Throwback Thursday: The End of WCW

For this week's Throwback Thursday, we're looking at the time the World Wrestling Federation bought World Championship Wrestling and how WWE will likely never see a competitor like WCW again.

The sale was announced on March 23, 2001 and was, honestly, a huge shock to the wrestling world. Via CNN:

he World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. agreed Friday to acquire rival World Championship Wrestling, ending a near 20-year rivalry. 
Stamford, Conn.-based World Wrestling Federation Entertainment (WWF: Research, Estimates) now has global rights to the World Championship Wrestling brand, tape library and other intellectual rights. 
TNN is anticipated to be the new home of WCW, a WWF spokesman said, and WCW will not air on TNT or WTBS. Cross-brand storylines may start as soon as Monday during the "WWF Raw is War" on TNN and Monday's final performance of "WCW Monday Nitro Live" on Turner Network Television.
The final episode of Nitro did in fact air on March 26, 2001. However, the "new home of WCW" never happened. TNN ended up not agreeing to air an exclusive WCW show so what we got instead was the lackluster Invasion storyline. (Want to see how we rebooked that? Check out our rebooking section.)

Interestingly enough, the March 26th episode of Nitro wasn't the final WCW program on television. The final episode of WCW WorldWide aired on April 1, 2001. Here's a terrible video of that last broadcast:

What was that recorded on? A dirty bagel?

WCW was the last time the WWF/WWE had real competition in wrestling. Yes, TNA continues to exist and they did launch a terrible "Monday Night War" attempt back in 2010, but that wasn't actual competition. They were destroyed and destroyed quickly.

The reality is that WWE will probably never have competition like WCW again. The company is too entrenched, too strong, and too big. Even though it is nowhere near as popular or profitable as it once once, it's still a juggernaut.

WCW managed to compete because they had a lot of money, television networks that would air their programs at key times, a dedicated owner in Ted Turner who also owned those networks, and they also took advantage of a downturn in WWF's business.

That's a "perfect storm" that will probably never be duplicated again. Television ratings across the board are down. Very few networks are willing to air wrestling on TV these days, and there are likely none that would air it nationally against WWE.

While WWE tends to coast A LOT these days, rest assured that they would immediately act to stamp out any competition before it could gain a foothold. Remember how they had Bret Hart return to the company on the same day Impact moved to Monday nights? Sure, TNA wasn't real competition, but WWE wasn't taking any chances.

Plus, thanks to NXT, WWE has nearly all of the top indie talent under contract, so how would a competitor even build a roster? As soon as someone tried, WWE would whip out the chequebook to stop them.

Of course, anything is possible, but WCW was most likely a once-in-a-lifetime situation where the WWF/E actually had to compete, and it led to some incredible television.

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