Vince's Enemies: History of WCW 2001-
In March 2001 Vince McMahon brought out his arch-enemies WCW and ever since he has held a monopoly on the wrestling industry. TNA and RoH have since opened and tried to compete but nobody has had the power to challenge, but many will remember that Eric Bischoff almost brought the WCW before Vince got his hands on it. Imagine what could have been if Eric did get his hands on WCW and the two companies continued to feud to this day. In this creative I will be booking the WCW but also exploring the WWF/E's journey as Eric Bischoff gets his hands on the WCW and takes the war to Vince. This BTB will operate in a diary style as I hope to bring it through the years to see what could have been.
The phone rings in Stamford Connecticut the Headquarters of the World Wrestling Federation and the Chairman Vincent Kennedy McMahon doesn't waste a second in answering. With champagne on ice WWF officials wait anxiously for Vince McMahon to break the news. However his expression begins to change as the news might not be good as first thought.
The news coming from Panama City Beach Florida was that Eric Bischoff had made an eleventh hour counter offer to buy WWF arch-rivals World Championship Wrestling backed by the Fusient Media Group. With Eric Bischoff agreeing to also buyout the AOL Time Warner contracts which the major WCW stars where signed to Vince McMahon had no option but to pull out.
Vince had been so confident in striking the deal that evening he had already sent his son Shane McMahon to Panama City Beach to appear at WCW's main broadcast Monday Night Nitro. Even WCW officials where lead to believe the deal was done and booked the show as the companies last. Booker T became WCW Champion that night and WCW legends Ric Flair and Sting fought out a fitting finale.
Vince knew he had come so close to having a monopoly on the Wrestling Industry. He sat furious in his office for half an hour before regrouping and then calling back in WWF officials. "Tonight we celebrate" he proclaimed as he tried to put a brave face on proceedings. Although he had failed to buy out the competition he was the only Wrestling company left on national television and the following week he would let the world know.
In Cleveland Ohio the following week Vince McMahon would step out on Raw and declare the War won. He had fought off Nitro and won the Monday Night Wars and he was about to celebrate that fact. He celebrated in the ring as Raw became a party with Vince firmly putting the boot into WCW who with no television deal had no chance to respond.
American television executive Brian Bedol had lead a venture called Fusient with Eric Bischoff which looked to purchase WCW but with no television deal they pulled out.
Eric Bischoff was a dejected man when he called into Monday Nitro on the 19th March to tell WCW fans he had failed to buy the company. With the merger between AOL and Time Warner Jamie Kellner was handed control over the Turner Broadcasting division, and deemed WCW wrestling to be out of line with its image.
Eric Bischoff conceded with no television deal the proposal was impossible but with rumours surfacing Vince McMahon was about to buy WCW Eric had a change of heart. He called Brian Bedol and begged him to make a counter offer.AOL TW where keen to get rid of the large contracts they still had to honour of WCW stars. Brian Bedol felt this was too much to ask but on 26th March they negotiated to by out the contracts with AOL TW agreeing to write off 20% to get them off their hands.
So as Sting and Ric Flair embraced at the end of the March 26th episode of Nitro, it would be Eric Bischoff who entered the ring insated of Shane McMahon., he had saved WCW but he had no television deal, long over priced contracts of WCW stars, little money left and Fusient would be demanding results of their investment.
WCW had survived for now but many experts predicted they did not hold much hope in WCW being around by the end of the year.
Here is how the massive news was reported in March 2001.
WCW sold to Fusient Media Ventures
Eric Bischoff firmly in charge again
Finally. The drama that has been going on over the sale of World Championship Wrestling has come to an end.
The winner? Meet Fusient Media Ventures. The boss? Same as the old boss, Eric Bischoff. Upon his return Bischoff is also bringing back television writer Vince Russo to put together the angles / scripts for WCW.
According to the press release, Fusient has entered into an agreement with Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. to acquire WCW. TBS, Inc. will retain a minority interest in the company and retain the rights to the broadcasts.
Classic Sports Network founders Brian Bedol and Stephen Greenberg are behind Fusient Media Ventures. ESPN acquired Classic Sports Network a while back.
Bedol will be the new CEO of WCW. Bischoff will assume the role of president. The partnership of Bedol, Greenberg and Bischoff brings together more than 50 years of combined experience in the entertainment, television and sports industries.
"We're going to reestablish the WCW as the champion of professional wrestling entertainment," said Brian Bedol in the release. "There is huge untapped potential for the franchise and with Eric Bischoff on board we will crank everything up to make the WCW franchise even bigger, better, stronger and more entertaining than anything wrestling fans have ever experienced before."
"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Fusient Media Ventures that truly represents a win for all parties," said Bradley J. Siegel, president of general entertainment networks, TBS, Inc. "The Fusient management team's experience in programming, production and marketing at Classic Sports Network lends itself perfectly to the WCW business. Their entrepreneurial business-building expertise, combined with the powerhouse brands and distribution that TBS Superstation and TNT provide, will be a winning combination."
"Wrestling fans can rest assured that we will give the WCW the adrenaline shot it needs to once again become the most exciting brand of wrestling in the world," said Eric Bischoff.
Fusient Media Ventures is focused on identifying, funding, developing and distributing next generation content and converged media brands. The company is headquartered in New York, with offices in Los Angeles.
-- SLAM! Wrestling, with files from CANOE Wire Services
Turner to stop airing WCW
By JUSTIN BACHMAN -- AP Business Writer
ATLANTA -- Turner Broadcasting System Inc. has decided to stop airing World Championship Wrestling, a mainstay of the network's lineup since its fledgling days in the 1970s, as it continues to scout a buyer for the troubled company.
The decision means that the WCW will go on hiatus after a March 26 event in Panama City Beach, Fla., pending its sale to Fusient Media. WCW will return again on May 6th for their scheduled PPV, Big Bang which Eric Bischoff plans to be the big reopening of WCW.
Variety: Turner axes WCW
Variety is reporting today that Turner Broadcasting CEO Jamie Kellner has officially announced that TBS is dropping all of its wrestling content and that Monday Night Nitro and Thunder are cancelled after March 26th.
WCW's poor ratings, massive losses last year and the fact that Turner Broadcasting is looking to attract more "upscale" viewers who are into movies and re-run programming are all part of the reason Kellner dropped the boom on WCW.
Kellner's decision puts WCW's deal with buyer Fusient Media Ventures in serious jeopardy as the agreement between the two hinged on Nitro and Thunder still being broadcast on TBS. A Turner spokesperson told Variety that "other buyers" (such as the WWF) are interested in purchasing the troubled promotion.
Former WCW Vice-President and the man who helped spearhead the Fusient Media deal -- Eric Bischoff -- is rumoured to be meeting with executives at Fox Broadcasting to see if they would be willing to provide a home for WCW programming.
-- SLAM! Wrestling.
On March 26, 2001, Eric Bischoff shows up on World Championship Wrestling's (WCW) Monday Nitro to announce himself as the new owner.After a long and bloody battle, between the two feuding companies it would however be the World Wrestling Federation celebrating as WCW went off air for the last time on TNT. The future of WCW is still uncertain but for the time being Eric Bischoff is in charge and WCW continues to struggle on for the time being.