history, and one of the worst in Piper's career. Had he not left WWE, he would have been able to keep this black mark off of his record.
1 Adored - Ron Simmons
While Ron Simmons may have had a much longer career in WWE, he certainly does not have bad things to say about his time in WCW. In fact, he made history with the company and experienced a great period of his career there.
Simmons was with WCW from when they were part of the Jim Crockett family, and rose in the ranks to the main event level. In 1992, he was given an opportunity at the main event level and would become the first recognized black WCW World Champion. This was a remarkable feat, and not something that Simmons would trade in for anything. If anything, Simmons is one of the few wrestlers who enjoyed his time in both WWE and WCW.