(Thanks to the guys on Grey Dog Forums for their TEW storyline which i've tweaked)
As the year 2000 came to a close, a number of potential buyers for WCW were rumoured to show interest in the company. Ted Turner, however, was still in charge of Time Warner prior to the final merger of AOL and Time Warner in 2001, and most offers were rejected. Eric Bischoff, working with Fusient Media Ventures, made a bid to acquire the company in January 2001 (shortly following the AOL/Time Warner merger), and it appeared that WCW would continue.
One of the primary backers in the WCW deal backed out, however, leaving Fusient to take that offer off the table while it attempted to bring a new deal around. In the meantime, the World Wrestling Federation began speaking to the new AOL Time Warner about acquiring the WCW brand. Jamie Kellner was handed control over the Turner Broadcasting division, and deemed WCW wrestling to be out of line with their image. As a result, WCW programming was cancelled on both TBS and TNT, leaving Vince McMahon's company, which at the time had an exclusive deal with Viacom, free to acquire the trademarks, video libraries and a few contracts.
A last minute deal was done though and Bischoff managed to scrape together the financial backing to put another offer to AOL Time Warner. Much to Vince McMahon's ire WCW was sold to Eric Bischoff for a basement bottom price of 2 million dollars. With no TV deal, damaged prestige and a roster more then disgruntled alot of work looked to be ahead for the once #1 promotion.
The Great American Bash
After closing shortly in May of 2001 for a brief restructure effort WCW returned with a massive bang in June of the same year. After securing a lucrative deal with FOX to bring Monday Nitro back on the air and several PPV providers to also bring WCW events back to PPV, the company begun hyping one of it's premier PPV's The Great American Bash with promises of a fresh product and at least two huge surprises for the show. Eric Bischoff having learnt the lessons of the past delivered and then some to the 10,000 strong Atlanta crowd.
Leading up to the event many speculated if WCW legend Ric Flair would appear considering his falling out with Bischoff was now well known. In a display that started to show signs Eric really had learnt from his mistakes Bischoff publically apologised to Flair and promised the Nature Boy moving forward their relationship and the way the Flair legacy would be handled would be very different. Having lost some of the companies biggest names due to contracts running out (Hogan, Savage, Piper, Hall) Flair was one of the few well known stars WCW still had on it's roster and resigning the living legend proved to be quite the coup for Bischoff and WCW.
The 2001 Great American Bash proved to be a turning point in WCW's history. Leading up to the event Ric Flair cut scathing promo's putting down defunct promotion ECW describing the agony he felt when the promotion dumped the NWA in the now infamous Shane Douglas incident. Three weeks before The Bash PPV Flair was interrupted while delivering one of his ECW rants... by none other then ECW's very own Rob Van Dam. RVD attacked Flair with brutal chair shot after brutal chair shot and set the stage for a legendary WCW vs ECW show down at the PPV. Both men lived up to their reputations as two of the most exciting workers in recent memory put on a clinic in the squared circle and picked up numerous "Match Of The Year" votes in doing so. Van Dam would prove victorious in the thriller with a Frog Splash through a table. RVD's star rose almost immediately and he began receiving some of the biggest pops on Nitro even though portraying a heel.
Another surprise of the night was the returning Eddie Guerrero! After being released from his WWF contract for several incidents involving his personal daemons Eric Bischoff extended his hand in friendship in another attempt to make amends for his past actions. Guerrero accepted Eric's offer but many believe he needed to be fired from the WWF to rehabilitate himself before returning to the ring. The jury is still out whether or not Guerrero made the right decision in resigning with WCW and not seeking personal help for his issues. Guerrero defeated Booker T on the card to capture the WCW United States Title once again.
After several months chasing the WCW World Heavyweight Title, Goldberg defeated reigning champion Scott Steiner to reclaim the strap in a far better then expected main event with both men leaving nothing in the ring and leaving WCW fans quite impressed with the effort.
Bash At The Beach
Riding off the success of the Great American Bash WCW would go from strength to strength putting on fantastic Monday Nitro's in the following weeks. The shows were heavily based around hyping the upcoming Bash At The Beach PPV and a huge surprise announcement was made regarding the main event. Originally scheduled to be a Goldberg vs RVD main event for the WCW World Title the main event took a swift but exciting change when Eric Bischoff announced on Nitro a tag match to replace it. In a heated promo Bischoff announced that the two top heels RVD and Scott Steiner would face Goldberg with a partner of his choosing. Goldberg hit the ring and announced his partner for the PPV would be none other then... WBC World Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis! With Bischoff's love of celebrity talent many were concerned the match would be a disaster and send WCW spiralling back into WrestleCrap history. The doubters were quickly proven wrong though as ratings, merchandise and ticket sales boomed leading into the PPV. Lewis proved to be a professional in and out of the ring becoming wrestling's hottest cross over star since nemesis Mike Tyson appeared in the WWF. The main event was a huge success also, in fact better then anyone could imagine. With the final stages of the bout coming to a close Rob Van Dam (who is known to work stiff) threw a wild heel kick at Lewis and connected knocking the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion out for a few brief seconds. The match quickly went home with Goldberg covering Steiner for the win but the incident would become infamous and catapult RVD into Worldwide superstardom becoming known as the man who knocked out Lennox Lewis legit. To say the Lewis camp was upset would be an understatement considering they were building for a massive fight with Mike Tyson on PPV. Lennox Lewis would leave the promotion with alot of ill feelings but Bischoff could not have been happier as he witnessed the heat RVD gained with the bold move.
Bash At The Beach To Mayhem
After doing great business over the last two quarters of 2001 WCW crept back from Cult status and reclaimed it's spot as a National company. Shortly after the Bash At The Beach PPV a prodigy would debut on in the promotion and prove to be a turning point. For a year WWF had been training a wrestler in it's developmental territory OVW for an eventual call up to the main roster. The worker in question had every scout who had seen him singing his praises as the "Next Big Thing". Brock Lesnar an NCAA wrestling champion is known to be one of the most competitive athletes in the US and grew impatient with his development in the WWF. Lesnar would jump ship to WCW after being offered a huge 6 figure contract and promises of a big run. As with Goldberg almost 5 years earlier Bischoff could not wait to debut the monster and called him straight up to the main roster even though many trainers thought he was still too green. Lesnar proceeded to make Bill Goldberg's first run in WCW look second best as he dominated every opponent he faced amassing a winning streak..
The Mayhem PPV was hyped as WCW's version of the Royal Rumble with a 30 Man Rumble to take place to determine the number one contender for the WCW World Title. In a sizzling encounter the newly debuted Brock Lesnar steamrolled his way to victory eliminating Ric Flair and Booker T last. Also on the card Goldberg would finally face Rob Van Dam and walk out the WCW World Heavyweight Champion defending the strap in a **** match. The stage was set for a still unbeaten Brock Lesnar to challenge Goldberg for the title at Starrcade.
WCW's flagship event Starrcade was hyped in the media nation wide and proved once again WCW could and did deliver great shows. On the undercard Hugh Morrus defeated Ernest "The Cat" Miller to retain his WCW United States Title and Sting bested the rising Kanyon in a Crypt Match (WCW's newly found version of a Casket Match) to end their feud. RVD would also defeat a departing Kevin Nash (Nash would leave the next day to begin a contract with the WWF) on the card and Sean O'Haire who was being mega pushed as a heel man beast defeated Diamond Dallas Page to solidify his spot at the top of the card. In the match that everybody came to see Goldberg and Lesnar would not disappoint putting on one of the most physically intense matches ever seen in North America. After 18 minutes of action and numerous close kick outs at the two count Brock Lesnar countered a Spear from Goldberg sending him crashing into the ring post, Lesnar quickly took advantage and delivered a triple powerbomb followed by an F-5 for the clean pin. Lesnar's winning streak was intact and the monster looked invincible as he raised the WCW World Heavyweight Title in the air.
WCW Greed '02
In WCW's last PPV to date the company again delivered a great show. Lance Storm and Mike Awesome retained their tag titles in a cracking contest with the Filthy Animals when debuting young tag team, The Hartbreak Kids attacked them. Sean O Haire continued his rampage when he defeated Sting in a shocking upset. Booker T returned from a leg injury to defeat Kanyon and Scott Steiner continued to terrorize Ric Flair. Lesnar would defend his World Title against newly turned babyface RVD and regain the strap while Goldberg defeated Jeff Jarrett to claim a title shot and rematch against Lesnar. Lesnar has refused since Starrcade to grant Goldberg his rematch citing the exclusion of the clause in the contract signed by both men for the match but with Goldberg's win over Jarrett Lesnar has no option.
WCW Greed 2002 Results:
Live From Orlando, Florida:
AJ Styles Def Elix Skipper to retain the WCW Cruiserweight championship.
Team Canada Def Filthy Animals to retain the WCW Tag Team championships.
Booker T Def Kanyon.
Sean O Haire Def Sting.
Scott Steiner Def Ric Flair
Hugh Morrus Def Eddie Guerrero to retain the WCW United States championship.
Goldberg Def Jeff Jarrett.
Brock Lesnar Def Rob Van Dam to retain the WCW World Heavyweight championship.
After the collapse of the XFL Vince McMahon turned his attention back to pro wrestling and the WWF. McMahon would bring back Nash, Hall and Hogan over the next year for matches at Wrestlemania XVIII, the move upset more then a few WWF workers backstage. Also brought back to the WWF was BG James, AKA The Road Dogg, Jesse James. Road Dogg rekindled his tag team with Billy Gunn and the two have seen moderate success. Viscera and The Road Warriors are other notable returns to the promotion over the past year. Several young workers were also called up to the main roster to bolster the ranks, among them were John Cena, Charlie Haas, Shelton Benjamin, Renee Dupree, Sylvian Grenier and Christopher Nowinski.
After being brought into the WWF as colour commentator Paul Heyman grew tired of the WWF heirarchy and decided not to renew his contract with the promotion. Heyman will be a free agent in one month (May 1, 2002) and rumours are abound that he is looking to start another promotion only this time with a much more toned down product then ECW which saw sponsors stay away in droves.
Roster to come soon...