The death of WCW is one of the biggest events in wrestling history and will always be talked about because of the aftermath of it all and basically leading to WWE’s monopoly. The death WCW has an interesting debate in it, two schools of thought, in one side those who blame only the AOL-Time Warner merger as the main reason of WCW demise and the other side blaming the bad booking and other bad decisions led to the eventual death of WCW.
Both sides of the argument are valid and there’s no bad decision in this debate, but at the end of the day one decision had more impact regarding the death of WCW than the other. Which argument you believe also depends on who you believe on the matter.
What really led to the death of WCW really? The first and real answer would be bad booking. WCW booking the concept of the nWo to death was one of the biggest nails in the coffin of WCW. The only plan for the nWo was to interfere matches and look cool afterwards, there was never a real long-term plan with the faction and that was a major mistake. WCW also made the mistake of allowing most the WCW roster being part of the nWo instead of a small operation as it initially was. There are many things wrong with the nWo but the biggest has to be the way they ended Goldberg’s streak. The finger poke of doom was also a turn of events that was the beginning of the end and point of no return for WCW.
WCW and their cruiserweights were some of the best stuff they had to offer and WWF could never match those levels of in-ring work weekly. WCW made the mistake of not pushing guys like Jericho o Guerrero as main eventers, and instead relying on the old WWF veterans too often. Other decisions with the cruiserweights like shorting their matches or the decision of taking Rey Mysterio’s mask were awful decisions and contributed on WCW not being around.
All the previous points naturally led to WCW losing their lead to the WWF in terms of ratings and those bad numbers were starting too look even bad, especially when you start to consider all the money that it was spent on WCW.
Financially WCW was a disaster. The promotion was offering ridiculous contracts and for a lot of talent would barely even have TV time or would just be offered a contract because they worked in the WWF at one point. Hulk Hogan had one of the most bizarre contracts in 1998. WCW only had two years where they turned a profit; that tells you everything you need to know about the state of WCW finances by the end.
The AOL-Time Warner merger was the final nail on the WCW coffin. It’s no secret that Turner broadcasting executives were no fans of WCW and once the merger took place with the combination of bad ratings and only making a profit for two years, the end was pretty much inevitable after that. At the end of the day, there isn’t two deaths of WCW, but just one. Both the merger and bad decisions made leading to the merger cause the inevitable downfall of WCW.
The end of WCW is a combination of multiple factor that are all worth discussing. Two great books like Nitro and the death of WCW talk more in detail on the subject and give you a perspective regarding the death of WCW.