While the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling was able to accomplish some pretty incredible things during the Monday Night Wars era, with the most notable accomplishment being that they were able to be the number one pro wrestling company in the world for a period of time.
But ultimately, bad booking and a lack of new ideas caused the organization to fall behind Vince McMahon's WWE. On top of that, they at one point had several future and former WWE legends under contract. Instead of making good use of them, they decided to keep on keeping on with the same old guys on top. Almost everyone on this list was in WCW prior to finding success in WWE, however, there are a few names who left Vince McMahon in favor of a big money contract with Ted Turner's organization, but found themselves in a terrible spot creatively as a result.
Aside from renewing his rivalry with Hulk Hogan, the legendary "Rowdy" Roddy Piper didn't do anything of note during his time in WCW. In fact, he was pretty much used as just another guy on the roster for the New World Order to destroy. Also, it was quite clear that the WWE Hall of Famer didn't have much left to give in terms of in-ring performance, as he was quite beat up by the time he made his debut in the company.
Even though he was one of the biggest stars of the 1980s, Piper made little impact during his run in WCW during the 90s, mostly due to the fact that the NWO was such a powerful, and at times, over-pushed faction.
Some might not be aware of the fact that Edge actually competed in WCW prior to him making his debut with Vince McMahon's company. At the time, he was wrestling under the name of Damon Striker, and the reason why he's probably not remembered for his brief time in World Championship Wrestling was they literally did nothing with him, as he was regularly losing matches to guys like Kevin Sullivan and Meng.
In the end, WCW decided to let Edge go elsewhere, despite the fact that he had great charisma and a good look for the pro wrestling business. He was also a great athlete at the time, but for whatever reason, he didn't impress the company brass enough to become a regular star there.
Mick Foley did a lot of crazy things during his time in WCW, but none of those things helped him get to the top in the company. While he had a decent run there, he was never allowed to get above a certain level, which is one of the reasons why he ended up leaving the company.
On top of that, Foley was also buried by WCW after he had left, as his first WWE Championship victory, which was going to be featured on a taped episode of Monday Night Raw, was spoiled and mocked by the Monday Nitro announce team. Of course, this ended up being a huge positive because, upon hearing of this, a significant number of fans switched from Nitro to Raw to see the "Hardcore Legend" win his first WWE Championship.
It's quite clear that the only reason why The Ultimate Warrior was brought into WCW was for him to get beaten by Hulk Hogan, which is exactly what happened. What's worse is that the two of them had one of the worst matches in pro wrestling history, as their big rematch at Halloween Havoc 1998 was a total disaster.
Much like the company did with plenty of other former WWE stars, WCW paid The Ultimate Warrior a ton of money to do absolutely nothing of note, aside from his debacle against "The Hulkster" in October of 1998.
Even during his WCW days, Triple H looked like a can't-miss prospect, but somehow WWE's chief competitor didn't realize what they had with the then young, up and comer. This obviously paved the way for him to sign with WWE, and go on to become one of the biggest superstars in the history of pro wrestling.
WWE quickly realized Triple H's potential upon signing him, as he received a pretty big push straight out of the gate. Sure, some will say that most of his career success is due to the fact that he married Stephanie McMahon, however, it was quite clear that he was on his way to being a main even star before his relationship with Vince McMahon's daughter began.
While Rey Mysterio had success in WCW's innovative cruiserweight division, he struggled to find any success when he started being booked against the company's bigger stars. One of the worst things the company did during Mysterio's time there was forcing him to unmask, which took a lot away from the future WWE World Heavyweight Champion's character.
When WWE signed Mysterio back in 2002, they were smart enough to realize that he probably wasn't going to find much success without his mask, as his colorful masked persona helped him stand out, despite the fact that he was far smaller than everyone else on Vince McMahon's roster.
While Chris Jericho tried everything he could to ascend to the top of the WCW ranks, the company just wouldn't allow him to break through the glass ceiling. This was most apparent during his feud with Bill Goldberg, who ended up not even doing a singles match with "Y2J" at one of the company's pay per views because he wanted to go hunting instead.
WCW failing to deliver on the Goldberg vs. Jericho match that had been built for several weeks was one of the biggest reasons why "Y2J' ended up in WWE back in August of 1999. If Eric Bischoff would've used Jericho properly, then he could've been one of WCW's brightest new stars heading into the 2000s.
During the 1990s, there might not have been a better in-ring wrestler than Eddie Guerrero. Sure, he was still incredible by the time he got to WWE, but he was clearly in his physical prime during his time in World Championship Wrestling.
Despite his great in-ring talent, and despite the fact that he was extremely charismatic, WCW wouldn't push him above a certain level simply because they had no room at the top for someone other than their established main event stars, which was one of the many reasons why the company was forced to fold back in 2001.
Back in the mid-1990s, Eric Bischoff famously fired Steve Austin from WCW, which led him to ECW and eventually WWE. The firing of the "Texas Rattlesnake" helped create the Stone Cold persona, which made Austin the biggest star in the history of pro wrestling.
Much like many other stars on this list, Austin wasn't allowed to ascend to the top of the card in WCW despite his obvious talent and drive to be a top guy in the industry. Sure, at the time, Eric Bischoff couldn't have known that Austin would go on to become the biggest star in wrestling, but he should've gotten better opportunities during his time in WCW.
There's literally no excuse for this one, as Bret "The Hitman" Hart was the hottest character in all of pro wrestling when WCW signed him in late-1997. He was just coming off of the Montreal Screwjob, which is one of the most famous stories in pro wrestling history, so he had a ton of momentum prior to making his debut.
There's a multitude of reasons why Bret Hart's run in WCW was less than memorable, with the biggest one being that they just didn't know what to do with him. However, it wasn't all bad for "The Hitman," as he made a ton of money during his run in Ted Turner's organization.