What ideas did they steal from ECW that were successful? Biggest thing WCW did was the NWO, repackage Sting, push Goldberg and build a strong tag team division, not to mention a strong mid card LONG before ECW.
And for the record, the cash never ran out. Deep pockets Turner ran the show and said he didn't care about the money, as WCW did him well with his networks.
The end of WCW came when Turner lost his share, as if Time Warner had full control in 1996, they wanted to pull the plug then. The deck was stacked against WCW since 1996 and they were just waiting for Turner to lose his share to call it quits. Him spending money was what made things get better, as ratings/buyrates didn't drastically increase until Hogan, Nash, Hall, Savage and other big name talents came over. Had Hogan never came back and furthermore, had Hall & Nash not jumped ship, WCW would have died after 5 years because it was a money pit from day 1, until those guys came over.
I can't rep you anymore. Expect some the next chance it allows me to. You hit the nail on the head.
You missed 1 thing: The Cruiserweights.