WCW Thunder

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For the 1998 video game based on the show, see WCW/nWo Thunder.
WCW Thunder
WCWThunderLogo.png
Created by Ted Turner
Directed by Craig Leathers
Starring See World Championship Wrestling alumni
Opening theme "Thunder" (January 8, 1998-February 9, 2000)
"Here Comes the Pain" by Slayer (February 16, 2000-March 21, 2001)
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 146
Production
Camera setup Multicamera setup
Running time 120 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel TBS
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Original run January 8, 1998 – March 21, 2001
Chronology
Related shows WCW Monday Nitro
External links
Website

WCW Thunder was a professional wrestling show produced by World Championship Wrestling which aired on TBS from January 8, 1998 to March 21, 2001. The rights to WCW Thunder now belong to WWE.

History[edit]

Creation[edit]

The popularity of World Championship Wrestling's primary show, WCW Monday Nitro on TNT, led Ted Turner to create a new show, which would eventually be named Thunder, that would air Thursdays on TBS.[1]

WCW Executive Vice-President Eric Bischoff was originally reluctant to produce another two-hour weekly television show for a variety of reasons. First, Time Warner (WCW's parent company) was under a hiring freeze[2] which prevented Bischoff from bringing in additional production people to run the show. Second, he felt WCW did not have enough talent to produce another show and risked overexposing them and making storylines less significant.[3] Third, according to Bischoff, TBS refused to pay the cost of producing Thunder which was between $12 million and $15 million per year.[3]

Bischoff eventually decided that he could make the new show work and help pay for it by expanding revenue from increased house show business.[4] Bischoff was also given permission to sign Bret Hart, specifically as a high-profile talent to perform on Thunder.[5][6]

The first match to take place on Thunder featured former World Class Championship Wrestling star Chris Adams against Randy Savage. Adams pinned Savage after a chairshot from Lex Luger. The match decision was reversed by James J. Dillon.

[edit]

TV commercials for Thunder featured top ring talents such as Hulk Hogan saying "I'll show you some thunder, brotha!" and The Giant with "This forecast definitely calls for pain!"

Final broadcast[edit]

In an attempt to save WCW and Thunder, Bischoff attempted to purchase the company with a group of investors. However, although Bischoff's offer had been accepted, recently appointed Turner Broadcasting executive Jamie Kellner announced shortly after his arrival that Thunder and all WCW programming was immediately canceled on TBS. Bischoff's group then withdrew their deal, as it was contingent on keeping WCW programming on some outlet, and WCW's trademarks and certain assets (such as its video library and the contracts of 24 wrestlers[7]), though not the company itself (which still exists as a Time Warner-owned legal entity under the name Universal Wrestling Corporation[8][9]), were bought by Vince McMahon - the owner of the WWF, its long-time competitor.

Results[edit]

# Matches Stipulations Times
1 The Jung Dragons (Kaz Hayashi and Yang) defeated Air Raid (Air Paris and Air Styles) Tag team match 9:45
2 Jason Jett defeated Cash Singles Match 9:28
3 M.I. Smooth and The Cat defeated Kanyon and Animal Tag team match n/a
4 Hugh Morrus defeated Rick Steiner Singles Match n/a
5 Filthy Animals (Rey Mysterio, Jr. and Billy Kidman) and Shane Helms defeated Elix Skipper, Kid Romeo and Chavo Guerrero, Jr. Tag team match n/a
6 Chuck Palumbo defeated Mike Awesome Singles Match n/a
7 Jeff Jarrett and Scott Steiner (with Midajah) defeated Dustin Rhodes Handicap match n/a
(c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match

2000–2001[edit]

Thunder switched from Thursday evenings to Wednesday evenings on January 12, 2000. Since WWF SmackDown! debuted on UPN in the same timeslot as Thunder, WCW had been trailing the WWF in the ratings on Thursdays as well as on Mondays, as this was during the time WCW's ratings began their steady decline that would eventually lead to the company's demise. (The WWF also had a slight advantage as SmackDown! was available over broadcast signals and cable was not needed to view the program). Little was gained by the move, however.

On October 9, 2000, WCW moved the Thunder tapings to Monday nights, the same night as Nitro. After the live Nitro broadcast ended, the Thunder taping would commence. This practice continued until March 19, 2001, when Thunder taped its last episode. It was said[10] that the reasoning behind the tapings was that attendance at Thunder tapings had dropped considerably over the previous twenty-one months.

Color scheme[edit]

Thunder utilized a primarily blue color scheme for its production graphics and ring designs, a design which was later emulated by SmackDown! and Impact Wrestling, as compared to the primarily red designs of the Monday Night shows, Raw and Nitro.

On-air personalities[edit]

Commentary teams[edit]

Commentators Dates
Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Lee Marshall January 8, 1998 (1st-2nd hour)
January 22, 1998 – April 9, 1998 (1st-2nd hour)
May 21, 1998 – November 12, 1998 (1st-2nd hour)
December 17, 1998 (1st-2nd hour)
Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan and Lee Marshall January 15, 1998 (1st-2nd hour)
Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay and Lee Marshall April 16, 1998 – May 14, 1998 (1st-2nd hour)
Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko and Mike Tenay November 19, 1998 (1st-2nd hour)
Mike Tenay and Larry Zbyszko April 7, 1999 – October 7, 1999 (1st-2nd hour)
Mike Tenay, Kevin Nash and Larry Zbyszko October 14, 1999 (1st-2nd hour)
Scott Hudson and Larry Zbyszko October 21, 1999 – December 2, 1999 (1st-2nd hour)
Mike Tenay and Juventud Guerrera December 9, 1999 (1st-2nd hour)
Mike Tenay, Scott Hudson and Juventud Guerrera December 16, 1999 (1st-2nd hour)
Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson and Mike Tenay December 23, 1999 – February 2, 2000 (1st-2nd hour)
Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan February 9, 2000 – March 29, 2000 (1st-2nd hour)
Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay December 3, 1998 – December 10, 1998 (1st-2nd hour)
January 7, 1999 – April 1, 1999 (1st-2nd hour)
April 12, 2000 – July 19, 2000 (1st-2nd hour)
Tony Schiavone and Mark Madden July 26, 2000 (1st-2nd hour)
Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Stevie Ray August 2, 2000 – January 10, 2001 (1st-2nd hour)
Tony Schiavone and Mike Tenay January 17, 2001 – March 21, 2001 (1st-2nd hour)

Ring announcers[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. pp. 255–256. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9. 
  2. ^ Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. p. 255. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9. 
  3. ^ a b Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. p. 257. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9. 
  4. ^ Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. p. 258. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9. 
  5. ^ Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. p. 261. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9. 
  6. ^ Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. p. 271. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9. 
  7. ^ Callis, Don (2001-03-25). "Deal leaves wrestlers out in cold". Slam! Sports. 
  8. ^ http://corp.sos.state.ga.us/corp/soskb/Corp.asp?762297
  9. ^ http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ga-court-of-appeals/1204668.html
  10. ^ Reynolds, R.D.; Alvarez, Bryan. "The Death of WCW", ECW Press 2004.

External links[edit]