|Created by||Eric Bischoff|
|Directed by||Craig Leathers|
|Starring||See World Championship Wrestling alumni|
|Opening theme||"Thunder" (January 8, 1998-February 9, 2000)
"Here Comes the Pain" (instrumental) by Slayer (February 16, 2000-March 21, 2001)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||146|
|Camera setup||Multicamera setup|
|Running time||120 minutes|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||January 8, 1998 – March 21, 2001|
|Related shows||WCW Monday Nitro|
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.
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 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. Third, according to Bischoff, TBS refused to pay the cost of producing Thunder which was between $12 million and $15 million per year.
Bischoff eventually decided that he could make the new show work and help pay for it by expanding revenue from increased house show business. Bischoff was also given permission to sign Bret Hart, specifically as a high-profile talent to perform on Thunder.
The first match to take place in Thunder featured Chris Adams against Randy Savage. Adams pinned Savage after a chairshot from Lex Luger. The match decision was reversed by WCW Commissioner/Chairman of Executive Committee James J. Dillon.
In an attempt to save WCW, 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 offer, as it was contingent on keeping WCW programming on some outlet. WCW's trademarks and certain assets (such as its video library and the contracts of 24 wrestlers), though not the company itself (which still exists as a Time Warner-owned legal entity under the name Universal Wrestling Corporation), were bought by the WWF, its long-time competitor.
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 that the reasoning behind the tapings was that attendance at Thunder tapings had dropped considerably over the previous twenty-one months.
Veteran industry journalist Wade Keller said that the introduction of Thunder could be called "the beginning of the end" for the now-defunct WCW, adding that the program's debut "is probably as good of a turning point as you could pick out".
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.
|Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Lee Marshall||January 8, 1998
January 22, 1998 – April 9, 1998
May 21, 1998 – November 12, 1998
December 17, 1998
|Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan and Lee Marshall||January 15, 1998|
|Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay and Lee Marshall||April 16, 1998 – May 14, 1998|
|Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko and Mike Tenay||November 19, 1998|
|Mike Tenay and Larry Zbyszko||April 7, 1999 – October 7, 1999|
|Mike Tenay, Kevin Nash and Larry Zbyszko||October 14, 1999|
|Scott Hudson and Larry Zbyszko||October 21, 1999 – December 2, 1999|
|Mike Tenay and Juventud Guerrera||December 9, 1999|
|Mike Tenay, Scott Hudson and Juventud Guerrera||December 16, 1999|
|Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson and Mike Tenay||December 23, 1999 – February 2, 2000|
|Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan||February 9, 2000 – March 29, 2000|
|Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay||December 3, 1998 – December 10, 1998
January 7, 1999 – April 1, 1999
April 12, 2000 – July 19, 2000
|Tony Schiavone, Mark Madden and Mike Tenay||July 26, 2000
November 1, 2000
November 29, 2000 – December 6, 2000
|Tony Schiavone, Jeremy Borash and Mike Tenay||September 20, 2000|
|Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Konnan||December 13, 2000|
|Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Stevie Ray||August 2, 2000 – September 13, 2000
September 27, 2000 – October 25, 2000
November 8, 2000 – November 22, 2000
December 6, 2000
December 20, 2000 – January 10, 2001
|Tony Schiavone and Mike Tenay||January 17, 2001 – March 21, 2001|
- David Penzer
- Pamela Paulshock
- Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. pp. 255–256. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9.
- Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. p. 255. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9.
- Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. p. 257. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9.
- Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. p. 258. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9.
- Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. p. 261. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9.
- Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. p. 271. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9.
- Callis, Don (2001-03-25). "Deal leaves wrestlers out in cold". Slam! Sports.
- "FindLaw's Court of Appeals of Georgia case and opinions". Findlaw. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
- Reynolds, R.D.; Alvarez, Bryan. "The Death of WCW", ECW Press 2004.
- Wade Keller (August 24, 2017). "Ask the Editor". Wade Keller Hotline. 21 minutes in. Pro Wrestling Torch.