The Monday Night War
March 15, 2006 by Max Zaitz
My name is Maxwell Zaitz and this is my first article. I am 15 years old and have been a fan of professional Wrestling since 1998. Please send me your opinions at [email protected]
The World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) were the two biggest professional wrestling promotions of all time. The WWF was and is still owned by Vincent Kennedy McMahon, and is now known as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). WCW was owned by media giant Ted Turner and was run by Eric Bischoff.
The WWF became extremely popular during the 1980s thanks to Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant, Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior, and many others. Hulk Hogan is universally known as the one man that changed professional wrestling to the way all know it. Wrestling now involves storylines as much as wrestling when in the 1970s, it was mostly just wrestling. Some say this has made professional wrestling more appealing to the general public.
WCW was originally a part of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). WCW broke away from the NWA in 1993. Two of the biggest stars in WCW at its inception were Ric Flair and Sting.
The WWF started a weekly TV show in 1993, entitled RAW. WCW started their weekly show in 1995, known as Nitro. Both shows were on Every Monday night. Here is where the wrestling business really started to take off. The Monday Night War era had just begun.
WCW "took the lead" in the opening round of the Monday night war. On the very first Nitro, Lex Luger, a WWF wrestler showed up on WCW's show. Everyone was so confused, the exact same effect Bischoff wanted the crowd to have. He wanted people to tune into Nitro and to expect the unexpected. In actuality, Luger was working for McMahon without a contract and he had given them a letter of intent to sign with them. Obviously he lied.
WCW started to pull away from the WWF at a remarkable pace. In 1996, Eric Bischoff created the gimmick that would put WCW over the top. In 1996, Diesel and Razor Ramon left the WWF and signed with WCW. On an episode of Nitro, Razor Ramon and Diesel (appeared as their real names Scott Hall and Kevin Nash respectively), "invaded" WCW. They actually were signed with the company. WCW management wanted the two to seem as if they were from the WWF so they could get the fans to play into the two companies fighting. Hall and Nash started beating everyone up in sight. They said that they wanted to destroy WCW. They said that they would announce the third member of their faction at the next pay-per-view. The third member turned out to be fan favorite, Hulk Hogan (Hogan had been with the company for about two years at this point). They called themselves the New World Order (NWO).
The NWO concept was truly innovative. It was the main reason why WCW was doing so much better financially than the WWF. WWF wrestlers thought that the company could go out of business any day. The NWO started to grow in numbers. They told all WCW wrestlers that if they did not join them, they would get beat up. Many new members joined the NWO.
The tide started turning in favor of the WWF around 1996. Steve Austin, a WCW wrestler was fired by Eric Bischoff for being unmarketable. Boy was he wrong. Vince McMahon and the WWF picked up Austin because they saw potential in him. Austin would be the leader of the Attitude Era, the sub era in which WWF took control in the ratings war from WCW. Austin was an anti-hero. He disrespected authority but that is what fans liked about him. Steve Austin engaged in a bitter War with Vince McMahon (storyline). Many fans tuned into RAW because they to wanted to beat up their boss.
WCW started lacking in ratings for the same reason they were winning them, the NWO. By 1998, the NWO had split into several factions. Fans were bored of seeing the same thing every episode. Bischoff would not disband the NWO though. When ratings got so low, Bischoff was fired. WCW brought in Vince Russo and Ed Ferrera, former WWF creative team members, to head the WCW creative team. There time in WCW has been seen as pathetic. The lowest point of their "reign" was when David Arquette, an actor won the heavyweight championship. This was done to promote a WCW movie staring Arquette, "Ready To Rumble." Fans were disgusted.
In 2000, Time Warner wanted to sell WCW because they had lost $80 million during that year. A company headed by Eric Bicshoff, Fuscient Media Ventures, offered to buy the company. Time Warner accepted the deal but nothing was officially signed for contractual purposes. Bischoff even returned to Nitro saying that he had bought the company. Everyone at Time Warner except for Ted Turner did not want wrestling on their network so they still offered the company to Bischoff and his group but without its TV time. The deal was off. Bischoff said. "Without its TV deal, WCW wasn't worth 15 bucks." In March 2006, Vince McMahon offered to buy WCW. The deal was accepted.
On March 26, 2001, the Monday night war officially ended. On the last Nitro, Vince McMahon appeared on the screen saying he has literally bough out his competition. WWF now owned WCW.
by Max Zaitz ..
Jack MacLaine wrote:
Thank you for that short history on the greatest era in wrestling Mr Zaitz. What I hate about the MNW was that Vince claimed he destroyed WCW. This is only half the truth. The truth is WCW crumbled from the inside. From Nash being head booker, Hogan and his politics, Eric Bishoff embarassing Ric Flair, Vince Russo's horrendous booking, and Ted Turner selling WCW to Time Warner which crapped on the product. Include your best workers jumping ship and the 1-800 Collect guy winning the title and you have your reason why WCW died.
AARON VOM BRUCH wrote:
First of all I would like to say great column however there were a few things that you have not included. One of those things is that it was the creative team and nor Eric bishcoff that refused to drop the whole NWO gimmick. Second thing is WCW would not let the up and comers have a real good go it was always people like Hogan or Flair as the top guy. Third DX had a major role in it with all of the antics that they did which even had most of the people with WCW watching RAW. Fourth thing is WWF bought out allot of the WCW superstars during 1999 and 2000. Fifth thing it wasn't the creative team that made Steve Austin in fact they couldn't think of any thing good to do with him so they just said go and be yourself and that's what he did. Sixth the reason that Russo and Ferrara didn't work out is because they didn't have anyone to restrain them, they let them do what ever they wanted to. But every thing else seems to be fine.
(P.S. Can TNA please start another war like that we need that same type of competition to make wrestling really good again).
Jack MacLaine wrote:
Thank you for that short history on the greatest era in wrestling Mr Zaitz. What I hate about the MNW was that Vince claimed he destroyed WCW. This is only half the truth. The truth is WCW crumbled from the inside. From Nash being head booker, Hogan and his politics, Eric Bishoff embarassing Ric Flair, Vince Russo's horrendous booking, and Ted Turner selling WCW to Time Warner which crapped on the product. Include your best workers jumping ship and the 1-800 Collect guy winning the title and you have your reason why WCW died
Jose Aguirre wrote:
Thankyou for writing this article. The only problem is that Vince McMahon bought WCW on 2001.
I belive that TNA and WWE will have a Monday night war, this is a good thing because I do belive that TNA is better than WWE, but I want TNA to fail because I grew up watching WWE and I don't want WWE to be taken out by a stupid redneck(a.k.a. Jerry Jarett) company.
first off EVERY MARK IN THE WRESTLING COMMUNITY knows about the Monday night war but clearly all you did is watch the Monday night war dvd and write a short crappy article about it.This looks like a 11 year old kid wrote it.Oh Yeah and by the way you said eric bischoff said wcw WASNT worth 15 bucks. He actually said without t.v. time wcw was only worth 20 bucks.Not trying to kill your spirit but next time choose an article that EVERYONE doesn't know about.
I agree with all these other Comments and I must say that I wish I could write as well as I've found on this site overall. But for those of you wondering, ECW being brought back soon, and WCW in the works to return in the next year or two, Vince McMahon wants to bring the competition for ratings back, but please tell me I am not the only one that would much rather see TNA come up to the level of WWE in the ammount of money put into airtime so that it can compete with WWE. TNA has one weekly show that is replayed, and that show is only an hour, and it has a second show that is much like WWE's Livewire(I believe that is the name of the show) where they replay some of the matches and get you up to date on stories and results, and give a little insight on what is to come. I Believe TNA is better, but WWE will not take it seriously as a competitor until it can hold down a two hour weekly show, and markets itself alot more. WWE isn't looking at TNA becuase doesn't have enough money backing it in the budget to make it noticable, but I also believe that TNA should be it's own marketing tool, The heart and soul that the superstars have, the fact that new names are being brought in as well as some of our favorites from years past, and they are allowed to be themselves, show what they can truly do.
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