Monday, January 14, 2013

4 Popular Myths About WCW

by Brian Phelps

Since WCW was purchased in 2001, a lot of time has passed. Over the years there has been a lot of revisionist history (mostly done by the WWE, as well as some of it by the IWC) spewed about how and why WCW failed, whose fault it was, and just lots of falsehoods. I'm coming to you today to take on many of the myths and revisionist history about WCW in order to sort out what's true and what isn't.

1) Celebrity appearances ruined WCW. This is not necessarily true. People make mention that David Arquette and others ruined WCW and I can't defend David Arquette; however, the July 6th, 1998 episode of WCW Nitro featured NBA Superstar Karl Malone and outdrew Monday Night RAW on this night. Nitro did a 4.8 rating. Raw did a 4.0 rating.

2) 600,000 viewers switched from Nitro to RAW after Tony Shiavone gave away Mankind's title win. WWE has always bragged about this, but is it true? The answer is yes. BUT what WWE always fails to mention is that once Mankind won the title most of those 600,000 people changed the channel right back to WCW to catch the last 5 minutes of Nitro. So WCW gained their viewers right back, but WWE conveniently ignores this fact when they tell this story on their dvd releases. This is an example of WWE's revisionist history and a perfect example of the old saying that "History is written by the victors". So while it is true... it's also only PART of what happened. This story omits facts that without being mentioned make WCW's ratings sound bad.

3) WCW drew terrible ratings in its dying days. This is COMPLETELY FALSE. Did you know that the final episode of Nitro (3.0 rating) had a higher rating than the first 5 months that Nitro was on the air? Did you know that the final episode of WCW Nitro was higher rated than the average RAW rating of the first 2 years of the Monday Night Wars? The ratings for WCW Nitro in its dying days was actually pretty comparable to the ratings that RAW/Nitro were getting at the start of the Monday Night Wars. Also, at the time WCW was purchased it was still among the highest rated programs on TBS and TNT even with the drop in ratings. So WCW Nitro was NEVER a poorly rated TV Show even on its worst day. WCW's worst ratings are better than what WWE Smackdown currently gets.

4) WCW folded. Yes and no. Saying WCW folded implies that the show was a failure. It's final rating was  3.0 so even at the end it wasn't a failure. Also, it's not an entirely accurate description. WCW didn't fold in the sense of going out of business because it was so bad. WCW was purchased and assimilated into the WWE, it didn't go out of business. On top of that, WCW wasn't bought out because it was going under. It was bought out simply because when AOL/Time Warner took over Turner Broadcasting they decided they didn't want pro wrestling on TBS/TNT. It had nothing to do with ratings or finances. There were a number of buyers interested in acquiring WCW. The reason the other buyers decided not to purchase WCW was because the new brass that took over Turner Broadcasting were going to take WCW off the air despite the fact that WCW was still among the highest rated shows that Turner Broadcasting had. With no network to air WCW on, the other buyers pulled out of the deal and that allowed Vince McMahon to swoop in as the only buyer left which enabled him to purchase WCW for peanuts. So WCW didn't fold or "go out of business" in the traditional sense. Vince McMahon purchased WCW and CHOSE not to continue it. Seeing how Vince brought back ECW to TV in 2006, I'm sure if Vince could go back and keep WCW Nitro going... he would. He lost out on millions of dollars because he couldn't see past his own ego. WCW Nitro's worst ratings were still better than what WWE Smackdown is currently getting on the Syfy network today.

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