WCW Worldwide logo 1999–2001
|Created by||Jim Crockett Promotions / World Championship Wrestling|
|Starring||See World Championship Wrestling alumni|
|Country of origin||USA|
|Camera setup||Multicamera setup|
|Running time||60 minutes per episode|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||1975 – March 21, 2001|
Wide World Wrestling
The show began in 1975 (as Wide World Wrestling), a syndicated one-hour program produced by Charlotte, North Carolina-based Jim Crockett Promotions. It was taped each Wednesday night at WRAL-TV television studios in Raleigh, North Carolina, following the taping of the syndicated Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. The original host of Wide World Wrestling was former Georgia Championship Wrestling announcer Ed Capral.
World Wide Wrestling
In 1978, to avoid confusion with ABC's Wide World of Sports (many newspapers would incorrectly mix the two shows up in their listings), JCP changed the name of the show to World Wide Wrestling. Rich Landrum became the new host and was joined shortly thereafter by veteran wrestler Johnny Weaver as color commentator.
In the summer of 1981, WRAL television opted not to renew its contract with JCP, citing that it needed the studio space to produce a new local version of PM Magazine. Crockett initially worked out a deal with WCCB television in Charlotte to house the tapings, but that fell through. So he instead went with WPCQ in Charlotte (a station immortalized by Ted Turner when it was WRET because the future cable mogul once held a telethon to save the channel from going bankrupt).
WPCQ (now WCNC) had briefly played host to tapings for Eddie Einhorn's International Wrestling Association in the 1970s so it seemed like a natural fit. The physical studio itself was very cramped however; the ring, television sets, banners, and camera platforms, which had been positioned symmetrically at WRAL, were now positioned.off-center.
Landrum left World Wide Wrestling in 1982 after being released by Jim Crockett Promotions in a cost-cutting measure. David Crockett left his position as Bob Caudle's color commentator on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling to take over play-by-play duties on World Wide.
Not pleased with the studio situation, Crockett began to make plans to rectify matters and by July 1983, had moved his tapings out of WPCQ and into major arenas, buying a mobile TV truck for $1 million and hiring his own crew.
In 1984, Tony Schiavone replaced Weaver as color commentator on World Wide (with Weaver moving over to join Caudle on Mid-Atlantic). Schiavone had previously worked for JCP as the announcer for their minor league baseball team the Charlotte O's, and as the host of their market-specific promotional interview segments, which were used to promote events in individual towns. Tully Blanchard for a time joined World Wide as a color commentator as well.
After the sale of JCP's wrestling assets to Turner Broadcasting in 1988, World Wide Wrestling went through a revolving series of announcing teams and included at various times such names as Schiavone, Jim Ross, Gordon Solie, Lance Russell, Chris Cruise, Terry Funk, Dutch Mantell, Ole Anderson, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Scott Hudson, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and Larry Zbyszko.
Under the Bill Watts regime, the name World Wide Wrestling was changed to WCW WorldWide.
WorldWide was originally made up of matches from television tapings around the country. From 1993, when Eric Bischoff took over, until 1996, the show was taped at Disney/MGM Studios. As such, these shows recorded, were the source of the infamous "Disney Tapings." After WCW left Disney, they moved production of WorldWide to Universal Studios Florida. In 1998, WorldWide became an in-studio recap show like its sister program WCW Pro had, with an exclusive match or two at the end of the show. These matches continued to be taped in Orlando as the WCW set had yet to be struck. In 1999, the WorldWide exclusive matches were moved out of Orlando and began being taped with WCW Saturday Night, which left it base in Atlanta in 1996 and had become a traveling show. Later still, the matches were moved a second time and began to be recorded before WCW Thunder tapings.
In November 2000, the show would change formats, no longer featuring exclusive matches, and instead showing matches from previous WCW pay-per-view events (as well as providing a recap of that week's Monday Nitro and Thunder).
WorldWide was cancelled along with Monday Nitro and Thunder the day before the World Wrestling Federation purchased WCW's tape library and intellectual property. At the time of its cancellation, WorldWide was the longest-running, uninterrupted weekly syndicated show of any kind on the air in the United States. The final episode of WorldWide aired on April 1, 2001, making it the last WCW television show aired.
Throughout the years, WorldWide has nunmerous title changes.
- The Fantastics defeated The Midnight Express to win the NWA United States Tag Team Championship on May 14, 1988 (taped April 26, 1988)
- Eddie Gilbert and Rick Steiner defeated The Varsity Club to win the NWA United States Tag Team Championship on March 18, 1989 (taped February 28, 1989)
- Brian Pillman and Tom Zenk defeated The Fabulous Freebirds in a tournament final to win the reactivated NWA United States Tag Team Championship on February 24, 1990 (taped February 12, 1990)
- Arn Anderson defeated Tom Zenk to win the WCW World Television Championship on January 27, 1991 (taped January 7, 1991)
- The Fabulous Freebirds and Badstreet defeated Tommy Rich and Junkyard Dog in a handicap match to win the WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Championship on June 22, 1991 (taped June 3, 1991)
- Steve Austin defeated Bobby Eaton to win the WCW World Television Championship on June 29, 1991 (taped June 3, 1991, re-taped June 4, 1991)
- Dustin Rhodes, Tom Zenk, and Big Josh defeated The Fabulous Freebirds and Badstreet to win the WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Championship on August 24, 1991 (taped August 5, 1991)
- The York Foundation defeated Dustin Rhodes, Tom Zenk, and Big Josh to win the WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Championship on November 10, 1991 (taped October 8, 1991)
- Steve Austin defeated Barry Windham to win the WCW World Television Championship on June 13, 1992 (taped May 23, 1992)
- Scott Steiner defeated Ricky Steamboat to win the WCW World Television Championship on October 17, 1992 (taped September 29, 1992)
- Rick Rude defeated Dustin Rhodes to win the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship on May 15, 1993 (taped April 20, 1993)
- Harlem Heat defeated The Nasty Boys to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship on June 24, 1995 (taped May 3, 1995)
- Dean Malenko defeated Shinjiro Otani to win the WCW World Cruiserweight Championship on May 18, 1996 (taped May 2, 1996)
WorldWide in the United Kingdom
WCW WorldWide is one of only two American wrestling shows (the other being WWE Sunday Night Heat on Channel 4) to have a regular slot on UK terrestrial television, having appeared on two different over the air networks during its lifetime.
Beginning in 1991, WCW WorldWide was broadcast in the UK on the ITV network originally overnight at 1 or 2 a.m. alongside other U.S. imports such as American Gladiators and America's Top Ten. Late in 1992 however, it moved to a Saturday afternoon slot. The day's football scores would be scrolled across the bottom of the screen as part of ITV's Saturday Sport line up. In late 1995, however, the show was moved back to the late night slot and disappeared from the network.
During July 1999, Worldwide returned to TV in the UK on Channel 5, who broadcast the show at 7pm on Friday evenings, although occasionally the show would be broadcast in a late-night mid-week time-slot instead. These shows were a collection of matches from Nitro, Thunder and WCW Saturday Night, which had taken place five or six weeks before. The announcers were usually Scott Hudson and Larry Zbyszko, who provided dubbed commentary with references aimed at the UK viewers. Due to being moved around the schedules and skipping some weeks, the show continued until May 2001 over a month after being bought by the WWF. As mentioned, WCW was purchased by the World Wrestling Federation, and ceased to produce any more new programming.
Even though the show wasn't broadcast from 1995 until 1999 on British Television in English, it was on the German-speaking channel DSF, along with other WCW content not seen anywhere else in the country.
Following the purchase of WCW by the World Wrestling Federation, older versions of WorldWide were repeated on Sky Sports.