But none bigger than, â<80><9c>Who killed WCW?â<80>
The suspects are many.
Eric Bischoff: The man responsible for WCWâ<80><99>s turnaround. He convinced Billionaire Ted to loosen the purse strings. â<80><9c>Easy Eâ<80> went on to build an empire of big-name wrestlers. He is credited with the creation of the New World Order (another whodunit in its own right, but thatâ<80><99>s for another column). Many see his free spending as depleting the resources of Time Warner and WCW, leading to its death.
Vince Russo: The innovator that supposedly brought â<80><9c>Attitudeâ<80> to the WWF jumped to WCW in 1999. The new era was noticeable. Like New Coke was to Pepsi, WCW was extremely WWF-like. Lengthy interviews in the ring. Elaborate backstage skits. Fast-paced â<80><9c>Crash TVâ<80> had come to Atlanta. Putting the world title around the waists of David Arquette and himself, along with â<80><9c>screwingâ<80> Hulk Hogan seemed to put WCW on a path to destruction.
Vince McMahon: He bought WCW with the intention of creating a second brand prior to the â<80><9c>splitâ<80> of Raw and Smackdown. Featuring a few main eventers, but more mid-card guys, the â<80><9c>New WCWâ<80> faded fast. Even an â<80><9c>Allianceâ<80> with ECW didnâ<80><99>t save it. Did Vinnie Mac kill yet another brainchild because he wasnâ<80><99>t involved in the creation?
Jaime Kellner: The Time Warner executive that cancelled WCW programming in early 2001 while negotiating with Bischoffâ<80><99>s Fusient Media Ventures to purchase the promotion. He claimed that while the ratings still topped TBS and TNT programming, they werenâ<80><99>t attracting the â<80><9c>right advertisers.â<80> The formula is simple. No TV. No value. Fusient pulled out of the purchase and Vince scooped up WCW for a song and created a monopoly.
So, all had the opportunity and the motive to kill WCW. However, in my opinion, while they had a hand in the end of WCW, they didnâ<80><99>t technically â<80><9c>kill it.â<80>
The guilty party?
Every wrestler, booker and on-air personality that put their own interests over that of a company that was paying them big bucks murdered WCW. The death was slow and painful with many fingerprints on the corpse.
The Hogan/Nash WCW championship match that featured the famed â<80><9c>Finger Poke of Doomâ<80> on January 4, 1999 is the most stunning example. Instead of giving fans an advertised main event, they gave them a joke that devalued an already damaged title.
They all got their big laugh. Hogan got his title back. Nash turned heel. Another incarnation of the NWO was born and they could dominate television time at the expense of others. Fans that had been swerved in the past many times seethed. Many stopped watching, attending events and buying merchandise.
Then Russo came along and gave David Arquette the world title. Not enough pain for you? Soon, he won a championship that is steeped in history. Again, more fans lost interest. Then, he tried to replicate the famed â<80><9c>Montreal Screwjobâ<80> with Hogan pinning a deliberately prone Jarrett for the WCW championship. Russo came out, ripped on Hogan and announced ANOTHER match for the real WCW title.
Then, Bischoff and Russo teamed up to â<80><9c>rebootâ<80> WCW. What? All titles were stripped and had to be won or re-won at the following pay-per-view. Storylines ended, only to be replaced by another â<80><9c>Us vs. Themâ<80> storyline of the Millionaires Club versus the New Blood.
There are many others responsible, but those examples stand out above all. A lack of money didnâ<80><99>t kill WCW. A competitor who bought it didnâ<80><99>t kill WCW. A pretentious network executive didnâ<80><99>t kill WCW. It was selfish prima donnas who wanted their TV time, title reigns and big bank accounts. Egos and selfishness dictated how WCW was ruled and how it died.
Inmates ran the asylum. And those inmates killed WCW.