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25 juillet 2011 1 25 /07 /juillet /2011 11:37

1987–1993: Scheduling conflicts and Monday Night Raw

During a span of five months between November 1987 and March 1988, a bitter event-scheduling war broke out between Vince McMahon and another rival promoter, Jim Crockett, Jr. On Thanksgiving night 1987, McMahon's WWF aired Survivor Series on pay-per-view (PPV) against the National Wrestling Alliance'sStarrcade, Sony VAIO VPCY11AFJ Battery

which Crockett marketed as NWA's answer to WrestleMania, despite Starrcade premiering two years prior to WrestleMania. However, many cable companies could only offer one live PPV event at a time. The WWF then threatened that any cable company that chose not to carry Survivor Series would not carry any WWF pay-per-views sixty days before and twenty-one days after the show.Sony VAIO VPCY11AGJ Battery

Therefore, the WWF PPV was cleared 10-1 over Starrcade, as only three cable companies opted to remain loyal to their contract with Crockett.

After this incident, the PPV industry warned McMahon not to schedule PPV events simultaneously with the NWA again. However, he was still not willing to fully cooperate with Crockett. Sony VAIO VPCY11AHJ Battery

On January 24, 1988, another scheduling conflict took place between the WWF and NWA: the NWA presented the Bunkhouse Stampedeon PPV, while the WWF aired the Royal Rumble for free on the USA Network. Later that year, with the WWF's WrestleMania IV around the corner, Sony VAIO VPCY11AVJ Battery

Crockett decided to use McMahon's own tactics against him, developing his own PPV-caliber event and airing it for free on TBS opposite WrestleMania. The result was theClash of Champions, which was later renamed Clash of the Champions. On March 27, 1988 – the same night as WrestleMania IV – the first Clash of Championsaired. Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E/S Battery

This show made Sting a star after he wrestled NWA World Champion Ric Flair to a 45-minute draw. The NWA repeated the practice again the following year, with a Clash coinciding with the WWF's WrestleMania V. Although the main event saw NWA Champion Ricky Steamboat defeat Flair in a best-of-three-falls match that lasted for almost an hour,Sony VAIO VPCY11S1E Battery

ratings and attendance for the event fell well below expectations compared to WrestleMania V. Thus, the practice of conflicting major events would cease for six years.

Throughout the 1980s, Crockett had steadily bought out other NWA-affiliated promotions in an attempt to make his organization a national one similar to the WWF. Sony VAIO VPCY11V9E/S Battery

As a result, the term "NWA" became virtually synonymous with Crockett's company, Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP), based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. By 1988, however, Crockett's acquisition spree had severely drained his coffers, and he was forced to sell the company to Ted Turner, whose TBS aired JCP television programs.Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/BI Battery

Turner renamed the company World Championship Wrestling (WCW) after the popular former GCW show; it remained affiliated with the NWA until it seceded in 1993.

As 1993 began, Prime Time Wrestling was struggling in the ratings and was cancelled. Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/G Battery

The show that succeeded Prime Time Wrestling changed how wrestling on cable TV would be presented whenMonday Night Raw was launched on the USA Network in January 1993. The WWF decided that it should use its cable time as a showcase for original matches and storylines that would serve as the major build-up to the quarterly pay-per-view broadcasts. Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/L Battery

The original Raw broke new ground in televised professional wrestling. Traditionally, wrestling shows were taped on sound stages with small audiences or at large arena shows. The Raw formula was very different than that of its predecessor, Prime Time Wrestling:Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/P Battery

instead of taped matches, with studio voice-overs and taped chat, Raw was a show shot to a live audience, with storylines unfolding as they happened. The first episode featured Yokozuna defeating Koko B. Ware, The Steiner Brothers defeating The Executioners; WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels defeating Max Moon;Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery

and The Undertaker defeating Damien Demento. The show also featured an interview with Razor Ramon.

Raw originated from The Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center Studios, a small New York City theater, and aired live each week. The combination of an intimate venue and live action proved highly successful.Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/P Battery

However, the weekly live schedule became a financial drain on the WWF, and the company began taping shows. Sometimes up to a month's worth of shows were taped at a time.

1993–1994: Eric Bischoff enters WCW

In the same year as the premiere of Monday Night Raw, WCW promoted former commentator and American Wrestling Association (AWA) announcer/sales associate Eric Bischoff to the position of Executive Vice President (essentially the head of the organization).Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/SI Battery

Bischoff's first year at the top was mostly a disaster. Bookers Ole Anderson and Dusty Rhodes concocted cartoonish, unbelievable, and poorly built-up storylines (such as the "Lost in Cleveland" amnesia storyline involving Cactus Jack and the B-style "White Castle of Fear" and beach mini-movies used to build up the SuperBrawl III and Beach Blast PPV events respectively). Sony VAIO VPCZ110 Battery

The summer of 1993 saw Ric Flair return to WCW after his WWF tenure, but since Flair was constrained by a no-compete clause from his WWF contract, WCW gave him a talk show segment on its television shows called A Flair for the Gold. At Slamboree 1993, WCW promised a Four Horsemen reunion, Sony VAIO VPCZ110GB/BI Battery

but former WWF Superstar Paul Roma replaced Tully Blanchard, who was rumored to have failed a drug test prior to leaving the WWF. Ole Anderson was on hand as the adviser but made only one appearance on A Flair for the Gold.

In another infamous incident that took place during A Flair For the Gold on a live Clash of the Champions building up the Fall Brawl pay-per-view, WCW decided to introduce a "mystery partner" for the babyfaces, a masked man known as The Shockmaster.Sony VAIO VPCZ112GD/S Battery

The Shockmaster (Fred Ottman, previously known as Typhoon and Tugboat in the WWF) was supposed to crash through a fake wall and intimidate the heels. Instead, he tripped through the wall and fell on live television and briefly knocking off his helmet, rendering himself as a joke character (despite winning some matches).Sony VAIO VPCZ112GX/S Battery

Also that same year, WCW began taping matches months in advance for syndicated programming like WCW WorldWide from the Disney/MGM Studios in what would become known as the "Disney Tapings". Because the footage recorded would often be shown on television months later, the tapings often exposed bookings and storylines well in advance.Sony VAIO VPCZ114GX/S Battery

WCW was usually forced to have wrestlers appear with title belts before they had won them in regards to the current storyline. This was regarded as a major breach of kayfabe at the time, and ultimately led to WCW's departure from the National Wrestling Alliance in September 1993.Sony VAIO VPCZ115 Battery

By the end of the year, WCW decided to once again base the promotion around Ric Flair. This was seen as more or less a necessity, as prospective top babyfaceSid Vicious was involved in a legitimate altercation with fellow wrestler Arn Anderson which saw Vicious attack Anderson with a pair of scissors (both wrestlers involved were injured in the end)Sony VAIO VPCZ115FC/B Battery

four weeks before Starrcade while on tour in England, and was fired. In fact, before the Sid/Arn incident, several weeks of syndicated programming was taped with Sid Vicious as WCW World Heavyweight Champion. Sid was scheduled to defeat Vader at Starrcade 1993, and the material taped would have begun airing in early 1994, Sony VAIO VPCZ115FC/S Battery

but the program was scrapped after Sid's attack on the popular veteran Anderson. Flair won the title at Starrcade and was once again made booker.

In 1994, Bischoff declared open war on McMahon's WWF and aggressively recruited high-profile former WWF wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. Sony VAIO VPCZ116 Battery

Using Turner's monetary resources, Bischoff placed his faith in the established stars with proven track records. Because of their high profiles, however, Hogan and Savage were able to demand and get several concessions not usually allowed to wrestlers at the time, such as multi-year, multi-million dollar guaranteed contracts and significant creative control over their characters. Sony VAIO VPCZ116GX/S Battery

This would later become a problem during subsequent years of competition with the WWF, as other wrestlers were able to make similar demands, and contract values soared out of control. Hogan, in particular, was able to gain considerable influence through a friendship with Bischoff. Sony VAIO VPCZ117 Battery

Another thing Bischoff may have failed to consider was the fact that many WCW fans (especially those who had followed the company since its NWA days) watched it as an alternative to the product of WWF in the early 1990s that focused on in-ring action as opposed to cartoonish characters and storylines. Sony VAIO VPCZ117FC/B Battery

As such, these fans viewed Bischoff's signing of former WWF talent as an attempt to copy its success instead of remaining true to the idea of WCW being an alternative to the WWF. Nevertheless, WCW's first major pay-per-view event since Hogan's hiring,Bash at the Beach, saw the former WWF mainstay cleanly defeat Ric Flair for the WCW Championship. Sony VAIO VPCZ118 Battery

The two had worked for the WWF at the same time from 1991 to 1992, and a feud was teased between them, but the big-money match originally planned for WrestleMania VIII was changed to Flair/Savage and Hogan/Sid. When WCW delivered the match, the PPV drew a high buyrate by WCW standards due to mainstream intrigue and hype. Sony VAIO VPCZ118GC/B Battery

Despite being a critical and financial success, the glory would not last long as the Hogan/Flair feud was only a one-off match and the hoped for long term effects on PPV buyrates and ratings did not materialize.

1994: Extreme Championship Wrestling

Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) had its origins in 1991 under the banner Tri-State Wrestling Alliance owned by Joel Goodhart.Sony VAIO VPCZ118GX/S Battery

In 1992, Goodhart sold his share of the company to his partner, Tod Gordon, who in return renamed the promotion Eastern Championship Wrestling. When Eastern Championship Wrestling was founded, it was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). At the time, "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert[2] was the lead booker of Eastern Championship Wrestling.Sony VAIO VPCZ119 Battery

Gilbert (after a falling out with Tod Gordon) was replaced in September 1993 by Paul Heyman(known on television as Paul E. Dangerously), who had just left World Championship Wrestling and was looking for a new challenge. Eastern Championship Wrestling contrasted contemporary professional wrestling,Sony VAIO VPCZ119FJ/S Battery

which was marketed more towards families, with a product more aimed for adults and fans who craved a more athletic and violent wrestling product. What would become its successor, Extreme Championship Wrestling aimed at males between 18 to 35, breaking few taboos in professional wrestling such as blading.Sony VAIO VPCZ119GC/X Battery

Heyman saw ECW as the professional wrestling equivalent to the grunge music movement of the early 1990s and focused on taking the company in a new direction.

In 1994, Jim Crockett's non-compete agreement with Ted Turner, who purchased World Championship Wrestling from Crockett in 1988, was up and he decided to start promoting with the NWA again. Sony VAIO VPCZ119L Battery

Crockett went to Tod Gordon and asked him to hold a tournament for the NWA's top prize, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, in ECW's home area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 27, 1994. NWA President Dennis Coralluzzo alleged that Crockett and Gordon were going to try to monopolize the title[4] (akin to Crockett's actions in the 1980s) Sony VAIO VPCZ119R/B Battery

and stated Crockett did not have the NWA board's approval, which resulted in Coralluzzo personally overseeing the tournament. Gordon took offense at Coralluzzo for his power plays and began contemplating a plan to secede ECW from the NWA through a controversial and public manner that would attract attention to ECW and insult the NWA organization. Sony VAIO VPCZ119R/S Battery

Gordon planned to have Shane Douglas, who was scheduled to face 2 Cold Scorpio in the tournament finals, throw down the NWA World Heavyweight Championship upon winning as an act of defiance.

The idea of throwing down the NWA World Heavyweight Championship was originally planned by Tod Gordon and Paul Heyman.Sony VAIO VPCZ11AFJ Battery

Heyman persuaded Douglas by noting that the negative would only be that NWA traditionalists would just see them as traitors to tradition. Adding to Douglas' decision was the animosity between Douglas and NWA President Dennis Carluzzo, who at the time publicly criticized Douglas and told NWA affiliated bookers not to book Douglas for shows as Carluzzo believed he was a "bad risk" and had the tendency to not appear at events when he was scheduled to.[Sony VAIO VPCZ11AGJ Battery

Douglas ultimately decided to go through with Gordon and Heyman's plan, inspired by his father's motto of "doing right by the people that do right by you." Douglas threw down the NWA World Heavyweight Championship stating that he did not want to be champion of a "dead promotion." Sony VAIO VPCZ11AVJ Battery

He then raised the Eastern Championship Wrestling title and declared it to be a World Heavyweight Championship—calling it the only real world title left in professional wrestling. When recalling this event years later, Paul Heyman stated the following:Sony VAIO VPCZ11CGX/X Battery

The National Wrestling Alliance was old-school when old-school wasn't hip anymore. We wanted to set our mark, we wanted to breakaway from the pack, we wanted to let the world know that we weren't just some independent promotion.[1]

With this event, Eastern Championship Wrestling seceded from the National Wrestling Alliance and became Extreme Championship Wrestling. Sony VAIO VPCZ11DGX/SJ Battery

This new ECW's unorthodox style and controversialstorylines made it popular among fans in the 18- to 35-year-old male demographic. The promotion showcased many different styles of professional wrestling, popularizing hardcore wrestling matches as well as lucha libre and Japanese wrestling styles. Sony VAIO VPCZ11FHX/XQ Battery

It became known for providing an alternative to North American wrestling with more technical styles that were common in Europe and Asia. ECW was promoted as counterculture and a grittier alternative to multi-million dollar organizations such as the WWF and WCW.Sony VAIO VPCZ11V9R/B Battery

WCW Monday Nitro premiered on September 4, 1995 as an hour-long weekly show,[8] and Bischoff was instrumental in the launching of the show. During their mid-1995 meeting, Turner asked Bischoff how WCW could conceivably compete with McMahon's WWF. Sony VAIO VPCZ11X9E/B Battery

Bischoff, not expecting Turner to comply, said that the only way would be a prime-time slot on a weekday night, possibly up against WWF's flagship show, Monday Night Raw. Surprisingly for Bischoff, Turner granted him one live hour on TNT every Monday night, which specifically overlapped with Raw.Sony VAIO VPCZ11Z9E/B Battery

This format quickly expanded to two live hours in May 1996 and later three. Bischoff himself was initially the host; he handled the first hour along with Bobby Heenan and former football player Steve "Mongo" McMichael, with Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko hosting the second. Sony VAIO VPCZ125GX/S Battery

Other co-hosts included Mike Tenay (usually for matches involving cruiserweights or international stars), Scott Hudson, and Mark Madden.

The initial broadcast of Nitro also featured the return of Lex Luger to WCW; Luger had worked for the company from 1987 to 1992, when it was still affiliated with the NWA, before joining the WWF the following year. Sony VAIO VPCZ127FC Battery

WCW's coup of obtaining Luger was significant for several reasons. Because Nitro was live at the time, premiering major stars on the show would signal to the fans the amount of excitement the broadcasts would contain. Secondly, Luger had just come off a successful run in the WWF and was one of the company's top stars at one point.Sony VAIO VPCZ128GC Battery

In fact, he had been in line to get the WWF World Title (he had had several previous title matches), and worked a WWF house show the night before. Since nobody but Bischoff and Luger's good friend Sting knew that Luger would return to WCW, the shock value generated by his appearance was enormous. Sony VAIO VPCZ12M9E/B Battery

Third, Luger's defection created speculation among the fans as to which other big-name stars would "jump ship". Notably, he would be followed by former WWF Women's Champion Alundra Blayze, who actually stole the belt  and appeared with it on live WCW television, insulting her former employers before throwing the belt in the garbage.Sony VAIO VPCZ13M9E/B Battery

Raw and Nitro shared wins in the "Monday Night Wars" early on, and the rivalry quickly heated up. Nitro began airing a weekly segment entitled Where the Big Boys Play! composed of stock footage of matches featuring current WWF wrestlers who had started their careers as jobbers in the WCW, all of which ended in the WWF wrestler suffering a humiliating loss.Sony VAIO VPCZ13V9E/X Battery

Bischoff also began to open Nitrobroadcasts by giving away the results of Raw matches, as the program was usually taped a week prior to airing. The move prompted an escalation in the WWF's campaign against the WCW, as Rawbegan airing skits before and after commercial breaks entitled Billionaire Ted, depicting Hulk Hogan as "The Huckster," Sony VAIO VPCZ13Z9E/X Battery

Randy Savage as "Nacho Man," and Ted Turner as "Billionaire Ted." While the material involving Hogan and Savage usually revolved around jokes relating to the men's ages in relation to their younger coworkers, and presented them as geriatrics attached to oxygen tanks, the skits revolving around Turner were decidedly more inflammatory in nature and contained material that could have been considered slanderous.Sony VAIO VPCZZZHJ Battery

The skits were ultimately ended in a short presented before WrestleMania XII, which killed off all the characters.

WrestleMania XII also marked a brief turning point for the WWF during which Raw would overtake Nitro for two consecutive months. Sony VAIO VPZ117 Battery

The event saw the return of 1980s fan favorite Roddy Piper, who made a face turn to fight Goldust; Goldust's transsexual persona had been particularly displeasing to fans, and his defeat at the hands of Piper became a high point of the evening. Another 1980s fan favorite returning that evening was The Ultimate Warrior, who would go on to enjoy a brief but successful revival in popularity.Sony VAIO VPZ118 Battery

The main event—a heavily promoted match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart that lasted for an entire hour—launched Michaels' popularity, in addition to marking the beginning of Hart's decline with the organization both backstage and in the ring.

The WWF would also gain the advantage over Nitro for 2 months as well.Sony VAIO VPZ119 Battery

1996–1997: WCW and the New World Order

However, WCW was about to gain the upper hand again and retain it for an extended period of time thanks in part to two former WWF stars. On the Memorial Day 1996 edition of Nitro the first of those stars, Scott Hall, who had competed as Razor Ramon and who had just signed with WCW,Sony VPCM11M1E/B Battery

interrupted a match and delivered a statement that if "WCW wanted a war, they are going to get one" and challenged the best WCW wrestlers to stand up and defend the company against the onslaught of Hall and his companions. Though Hall was employed by the WCW, Sony VPCM11M1E/W Battery

the storyline was presented to imply that Hall was in fact working as a WWF employee and that his presence represented an invasion by the rival promotion.

The following week, Hall promised a "big surprise" the next week in Wheeling, West Virginia. Sony VPCM12M1E/L Battery

That surprise was revealed to be the second WWF defector, former WWF Champion Kevin Nash (who had wrestled as Diesel). The two were dubbed "The Outsiders."

Both men took to showing up unexpectedly during Nitro bSony VPCM12M1E/P BatterySony VPCM12M1E/P Batteryroadcasts, usually jumping wrestlers backstage, distracting wrestlers by standing in the entranceways of arenas, or walking around in the audience. Within a couple of weeks, they announced the forthcoming appearance of a mysterious third member.Sony VPCM12M1E/W Battery

At Bash at the Beach, Hall and Nash were scheduled to team with their mystery partner against Lex Luger, Randy Savage and Sting. At the onset of the match, Hall and Nash came out without a third man, telling announcer "Mean" Gene Okerlund that he was "in the building," but that they did not need him yet. Sony VPCM13M1E/L Battery

Shortly into the match, a Stinger Splash resulted in Luger being crushed behind Nash, and being taken away on a stretcher, turning the match into The Outsiders vs. Sting and Savage and teasing the possibility of Luger, a former WWF wrestler like Hall and Nash, as the mystery partner.Sony VPCM13M1E/P Battery

Hall and Nash took control of the match when Hulk Hogan came to the ring. After standing off with The Outsiders for a moment, he suddenly attacked Savage, showing himself to be the Outsiders' mysterious third man and thus turning heel, with the three men now collectively known as the New World Order, or nWo.Sony VPCM13M1E/W Battery

In a scripted post-match interview, Hogan appeared to break character, insulting the fans, expressing burnout on having been a face for so long, and stating that he was tired of what he perceived as a lack of appreciation for his accomplishments. Sony VAIO VGN-SR11M Battery

Hogan's statements inspired enough vitriol in the audience that they began to pelt him with food and garbage; announcer Gene Okerlund was struck by a beer bottle, which broke his nose; and one fan jumped the security railing and attempted to attack Hogan, and had to be restrained by Hall and Nash until arena security could remove him from the building.Sony VAIO VGN-SR11MR Battery

The following evening on Nitro, most of the WCW's top stars gave supposed out-of-character interviews, expressing their feelings of betrayal and disillusionment with Hogan's betrayal. The ensuing storyline, in which the nWo waged a campaign of anarchy against the WCW, Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D Battery

continued to blur the lines between reality and the storyline, a unique presentation that acknowledged fans' growing awareness of backstage wrestling politics. Fans were pleased with this new gimmick, and for the next 84 consecutive weeks Nitro would beat Rawin the ratings.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/B Battery

To further fuel the animosity between companies, Eric Bischoff began opening Nitro broadcasts by reading the results of taped Rawshows on-air, to discourage fans from switching channels. The WWF retaliated by filing a lawsuit against the WCW, alleging that WCW was illegally representing the nWo as a WWF affiliate and that Hall's persona was too close to his Razor Ramon character Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/P Battery

(itself a parody of Al Pacino's character in Scarface, to which the WWF retained the rights. The WCW countered that in June, Hall and Nash had emphatically stated on-camera that they were no longer WWF employees, and that Hall's current persona was in fact a reworking of his previous WCW character, The Diamond Stud. Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/S Battery

The lawsuit would drag on for several years, culminating in the WWF agreeing to drop the suit in exchange for the right to bid on WCW properties should they ever come up for liquidation. The settlement, as well as Bischoff's giving away the results of taped shows, would both prove disastrous for the WCW years later.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E Battery

1996–1997: WWF struggles

Raw, and the WWF in general, was considered to be at a creative nadir before Nitro started, thus helping WCW's meteoric rise. Into the early 90s, the WWF had continued the creative formula that had given the company such success in the 1980s: Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/B Battery

Clear cut face vs. heel storylines, colorful wrestlers with themed gimmicks, and alluring female valets who nonetheless maintained a "PG-13" level of sex appeal. Although the formula had been popular during the MTV-fueled Rock and Wrestling Era, fans in the 1990s began to gravitate towards more morally ambiguous characters,Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/P Battery

wrestlers whose personas were more grounded in reality, and metafiction storylines that acknowledged their awareness of backstage politics via the use of the internet. With the introduction of the nWo, the June 10, 1996 episode of RAW would be the last ratings victory in nearly two years.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/S Battery

On the November 4, 1996 episode of Raw, the WWF aired the infamous "Pillman's Got a Gun" angle with the feuding Steve Austin and Brian Pillman. In a series of vignettes broadcast from Pillman's real-life home, Pillman—supposedly debilitated following an attack by Austin—vowed to protect himself and his wife with the help of a group of friends should Austin appear. Sony VAIO VGN-SR140N/S Battery

At the end of the evening, the final vignette depicted Austin breaking into Pillman's home, prompting Pillman to pull a 9mm Glock on Austin, and the feed being "interrupted" in the ensuing chaos, with commentator Vince McMahon stating that he had been informed of "a couple explosions". Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/B Battery

When the feed resumed, Austin was shown being dragged out of Pillman's house as Pillman screamed "That son of a bitch has got this coming! Let him go! I'm going to kill that son of a bitch! Get out of the fucking way!" None of the profanity was censored.Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/P Battery

The angle polarized fans and shocked the USA network, which was not accustomed to featuring a program with the profanity and level of violence presented in the vignette. Although the WWF (and Pillman himself) were forced to issue apologies to avoid Rawbeing canceled for breach of contract,Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/S Battery

the ensuing discussion of the incident in the fan community generated the most attention the WWF had received since the beginning of the Monday Night Wars, prompting the WWF creative team to begin looking into the idea of more adult-oriented stories and characters and mimicking the WCW's metafiction elements.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EBJ Battery

On February 3, 1997, Monday Night Raw changed to a two-hour format. In an attempt to break the momentum of what had turned into ratings Monday Nitro, Extreme Championship Wrestling was brought in as Jerry Lawler "challenged" ECW on February 17. In the weeks to come,Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EBQ Battery

several ECW wrestlers would appear on Raw in a story arc similar to the nWo story playing out in the WCW, with the WWF pursuing the "renegade" ECW. On March 10, 1997, Raw was officially renamed Raw is War, in a reference to the ongoing ratings battle.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EEJ/C Battery

Throughout 1997, Raw began to take on more and more controversial elements, such as a story involving racist graffiti targeted at the Black Militant stable Nation of Domination, and emphasizing the sexuality of valets Sunny, Sable, and Marlena, who began appearing in increasingly revealing clothing and appearing in swimsuit and lingerie oriented spreads in WWF's Raw magazine,Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NAB Battery

a lad magdesigned as an alternative to the family friend WWF magazine and a competitor to the likewise family friendly WCW magazine.

Although these elements helped to garner the WWF more attention than it had enjoyed in the wake of the nWo storyline, Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NBB Battery

the injury of Steve Austin at the SummerSlam pay-per-view, which put him out of action for three months, proved to be a severe blow to Raw's popularity.

1997: The Montreal Screwjob

In 1997, Bret Hart, who had been one of the few consistent mainstays of the WWF throughout the 1980s and 1990s, signed a contract with the WCW. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NDB Battery

Hart, at the time the WWF champion, wanted to part ways with the WWF amicably, and had agreed to vacate the title following a farewell speech on a broadcast of Raw. Although McMahon agreed to the arrangement, he later decided to humiliate Hart on live television; without Hart's prior knowledge, McMahon arranged for Hart to appear to willfully lose his final match in the WWF at the 1997 Survivor Series, to real-life rival Shawn Michaels. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NEB Battery

The incident—which took place in Hart's home country of Canada—became known as the Montreal Screwjob, and inspired the documentary film Wrestling with Shadows. It shook WWF wrestlers' faith in their own company, resulting in a near strike the following evening; Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NGB Battery

Hart himself (who assaulted McMahon in his dressing room later that evening) prevented a walk-out by asking his former coworkers not to risk their careers for his sake. Rick Rude, a wrestler who had been popular amongst both fans and his fellow wrestlers during the 1980s and who had recently made a comeback in the WWF, Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PAB Battery

left the company as a result of the incident and followed Hart to the WCW. Rude would debut in the WCW on a live broadcast of Nitroto insult the WWF for its treatment of Hart the same night that he appeared on a taped edition of Raw. Hart's brother, Owen, likewise attempted to quit the WWF, citing a knee injury, but was unable to get out of his contract.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PCB Battery

Hart's departure would ultimately turn the tide of the "Monday Night Wars." With Hart now on the WCW roster, Nitro boasted the most well-known names in wrestling; unlike the WWF, the WCW had also been aggressively promoting new talent, with up-and-coming stars such as Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerreroenjoying as much attention as established performers. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PFB Battery

Additionally, the WCW had also taken advantage of the popularity of wrestling amongst Hispanic, Latin American, and Asian fans by introducing a cruiserweight division, largely made up of stars from Mexico, Central America, and Japan, who performed the acrobatically-based wrestling maneuvers popular in their home countries.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery

Meanwhile, WCW's Starrcade pay-per-view in Washington, D.C. drew WCW's highest buyrate to that date, largely because of Eric Bischoff building up the main-event of Hulk Hogan vs. Sting, a match that fans had been waiting to see since Sting first presented himself as the leader of an anti-nWo faction a year before. Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery

The ending to the match—which saw Bret Hart making his WCW debut to accuse the referee of corruption, making himself the referee, and awarding the championship belt to Sting, only for the belt to be stripped on a technicality—was seen as an anticlimactic finish to an event fans had patiently awaited,Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VRN Battery

and the numerous reversals and technicalities employed to further the storyline were received as confusing and convoluted.

Despite losing to Nitro week after week, Raw rallied in the ratings when it introduced its new "WWF Attitude" concept, in which the family friendly,Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN Battery

clear-cut face vs. heel dynamic of the 1980s and early 90s was jettisoned in favor of morally ambiguous wrestlers and adult oriented, often heavily sexualized storylines. The concept was spearheaded by McMahon along with head WWF writer Vince Russo, who drastically changed the way wrestling television was written and constructed. Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN Battery

Russo's booking style was often referred to as "Crash TV": Matches were shortened in favor of story-building backstage vignettes, with an emphasis on shock factor. Like the WCW's nWo storyline, the WWF began to blur the line between real life and kayfabe: Vince McMahon, taking advantage of fans' genuine dislike for him following the Montreal Screwjob,Sony VAIO VGN-SR210J/S Battery

recast himself as "Mr. McMahon," an exaggeration of his public persona. This presentation both mimicked Nitro's "Anything can happen" atmosphere, and acknowledged the growing phenomenon of "smarks," wrestling fans who used the internet to gain a wide base of knowledge on the real-life, backstage workings of the industry.Sony VAIO VGN-SR21M/S Battery

Meanwhile, many other wrestlers' personas were retooled, and wrestlers who had been growing in popularity were given pushes. Mick Foley, who had been wrestling as the psychotic heel Mankind, was made into a face after a series of out-of-character interviews documenting Foley's career,Sony VAIO VGN-SR21RM/H Battery

the toll it had taken on his body and his marriage, and his youthful ambitions of being a popular wrestler with a hippie persona named Dude Love. From then on, Foley alternated characters, variously appearing as Mankind, Dude Love, and his former WCW/ECW persona of Cactus Jack. Sony VAIO VGN-SR21RM/S Battery

The Rock, who had failed as a babyface character named Rocky Maivia, was recast as an arrogant jock who spouted catch phrases. Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Chyna formed D-Generation X (DX), a rule-breaking, frat boy themed stable of wrestlers who laced their vignettes with sexual innuendo and lewd gestures. Sony VAIO VGN-SR220J/B Battery

Although an injury would cause Michaels to take a four-year hiatus from wrestling, the stable soared in popularity under the leadership of Triple H, who added The New Age Outlaws and Sean Waltman to the group's ranks. Waltman had recently left the WCW after wrestling there for several years as Syxx,Sony VAIO VGN-SR220J/H Battery

and his return to the WWF (after having wrestled there in the early 90s as "The 1-2-3 Kid") signaled that the WCW's allure had begun to fade.

The night after WrestleMania XIV, McMahon began a feud with fan-favorite Stone Cold Steve Austin; the men's rivalry, cast as a battle between blue collarredneck Austin and white collar executive McMahon, Sony VAIO VGN-SR240J/B Battery

became one of the defining storylines of the Attitude era, as each engaged in ever escalating acts of sabotage and violence against the other. On April 13, 1998, an advertised Austin vs. McMahon main event was enough for Raw to finally beat Nitro in the ratings for the first time in nearly two years. Sony VAIO VGN-SR240N/B Battery

Two weeks later, the WWF taunted WCW's slipping ratings by sending members of DX to the Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, Virginia in an attempt to crash a live taping of Nitro; the WWF was in town, filming Raw at the nearby Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia. Earlier in the day, Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTH Battery

Triple H and other wrestlers appeared outside the arena in military fatigues, challenging Eric Bischoff to come out and face them. The event was videotaped by a WWF camera crew for inclusion on Raw, and signaled that WCW's clout had begun to slip.

Raw's ratings began to rise steadily and consistently, bringing the newly-christened "Attitude Era" to its highest point.Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTJ Battery

1998–1999: WCW struggles

Hoping to counter the McMahon/Austin feud, WCW divided the nWo into the Hulk Hogan-led heel "nWo Hollywood" faction and the Kevin Nash-led face "nWo Wolfpac" faction. Although the Wolfpac itself proved popular with fans, the overall storyline was seen as a simple rehashing of the original nWo "Invasion" storyline, Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTQ Battery

which had begun to bore audiences with predictable match outcomes and repetitive vignettes. Ted Turner also decided to expand the brand by introducing a second weekly program-- WCW Thunder-- on his TBS channel. The introduction of Thunder troubled Eric Bischoff,Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JVB/C Battery

who warned Turner that a second weekly program could potentially result in fan burnout, as viewing both programs would require five hours of viewing time a week.

WCW's next big attempt to regain ratings supremacy was by marketing ex-NFL player Bill Goldberg as an invincible monster with a record-breaking streak of 176 consecutive wins. Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JVH/C Battery

Goldberg proved to be massively popular with the fans and enjoyed some crossover success in mainstream popular culture. On July 6, 1998, airing from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, Nitro defeated Raw in the ratings when Goldberg pinned Hulk Hogan cleanly to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Sony VAIO VGN-SR290NTB Battery

The match drew a 6.91 rating for the quarter-hour, the highest rating recorded in the ratings war up to that time; however, the decision to stage the match on live cable television was questioned backstage at WCW, as some believed that the match should have been the highlight of a pay-per-view, where it could have generated more revenue. Sony VAIO VGN-SR29VN/S Battery

Although Goldberg's "invincible" angle ultimately wore thin with fans, Goldberg's popularity remained consistent until the promotion's demise in 2001.

On August 10, 1998, WCW regained the lead for 6 weeks. During this time WCW brought in The Ultimate Warrior, who was now known as The Warrior, and then later reformed the Four Horsemen for Ric Flair's television return. Sony VAIO VGN-SR29XN/S Battery

WCW's final victory in the Monday Night Wars came on October 26, following the previous night's Halloween Havoc pay-per-view. The episode included a repeat airing of the Halloween Havoc World Title match between Diamond Dallas Page and Goldberg, which some PPV viewers had not seen the night before due to a loss of the feed at 11pm Eastern Time.Sony VAIO VGN-SR2RVN/S Battery

During this period, Kevin Nash was widely believed to be in charge of booking shows and giving himself undue attention in storylines. After winning the World War 3 battle royal in November 1998, he ended Goldberg's winning streak and won the World Title at Starrcade 1998 the following month. Sony VAIO VGN-SR390NAB Battery

In his defense, Nash claims that he did not take up the booking position until February 1999, two months after his victory over Goldberg. Nash's booking was heavily criticized by fellow wrestlers and fans, including Eddie Guerrero in his autobiography Cheating Death, Stealing Life: The Eddie Guerrero Story. Sony VAIO VGN-SR390NAH Battery

The newfound emphasis on Nash's character set the stage for the beginning of 1999 and what is widely viewed as the beginning of WCW's long-term decline, from which it would never recover.

1999–2000: WCW's decline

As 1999 began, both shows were consistently getting 5.0 or higher Nielsen ratings and over ten million people tuned in to watch Rawand Nitro every week. Sony VAIO VGN-SR41M/P Battery

Wrestling gained newfound appreciation, as wrestlers made the mainstream media, appearing on magazine covers like Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide. By November 1998, however, the momentum would be in the WWF's favor for the remainder of the war. On January 4, Nitro broadcast live once again from the Georgia Dome. Sony VAIO VGN-SR41M/S Battery

In the second of three hours (the show had expanded to two hours in 1996 and three in 1998), Eric Bischoff, who had learned of the results of the taped Raw that was set to air that night, ordered announcer Tony Schiavone to make the following statement:Sony VAIO VGN-SR49VN/H Battery

Fans, if you're even thinking about changing the channel to our competition, do not. We understand that Mick Foley, who wrestled here at one time as Cactus Jack, is gonna win their World title. Ha! That's gonna put some butts in the seats, heh.[13]

Ratings indicated that immediately after Schiavone made those comments, 600,000 people switched channels to Raw to see Mankind win the WWF Championship, many of whom wished to see a guaranteed title change and/or a title victory by Foley. Sony VAIO VGN-SR51B/P Battery

After Mankind won the title, many fans then switched back to Nitro (which still had five minutes of air time left), suggesting that WCW had a show that the fans wanted to see and might have emerged the victor that night had they not given away the Raw main event results. The final ratings for the night were 5.7 for Raw and 5.0 for Nitro.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51B/S Battery

During the year following the incident, many WWF fans brought signs to the shows saying "Mick Foley put my ass in this seat".[14]

This Nitro's main event was originally scheduled to be Goldberg vs. Kevin Nash for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and was going to be their anticipated rematch. Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF Battery

Goldberg was arrested (kayfabe) mid-show, however, and accused of "aggravated stalking" by Miss Elizabeth. He was released when Elizabeth couldn't keep her story straight. Meanwhile, Hollywood Hulk Hogan returned to WCW after a hiatus and challenged Nash to a match, which Nash accepted. F/P laptop battery" href="http://www.laptopbattery-pack.co.uk/sony-vaio-vgn-sr51mf-p-battery-12110.htm">Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/P Battery

This led to the infamous "Fingerpoke of Doom" which saw Hogan merely poking Nash in the chest with his finger, causing Nash to lie down for Hogan to win the belt. It led to another heel turn for Hogan and the reformation of the nWo. The credibility of the company, which did not present the match that had been advertised, was damaged severely Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/S Battery

(a Goldberg vs. Nash rematch from Starrcade 1998), as well as what was perceived to be an underhanded way of selling out the arena for that night's telecast. Despite the incident, WCW would continue this bait and switch tactic of booking until their demise in 2001.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/W Battery

Raw was dominating Nitro to the point where WCW was making "quick fixes" to stem the tide, including hiring rapper Master P, as well as bringing in Megadeth, Chad Brock, and KISS for concerts (all of which flopped in the ratings). In September 1999, Bischoff was removed from power. Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MR Battery

He states in his autobiography that he intended to resign on the day and when word leaked, they decided to remove him before he could resign. Meanwhile, Raw's numbers continued to rise; a 25-minute long This Is Your Life themed skit between The Rock and Mick Foley drew an 8.4 quarter-hour rating on September 27, 1999.Sony VAIO VGN-SR59VG Battery

On October 5, 1999, Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara, the head writers of WWF television programs, were lured away by WCW, and were immediately replaced in the WWF by Chris Kreski. Russo and Ferrara failed to capture the magic of their WWF days, however, when they turned Nitro into more of a Raw clone, and they became known on-screen as unseen management known as "The Powers That Be". Sony VAIO VGN-SR59VG/H Battery

Ferrara even became a parody of Jim Ross, named Oklahoma. In December 1999, Bret Hart suffered a serious career-ending concussion during a match with Goldberg at Starrcade. The WCW promotion was entering severe financial and creative depressions, both of which would only get worse in the months to come. Sony VAIO VGN-SR70B/S Battery

Nitro's ratings failed to increase, and in January 2000, both Russo and Ferrara were suspended from the company after they considered putting the world title on Tank Abbott. The subsequent promotion of Kevin Sullivan to head booker caused an uproar among WCW's wrestlers.Sony VAIO VGN-SR72B/P Battery

In spite of winning the WCW title at Souled Out 2000, Chris Benoit quit in protest, along with Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn andDean Malenko. All four of them entered the WWF as The Radicalz, premiering on Raw's January 31 episode—15 days after Benoit's title win. Sony VAIO VGN-SR72B/S Battery

Nitro was cut to two hours in January 2000 in an effort to bolster the aggregate ratings score,[8] but the elimination of the third hour didn't mean higher ratings for Nitro, which by April averaged around a 2.5 (while Raw drew double, or sometimes triple that amount).Sony VAIO VGN-SR73JB/S Battery

In April 2000, the WCW hired the reigning ECW World Heavyweight Champion, Mike Awesome, who left ECW over a contract dispute. His appearance on WCW television led to legal threats from ECW owner Paul Heyman. A compromise was reached which resulted in Awesome losing the title at an ECW event to Tazz, who was formerly of ECW and at the time contracted to the WWF. Sony VAIO VGN-SR74FB/S Battery

Tazz would later appear on WWF programming with the title. The WWF used this as a symbolic demonstration of superiority over WCW. On April 10, 2000, Bischoff (now a creative consultant) and Russo, returned with equal power to work as a team and attempted to reboot WCW. Sony VAIO VGN-SR90FS Battery

Bischoff was allowed back with booking powers, but no longer had control of the company finances like he did in his previous reign. The premise of the WCW revival was that a changing of the guard was in order. The Millionaire's Club, consisting of WCW's veteran stars such as Hogan, Sony VAIO VGN-SR90NS Battery

Flair and Diamond Dallas Page, were accused of preventing the younger talent from ascending to main event status and feuded with The New Blood, consisting of WCW's younger stars such as Billy Kidman, Booker T and Buff Bagwell. In theory, the younger stars would finally get an even playing field to break out as big stars in wrestling. Sony VAIO VGN-SR90S Battery

A lot of the newer stars were seen as being relatively green or lacking the charisma and/or ability to truly get over with fans, however, and while the new storyline sparked initial interest, it ultimately failed to turn around the ratings, as fans begin to see the storyline as a ripoff of the WCW vs. nWo storyline from 1996–97 and WCW continued its downward spiral. Sony VAIO VGN-SR90US Battery

WCW became even more desperate, even going as far as placing the WCW World Heavyweight Championship upon actor David Arquette, who was making promotional appearances for WCW's feature film Ready to Rumble (a critical failure itself).

In 2000, Ted Turner was no longer running the company, which had been purchased by Time Warner in 1996 and AOL in 2000. Sony VAIO VGN-SR91NS Battery

That year, WCW lost $62 million, due to guaranteed contracts of their older performers, plummeting advertising revenues, dropping house show attendance, controversial booking decisions (like Arquette and Russo winning the WCW title), expensive stunts to boost the dismal ratings and abysmal pay-per-view buyrates. Sony VAIO VGN-SR91PS Battery

Goldberg, arguably the biggest star of the promotion at the time, suffered a self-sustained arm injury during a backstage vignette taping that kept him on the shelf for half the year. Upon his return, his momentum was derailed, after turning heel at The Great American Bash, despite being the most popular performer in the company.Sony VAIO VGN-SR91S Battery

2001: WWFE, Inc. purchases WCW

In January 2001, Fusient Media Ventures, led by Eric Bischoff, announced they had bought WCW. The deal was contingent on the Turner networks keeping Nitro on Monday and Thunder on TBS on Wednesday. When Jamie Kellner took over as CEO of Turner Broadcasting, he removed all WCW programming from the network.Sony VAIO VGN-SR91US Battery

With no national television outlet to air the shows, Fusient dropped their offer to purchase the promotion. The WWF, the only company who would not need the television time slots Kellner had cancelled, then made their offer. On March 23, 2001, all of WCW's trademarks and archived video library, as well as a select twenty-five contracts, were sold to Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. Sony VAIO VGN-SR92NS Battery

WCW was purchased for a mere $3,000,000. Most of the main event-level stars including Flair, Goldberg, Kevin Nash, and Sting were contracted directly to parent company AOL Time Warner instead of WCW, and thus AOL Time Warner was forced to continue to pay many of the wrestlers for years.Sony VAIO VGN-SR92PS Battery

TNT did allow a final Nitro show to air from Panama City Beach, Florida which had been scheduled for the following Monday on March 26. McMahon opened the last-ever episode of WCW Monday Nitrosimulcast with Raw, which aired from Cleveland, Ohio, with a self-praising speech.[Sony VAIO VGN-SR92S Battery

The final WCW World Heavyweight Championship match for the show and the company saw WCW United States 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.Sony VAIO VGN-SR92US Battery

This was a direct parallel to the very first Nitro, where Sting vs. Flair was also the main event. 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. Sony VAIO VGN-SR93DS Battery

This initiated the Invasion storyline that would have Shane's character leading the WCW invasion of the WWF,[20] which lasted from March to November 2001 and marked the end of WCW as a brand. The last Nitro drew a 3.0 rating. The final ratings tally in 253 head-to-head showdowns was: Sony VAIO VGN-SR93JS Battery

158 wins for Raw (including 122 straight from November 1998 until the war ended), 110 for Nitro, and three ties.

Earlier that month, ECW owner Paul Heyman had begun an announcing contract with WWF as ECW had also fallen to financial problems and was forced to shutdown. Sony VAIO VGN-SR93PS Battery

Thus, the World Wrestling Federation became the sole prominent professional wrestling promotion in the United States.

Aftermath

WWF business steadily declined in North America after the end of the wars, with a noticeable drop in buyrates and ratings. Sony VAIO VGN-SR93YS Battery

To compensate for the decrease in domestic revenue, WWF expanded their business outside of the United States. By 2002, the WWF roster had doubled in size due to the overabundance of contracted workers. As a result of the increase, the WWF was divided into franchises through its two main television programs,Sony VAIO VGN-SR94FS Battery

Raw and SmackDown!, assigning the now divided roster to either franchise while also designating championships and appointing figureheads to each franchise. This expansion became known as the Brand Extension. The franchises or "brands" act as complementing promotions under the parent company.Sony VAIO VGN-SR94GS Battery

The institution of concepts like separate rosters, "General Managers" and talent drafts was intended to emulate the rivalry that had ended with WCW.

In May 2002, the WWF was renamed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Sony VAIO VGN-SR94HS Battery

In 2004, WWE produced a DVD called The Monday Night Wars. Two hours in length, the DVD left out a large portion of the "wars," breaking off around 1997 before jumping straight to the post-WCW era of WWE. The objectivity of the DVD's content was questioned, as some believed the documentary was simply telling the WWE side of the story. Sony VAIO VGN-SR94VS Battery

On August 25, 2009, WWE released The Rise and Fall of WCW on DVD.[25] The DVD looks back at the roots of WCW during the days of GCW and Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, to the glory days of Monday Nitro and the nWo, and to its demise and sale to WWE.Sony VAIO VGN-NS10E/S Battery

Since the launch of the Video On Demand service WWE 24/7 (now WWE Classics On Demand), a show called The Monday Night War(hosted by Michael Cole) shows both shows sequentially for a given date (for instance, a Raw followed by a Nitro from the first official week of the Monday Night War). Sony VAIO VGN-NS10J/S Battery

The sequence of which show would be shown first alternated between episodes, and at times, a short segment called "War Stories" would show following a key moment in the Monday Night Wars would follow a particular segment with interviews by the people involved. Soon, the new episodes were split, Sony VAIO VGN-NS10L/S Battery

with the Nitro and the Raw from each week having their own War show (though they would be on the VOD library selection during the same time). This was to be replaced by new episodes once every two weeks. However, recently, a new feature called Monday Night War: The Beginning has been debuting. Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/L Battery

It has been claimed to bring viewers back to the "genesis" of the Monday Night War, showing the old episodes of the actual MNW show (more than likely for those customers who were not able to see the episodes due to cable carriage deals being worked out). Since then, new episode would debut for two weeks,Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/S Battery

then be replaced by two "The Beginning" episodes, then the process would repeat. The length of time in which "The Beginning" shows would air have not been announced.

Legacy

As a result of the Monday Night Wars, professional wrestling became a prime time tradition on Monday nights in America.Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/W Battery

It also lessened the prevalence of squash matches (where star wrestlers would defeat jobbers) on television, as both companies were compelled to show competitive, pay-per-view quality matches on a weekly basis in an effort to increase ratings.

The Monday Night Wars resulted in millions of new viewers.Sony VAIO VGN-NS115N/S Battery

Consequently, the late 1990s are commonly referred to as professional wrestling's last boom period. Stars such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Bill Goldberg and Sting became household names, and some attempted to parlay their newfound fame into other mediums and found success in them,Sony VAIO VGN-NS11J/S Battery

much like Hulk Hogan of the 1980s and early 1990s: notable examples being Mick Foley, who became a New York Times best selling author with his autobiography, Have a Nice Day, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who branched out to become a successful film actor.Sony VAIO VGN-NS130E/L Battery

WCW's closure left a gap in the market which several companies attempted to fill. In 2001, X Wrestling Federation and World Wrestling All-Stars opened, but both folded by 2004. Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) and Ring of Honor (ROH) both emerged in early 2002 and have enjoyed moderate success since that time.Sony VAIO VGN-NS130E/S Battery

At first running weekly pay-per-views, TNA has since switched to monthlysupercard pay-per-views supported by a weekly show on cable television entitled TNA Impact!. In late 2007, ROH also started airing bi-monthly, pre-taped pay-per-views, and in 2009, ROH began airing a weekly wrestling program on HDNet. Sony VAIO VGN-NS130E/W Battery

However, it was announced in early 2011 that HDNet would drop ROH from its schedule.

2010: Hogan and Bischoff with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling

On October 27, 2009, Hulk Hogan announced that he and Eric Bischoff had signed with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in a press conference held at Madison Square Garden, the place considered to be the home of WWE. Sony VAIO VGN-NS140E/L Battery

TNA President Dixie Carter stated "Our goal is to become the world's biggest professional wrestling company. Hulk defines professional wrestling and we look forward to partnering with him in a variety of ways as we continue to grow TNA globally." Sony VAIO VGN-NS140E/S Battery

In signing with TNA, they would be reunited with the controversial former WCW booker Vince Russo who they had vowed to never work with again after butting heads in WCW. However, they stated that Russo would not be fired, and the three would attempt to work together.[Sony VAIO VGN-NS140E/W Battery

A short time after on December 5, 2009, Hogan made an announcement during The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights Finale that TNA Impact!, which normally airs on Thursdays would go head to head withWWE Raw on Monday January 4 in a three-hour live broadcast.[Sony VAIO VGN-NS190J/L Battery]

This would be the first time since March 2001 that two wrestling promotions would go head-to-head in a Monday night ratings competition. It was also confirmed to be the live debut of Hogan.[29] The WWE countered by announcing the return of Bret Hart, who hadn’t appeared in WWE since the Montreal Screwjob in 1997.[Sony VAIO VGN-NS190J/S Battery]

Leading up to the show, TNA President Dixie Carter stated that while MTV (which owns Spike) was not expecting Impact! to beat Rawin the ratings, it would be considered a success if they managed to at least maintain their usual Thursday nightImpact! rating.[Sony VAIO VGN-NS190J/W Battery]

Spike president Kevin Kay also announced there were plans to air Impact! on Mondays quarterly through 2010 and added that if the ratings proved successful on January 4, it could be moved to Monday nights permanently.

The Monday night Impact! featured the debuts and returns of Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, Eric Bischoff, The Nasty Boys, Sting, Sony VAIO VGN-NS235J/L Battery

Jeff Jarrett, Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy, Ric Flair, Sean Morley, Orlando Jordan, Shannon Moore and Bubba the Love Sponge in addition to Hogan.[34] WWE Raw featured the return of Bret Hart, who confronted Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels for the first time in twelve years.[Sony VAIO VGN-NS235J/P Battery

The ratings showed that, much alike the first Monday Night War, Rawcame out on top, averaging 5.6 million viewers while Impact!averaged 2.2 million viewers,the show peaked with 3 million viewers for the Hulk Hogan segment but then the viewership declined towards the end of the show to near 2.2 million viewers.[Sony VAIO VGN-NS235J/S Battery]

However, despite not beating Raw in the ratings, TNA managed to set a new record for Impact!, beating the previous one of 1.97 million viewers, and thus gaining the confidence of Spike representatives.

On March 8, 2010, Impact! moved to Monday nights at 9pm EST to compete head-to-head with Raw.[Sony VAIO VGN-NS235J/W Battery]

Eric Bischoff was once again competing on the opposite side of Vince McMahon's WWE and in an interview with Bubba the Love Sponge, he said that he believed "history is repeating itself".[39] This has proved to be true since the new war is beginning the same way as the original did;Sony VAIO VGN-NS240E/L Battery

TNA have hired the same ex-WWE talent that WCW did, they have recreated the "outsiders" storyline from when Kevin Nash and Scott Hall joined WCW and most importantly, they are being led by Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. Ironically, Spike had carried Raw from 2000 until 2005, when Raw returned to USA. Sony VAIO VGN-NS290J/L Battery

WWE spokesman Robert Zimmerman responded to TNA's move by saying "We're not too concerned. We're in good shape."[40]Bischoff later stated that TNA aren't focused on beating WWE in the ratings straight away, but rather gaining a significant share of their audience and growing TNA's own audience.[Sony VAIO VGN-NS290J/S Battery]

On the March 8, 2010, Raw beat Impact! with a 3.4 rating which equated to approximately 5.1 million viewers, while Impact! did a 0.98 with 1.4 million viewers. The following week on the March 15 edition, Impact! scored its lowest rating since November 2006 with a .84 rating.Sony VAIO VGN-NS50B/L Battery

No quarter hour segment of Impact! reached past the previous week's overall rating. The broadcast lost 15% of the audience it opened with, going from a .87 opening quarter hour to a .72 in the A.J. Styles versus Jeff Hardy main event. Impact! averaged 1.1 million viewers, an overall decrease of 21.4% in viewership from the previous week.[Sony VAIO VGN-NS50B/W Battery]

Raw scored a 3.71 rating and averaged 5.60 million viewers, an overall increase of 10% in viewership from the previous week. The broadcast's first hour was the most viewed first hour since August 24, 2009, while the second was the most viewed second hour since January 4, 2010.[Sony VAIO VGN-NS51B/L Battery]

On March 22, days before WrestleMania XXVI, Raw scored a 3.2 and Impact scored a 0.86. Raw's rating was down more than 1 million viewers equating to about 20%. Ratings for Impact! had improved slightly over the last week as they offered a Career vs. Career match between Jeff Jarrett and Mick Foley.Sony VAIO VGN-NS51B/P Battery

The night after WrestleMania XXVI, Raw scored a 3.7 rating, up from last week and Impact! scored a 0.62. After these declining ratings, Spike executives announced the April 5 live Impact! would air an hour earlier than Raw. The April 5 edition of Raw lost 14% of their viewers with a 3.15 rating while Impact! scored a 0.9 rating,Sony VAIO VGN-NS51B/W Battery

their highest rating since the March 15th episode gaining a 33% in total viewers as they offered Kurt Angle vs. Mr. Anderson in a Ladder Match. After better ratings for the April 5 edition of Impact!, TNA decided to start Impact! one hour earlier permanently. Sony VAIO VGN-NS52JB/L Battery

The April 12 edition of Raw made a comeback with a 3.24 rating while the taped Impact! scored a 0.8 rating managing to keep most of their audience. Then on April 19, the night after TNA Lockdown, Raw scored a 3.05 rating their lowest score in two years, while Impact!Sony VAIO VGN-NS52JB/P Battery

scored a 0.95 rating their highest score since April 5 as they offered a TNA World Heavyweight Championship match between RVD and AJ Styles. On April 26, Raw gained very few viewers with a 3.08 rating while Impact! lost 48% of their audience with a 0.6 rating.Sony VAIO VGN-NS52JB/W Battery

The feud was short lived, as Impact! moved back to Thursday nights starting with the May 13 show. On the final battle between Raw and Impact, Raw drew a 3.05 and Impact drew a 0.8 rating gaining a 37.5% in total viewers.Sony VAIO VGN-NS70B/W Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-NS71B/W Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-NS72JB/W Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-NS90HS Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-NS92JS Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-NS92XS Battery

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