Published on May 19th, 2015 | by Pro Wrestling Stories0
The End of WCW and the Final Monday Nitro
WCW’s last stand… Why did it fail? And what did it feel like behind the curtain on the final ever Monday Nitro? Those who were there speak.
This installment is a big one, covering the inner workings of the WCW buyout leading up to the final episode of Monday Nitro, and beyond, including thoughts from those involved.
“It’s better to burn out than fade away.” – A fitting song to go along with this piece.
“For nearly three years, my company World Championship Wrestling, kicked Vince McMahon’s ass. Nitro – WCW’s flagship show – revolutionized wrestling. Everything that makes Raw distinctive [today] – from its [multiple] hour live format; its backstage interview segments – and above all its reality-based storylines – was introduced first on Nitro…”
TED DIBIASE SR:
“WCW was the worst organised company I had ever worked for. What everybody needs to understand is that Ted Turner stuck with wrestling because wrestling helped his company survive in the early days of cable television. His network TBS was the first nationwide cable network, he was fond of wrestling but he knew nothing about it.
Originally he and Vince had a deal where Vince was going to put his programming on their network but that wasn’t good enough for Ted…he wanted his own show and of course Vince wasn’t going to do that, so that is what created the initial friction between Ted Turner and Vince McMahon…”
“What happened was that the superstars we created got bought off by Ted Turner. Ted buys things. He’s always been like that. He tried to buy the WWF on many occasions. When our stars’ WWF contracts came up, Ted opened his checkbook and paid them up to 10 times what we were paying. I had a fraternal, we’re-brothers relationship with our stars, guys like Hulk Hogan – and I never thought they would leave. They gave me every personal assurance that they wouldn’t. But exorbitant money can change minds…”
“Ironically, Vince would accuse me and Ted Turner of stealing his talent, when in fact that’s exactly what he did these regional promoters in the 1980s. A lot of the big names who had been at AWA had moved on to work for Vince…”
“I feel that Vince McMahon is the best thing that happened to our business. He treated wrestlers better than they had ever been treated when the expansion first started. Over the years, he’s changed, but he’s changed because a lot of wrestlers kind of stuck it to him, and he had to learn. Being in business myself, I know how sometimes employees can take advantage of you and expect too much, and just taking and taking and taking. He made guys a lot of money and they ended up burning him. He had to get hard…”
“I was really concerned about going out of business competing with Ted Turner. And we came close to it…”
“The media called our conflict the Monday Night Wars, but it was more like a rout. Nitro beat Raw in the ratings eighty-something weeks running. Then Vince caught on to what we were doing, and the real battle began…”