WCW (WWE subsidiary)
WCW logo used by WWF during the Invasion storyline
|Predecessor||World Championship Wrestling, Inc.|
WCW Inc., is one of WWE's subsidiary companies. It consists of video archives and intellectual property of the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling (WCW) promotion, acquired from AOL Time Warner in March 2001. The corporation itself was founded in 2000 as W. Acquisition Company.
From 1995 to 2001, the Monday Night Wars occurred when the two top North American wrestling promotions, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW), competed for ratings. Through developments such as the creation of the New World Order (nWo) and the Montreal Screwjob, fans continually compared the two promotions, and the Internet wrestling community was full of debate as to which of the two was superior. Among other factors, however, mismanagement within WCW (such as allowing wrestlers themselves to book matches and various instances of corporate politics) eventually led WCW to a downward spiral from which it never recovered.
The WWF-owned subsidiary, known as W. Acquisition Company was founded in 2000 in Delaware, as the holding corporation. Then, with the Monday Night Wars came to an end, the WWF bought the rights to WCW's video library, trademarks, 24 contracts for selected wrestlers, championships, and other properties (talent names, images, likenesses, slogans, rings, and belts) for what was considered to be a lower bargain price from AOL Time Warner on March 23, 2001 following Jamie Kellner's cancellation of all WCW programming and the W. Acquisition Company entity became WCW, Inc. shortly afterwards. The previous WCW promotion, which consisted of older contracts and liabilities not acquired in the purchase, was reverted to its original name Universal Wrestling Corporation as a shell company.
The final night of the Monday Night Wars occurred on March 26, 2001 when TNT did allow a final Nitro show to air from Panama City Beach, Florida. WWF owner and chairman Vince McMahon opened the last-ever episode of WCW Monday Nitro with a simulcast with WWF Monday Night Raw, which aired from Cleveland, Ohio, with a self-praising speech. The final WCW World Heavyweight Championship match for the show and the company saw WCW United States Heavyweight Champion Booker T defeat Scott Steiner to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. The main event featured Sting defeating Ric Flair with the Scorpion Deathlock as a culmination of their trademark feud, then both men embraced one another at the match's conclusion. This was a direct parallel to the very first Nitro, where Sting vs. Flair was also featured. After the Sting/Flair match, Vince appeared on Raw to close Nitro and to declare victory over WCW. Vince's son Shane McMahon then appeared on Nitro, declaring that it was actually he who had bought WCW. This initiated a storyline in which Shane led a WCW invasion of the WWF, which lasted from March to November 2001 and marked the end of WCW as an on-air brand.
The acquisition has led the WWF's roster to double in size, which led to lack of everyone to get any screen time. The original plan was to find a time slot on TNN to continue running WCW as a separate entity. Polls were even put up on WWF.com and WCW.com to decide the name of the new show as proposed:
- WCW Saturday Night Nitro
- WCW Hot Box
- WCW Uprising
- WCW Late Night Appetite
- WCW Hard-On Saturday Night
- WCW Primal Urge
These plans fell through when no TV station would touch WCW because of its reputation for losing money, and the time slot for the WCW reboot later became WWF Excess and then WWE Velocity. The WWF went on to carry out a brand extension, effectively resurrecting WCW under its own auspices and running two separate entities, named after one of the WWF's two existing televised shows: Raw and SmackDown!.
In an attempt to experiment the revival of WCW, the WWF only ran a handful of matches on Raw and SmackDown! in Tacoma in early July 2001. These WCW-branded matches were ill-received by the longtime WWF fans so much that on the very first WCW-brand main event between Booker T and Buff Bagwell the crowd cheered when the WWF heels Stone Cold Steve Austin and Kurt Angle ran in to jump the WCW babyface Booker T. Eventually, the WWF carried the brand extension, which effectively reviving WCW under its own auspices and running two separate promotions, each with one of the WWF's two existing televised shows, Raw and SmackDown!
Over the next several years after the Invasion storyline the WWF/E went on to sign several top WCW talent: Ric Flair (2001), Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Rey Mysterio, Goldust (Dustin Rhodes), Scott Steiner (all 2002), Bill Goldberg (2003) and Sting (2014). Eric Bischoff joined the WWE in 2002 as the General Manager of Raw, a post that continued to be held until 2005. Other notable WCW personnel signed with the WWF/E such as Charles Robinson, John Laurinaitis and Billy Kidman have maintained their roles over the years.
These are the WCW Championships that appeared in WWF/E banner. Out of the four, only the WWE United States Championship remains active today. The other two titles that never appeared on WWF television were the WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship and the WCW Hardcore Championship, although the latter is now displayed in the WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.
|WCW World Championship||(March 26, 2001 – December 9, 2001)||Unified with the WWF Championship at Vengeance to become the WWF Undisputed Championship. The physical Big Gold Belt based on the WCW World Championship was re-introduced as the World Heavyweight Championship in September 2002 and continued to be used as such until unifying with the WWE Championship at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs in 2013.|
|WCW / WWE United States Championship||(March 26, 2001 – November 18, 2001; July 27, 2003 – present)||Unified with the WWF Intercontinental Championship at Survivor Series in 2001 and was quietly retired. Title restored as the WWE United States Championship in July 2003 and currently serves as the secondary title for SmackDown.|
|WCW Tag Team Championship||(March 26, 2001 – November 18, 2001)||Unified with the WWF World Tag Team Championship at Survivor Series in 2001 and was quietly retired.|
|WCW / WWF/E Cruiserweight Championship||(March 26, 2001 – September 28, 2007)||Title replaced the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship and was renamed to WWF/E Cruiserweight Championship after Survivor Series in 2001. The title was exclusive to the SmackDown! brand from 2002-2007. A new Crusierweight title was re-introduced in 2016 and shares the same name but not the lineage of the title.|
Pay-per-views and programming
Since acquiring the WCW video library, all of WCW's programming and pay-per-view events such as Nitro and Thunder are available on the WWE Network. Many of the events featuring WCW's signature names exist within the WWE banner.
|The Great American Bash||2004-2009, 2012||Raw
|Existed as a pay-per-view event exclusive to the SmackDown! brand from 2004 until 2006. Name reinstated as a SmackDown episode on July 3, 2012.|
|Clash of Champions||2016-2017||Raw
|Based on the WCW television special Clash of the Champions. Event replaced Night of Champions and was scrapped in 2018.|
|Reintroduced as the SmackDown!-branded live event in 2017 and co-branded to air on the WWE Network on November 25, 2018.|
- "WWF buys rival WCW". CNN Money. March 23, 2001. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
- "Shane buys WCW". WCW.com. 2001-03-26. Archived from the original on 2001-06-04.
- Price, Mark (2001-07-12). "Great angle... but is it a great idea?". The Oratory. Archived from the original on 2009-02-04.
- Arnold Furious (November 10, 2003). "Smash Wrestling". Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2007.