WWE vs WCW: The Outsiders and the birth of Monday Night Wars – This week in history

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Most of the wrestling fans who grew up in the 90s would have a different perspective about today’s product, compared to those who grew up watching the PG era. While the business has certainly evolved, many believe that the mid 90s was the greatest period in professional wrestling, and for a good reason. Ted Turner’s WCW brought the fight to WWE and Vince McMahon, and succeeded in defeating WWE for 84 straight weeks in the ratings war!

It is famously said that Vince McMahon, irate with the drop in ratings “took the gloves off” during a meeting, sowing seeds for the birth of the Attitude Era. However, none of that would’ve been possible if it weren’t for one monumental evening on WCW Monday Nitro. After going live on TNT, and that too directly against WWE’s Monday Night RAW, Eric Bischoff went on an acquisition spree, bringing the likes of Lex Luger, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. However, it was during this week on Nitro that the seeds for the Monday Night Wars were planted.

Debut of Scott Hall and the birth of The Outsiders

Scott Hall, who competed in WWE as Razor Ramon was one of the most popular WWE stars. However, it is said that Kevin Nash, who had already signed a contract with WCW, told Hall that he could get him more money if he jumped ships, leading to Hall signing up with WCW. However, with the dirt sheets and the internet being in their infancy, no one knew what was going to happen – until Scott Hall showed up on WCW Monday Nitro!

Hall proceeded to poke fun at the WCW wrestlers, while repeating that “they” were going to take over the company. While what he was referring to remained a mystery initially, Hall promised a big surprise on one of Nitro’s episodes, which turned out to be Kevin Nash making his debut for the company. Eric Bischoff knew he struck gold with the storyline, but the impact of Hall and Nash making their debut for WCW was felt during the Great American Bash PPV.

Hall and Nash told Eric to gather three of his best men to face them at the Great American Bash, and said they still had one more surprise up their sleeve. Hall and Nash then told Eric and the WCW fans that they were sent to WCW by  Vince McMahon to destroy the competition from within, and that was what they were intending to do. This left the fans speechless, while Vince could only respond with slapstick vignettes, knocking Ted Turner, Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan.

The heel turn that shook the world, and the birth of NWO

At the Great American Bash, Hall and Nash went up against Sting, Savage and Luger, and held their own during the bout. However, with such high stakes, the WCW fans wanted someone to save their company, and they turned to the perennial good guy – Hulk Hogan. During the dying minutes of the match, Hogan did appear and just as it looked like Hogan would take out Hall and Nash, he turned his back on the fans and the company, giving birth to his “Hollywood” Hogan persona. Hogan’s heel turn is considered to be the greatest turn in wrestling history, as it shook the entire industry.

Hogan joined Hall and Nash, and gave birth to the New World Order faction. With Eric’s calculated acquisitions and major stars joining the company, WCW over took WWE in the ratings, and defeated them for more than a year and a half! With the injection of new talent and innovative concepts, WCW became the largest professional wrestling organization in the world, and found yet another game – changer in Goldberg.

The rise of the Attitude Era, and the fall of WCW

Vince McMahon then resorted to car crash TV – a TV 14 product catered to the teenagers and youngsters, which made professional wrestling “cool”. Vince started an iconic rivalry with Steve Austin, while WCW was slowly but surely being weighed down by the powers that be from within. Towards the end of the millennia, WWE had over taken WCW in the ratings, while WCW was losing money due to performers such as Hogan turning their back on the company. Soon, WCW was staring at a possible bankruptcy, while WWE was enjoying its greatest period.

The Monday Night Wars finally ended when WWE purchased WCW, but with some of the top talent having a contract not with the company, but with Ted’s Network, WWE couldn’t sign the top draws leading up to the “Invasion” angle, which in hindsight flopped for the very same reason. However, WCW provided its fans with some of the greatest storylines and in – ring competition, and it wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for Hall making his debut on Nitro two decades ago during this week!

 

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