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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I remember Eric Bischoff constantly talking about how WCW were beating WWE in the ratings in between 1996 and 1998 but after watching a lot of WWE in early to mid 1997 in comparison to watching a lot of WCW in the same period WWE were much better to watch. Obviously at this point in time there was a HUGE gulf in the ratings between WWE and WCW at this point in time but yet WCW were not doing anything that great on a weekly basis until later in the year in my opinion and i was always and am still a fan of WCW over WWE saying this.

The feud between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret Hart was really heating up and the conclusion of that feud as a one on one at In Your House: Revenge of The Taker was better than anything in WCW at that time. At the same time we saw The Undertaker probably at his peak and his on/off feud with Mick Foley still working well as well as Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart as a side feud which added so much without even being in the ring with each other.

WCW early in the year were still giving us Hulk Hogan against Rowdy Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan against The Giant which were both feuds that had already been done and had it not been for people watching because of The New World Order and Sting feud that was being built up from March the ratings would not have been as high. WCW certainly had great matches in the Cruiserweight division and often the US title scene but it was quite rare for them to have their biggest names wrestling outside of PPV's.

I am not saying that WCW were poor in 1997 because they certainly were not and i have always said that i believe 1997 to be the greatest year ever in wrestling history but for me and as a WCW fan i believe that WWE were better in 1997. It might not have hit the ratings yet but WWE were better consistantly in 1997 which is why i ask if the ratings were really that important in that year, on the back of 1995 being so bad 1996 was the year that WWE came close to going bust after The New World Order dominating the ratings but the first half of 1997 saw WWE as a much better product.
 

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You also have to remember TBS owned WCW... so WCW didn't have to worry about signing television contracts. They only had to worry about the Turner higher ups approving the ratings they were getting at that time. And since neither TBS or TNT had any other highly rated shows... WCW was very good for them.

It wasn't until Turner started developing a new corporate strategy that pretty much spelled the end for WCW (along with their other sports properties like the Braves, and Atlanta Hawks). Plus they were losing money as well. They had no chance at staying at Turner. Regardless if the new CEO was a fan of wrestling. Turner wanted to get rid of all sports related assets.

Ratings are important for WWE because it determines ad rates. It also helps them gain leverage in negotiations for a new TV contract with USA network if ratings are high.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
They were both television shows, so yeah, even though WWE had the (arguably) superior product, ratings were - and still are - extremely important.
I understand that as a tv show ratings are important because bad ratings mean cancellation of the show but in 1997 Raw was consistantly better than Nitro was but because of how hot 1996 was for WCW that continued into the following year and then again in 1998. I am not sure how to explain what i mean better than in 1997 we WCW do better in the ratings despite putting out a show which was not as good as WWE were which is why i asked if the ratings really meant that much in that year.

For example to what i am asking we will use British soap opera's and in the ratings Coronation Street will do better in the ratings but yet Eastenders will win all of the awards for that year and Emmerdale may be the best to actually watch for entertainment, i know that is not a great example but i can't think of a better one right now. For the first half of 1997 we would see WWE getting destroyed by WCW in the ratings but yet putting out a better and more entertaining product, i have always associated it with WCW having bigger drawing stars rather than more entertaining stars but that is just my opinion.
 

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I never paid attention to the ratings at the time, I enjoyed both shows, even though WWE was losing I thought they had more going for them with Austin/Bret, Mankind/Undertaker, ECW. I will say though I think Sting/Hogan was better built than any of the feuds WWE had at the time, if you dont count Starrcade 97
 

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Starrcade 97 is what gave the WWE a fighting chance. If WCW booked that main event right, we wouldnt have a WWE today.
Explain because I thought Starrcade 98 main event did more damage to WCW and the after affect. After Starrcade 97, WCW went on to have their biggest year money wise and ratings wise in 1998.

What made WWF so great was attention to detail. They focus on about 15 guys and kept it small. While WCW had like 80 guys and try to get multiple guys over. The fans was more emotionally invested in WWF guys because they did not have to worry about focusing on 30 other guys.
 

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Starrcade 97 is what gave the WWE a fighting chance. If WCW booked that main event right, we wouldnt have a WWE today.
I still think WWE would have been on track. The problem with the Sting character in my opinion was while he was popular once he won the title I dont think his character had any longevity. Or the gimmick would have got repetitive for fans, theres only so long you can get over by not talking and he did do it successfully for a year, but eventually he would have lost the 'mystique', wheras people like Austin and Rock were being built up and the great storylines with DX and Vince. I think the audience would have been more one sided
 

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Explain because I thought Starrcade 98 main event did more damage to WCW and the after affect. After Starrcade 97, WCW went on to have their biggest year money wise and ratings wise in 1998.

What made WWF so great was attention to detail. They focus on about 15 guys and kept it small. While WCW had like 80 guys and try to get multiple guys over. The fans was more emotionally invested in WWF guys because they did not have to worry about focusing on 30 other guys.
Starrcade 98 was the killing blow but if WCW handled the payoff with Sting beating Hogan right, it would have sent the company over the edge and given them the rush to beat Vince for good. Unfortunately what happened after the PPV was, Sting didnt matter. He won in a shit way, lost to Hogan a few weeks later and fell into the background, just like what happened to goldberg a year later.

And your second post actually describe TNA pretty well too. 10 years and they still havent learned shit.
 

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I'd say Starrcade 98 was the one that blew it for WCW, with Nash beating Goldberg's streak.

Ratings were and always will be important to mainstream wrestling, it's what gives organisations leverage in signing news deals.
 

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It won't even the streak ending that was a problem, it was how they did it. Taser gun thing was stupid and then they had the whole finger poke of doom to make things worse. Let's not forget the awful idea to turn Goldberg heel a few years later. The way they handle Bill Goldberg is what killed WCW to a lot of fans.

WWF ratings were never really bad compare to other shows. They were always the highest rated show on USA network even at their lowest point.
 

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The Crow gimmick pretty much killed Sting for me. Everything good about Sting came from his sheer energy and excitement, his goofyness and dumbness. Crow Sting was a mute wearing a black trench coat, cool for the time, but he never got back the kind of popularity he had as Surfer Sting.

I always though the ratings issue, for Bishoff at least, was just a metaphor for comparing pennis size and stuff. They were important for the guys that ran TBS, but WCW was Turner's pet project for years, and he didn't really mind how much it cost to keep it up.
 

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I understand that as a tv show ratings are important because bad ratings mean cancellation of the show but in 1997 Raw was consistantly better than Nitro was but because of how hot 1996 was for WCW that continued into the following year and then again in 1998. I am not sure how to explain what i mean better than in 1997 we WCW do better in the ratings despite putting out a show which was not as good as WWE were which is why i asked if the ratings really meant that much in that year.

For example to what i am asking we will use British soap opera's and in the ratings Coronation Street will do better in the ratings but yet Eastenders will win all of the awards for that year and Emmerdale may be the best to actually watch for entertainment, i know that is not a great example but i can't think of a better one right now. For the first half of 1997 we would see WWE getting destroyed by WCW in the ratings but yet putting out a better and more entertaining product, i have always associated it with WCW having bigger drawing stars rather than more entertaining stars but that is just my opinion.
I get what you're saying, that WCW was better in '96 but WWE was better in '97, but WCW continued getting higher ratings into 1998.

There's a saying in pro sports that you get into the All-Star game a year after you deserved to be in and stop getting in a year after you deserved to be out. That is, WCW kept getting the benefit of the doubt from viewers long after WWE had overtaken them in terms of quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I never paid attention to the ratings at the time, I enjoyed both shows, even though WWE was losing I thought they had more going for them with Austin/Bret, Mankind/Undertaker, ECW. I will say though I think Sting/Hogan was better built than any of the feuds WWE had at the time, if you dont count Starrcade 97
I'm glad you understood what i meant as what i was trying to say probably didn't come across right in my opening post. Outside of the HUGE and unbelievable build up towards Sting/Hogan at Starrcade i believe that WWE had a better year than WCW did in 1997 but because WCW had bigger draws they stayed ahead in the ratings.

WWE had so much going on in 1997 right from the start when they more or less had Shawn Michaels, Sid Vicious, Bret Hart, The Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley and Vader all involved in one massive storyline that could see any two go off and feud with each other at any given time. That year we saw Michaels/Hart, Austin/Hart, Michaels/Austin, Undertaker/Foley, Undertaker/Hart, Michaels/Vicious, Michaels/Undertaker, Austin/Owen, the rise of The Rock begin, the start of the Undertaker/Kane storyline, great tag team wrestling and the start of the Mr McMahon character which all in all is my favorite year ever in wrestling.

Explain because I thought Starrcade 98 main event did more damage to WCW and the after affect. After Starrcade 97, WCW went on to have their biggest year money wise and ratings wise in 1998.

What made WWF so great was attention to detail. They focus on about 15 guys and kept it small. While WCW had like 80 guys and try to get multiple guys over. The fans was more emotionally invested in WWF guys because they did not have to worry about focusing on 30 other guys.
This is another great point as like i said above at the start of the year WWE pushed six or seven people in one storyline over the WWE title and watching that kind of interaction between all of their top stars was something i hadn't seen in WWE since early 1992 when the WWE title was vacant. In WCW as great as The New World Order was at times in 1997 there were so many people in the stable it watered the group down and it meant that more or less every feud was WCW against NWO with Hulk Hogan at the forefront of everything.

Don't get me wrong i loved WCW and was a fan of NWA/WCW in the late 80's over WWE but i have just never believed that the ratings in 1997 were a fair reflection on where each company was in regards to how good they were. I believe in January there was something like a difference in the rating of 2.0 and around 1.0 at the end of the year and if WCW were considered better in 1997 but other people then it wouldn't have been that much for me.

Also Starrcade in 1998 did much more damage to the company then Starrcade in 1997 did because as bad as Sting not going over clean was a HUGE mistake WCW still spent another six months ahead in the ratings. It was in June 1998 i believe when WWE finally went back ahead in the ratings and then both companies were close in the ratings until the aftermath of Starrcade in 1998 when the fan's had by that time had enough of the overkill of The New World Order after splitting in two and then reuniting.

I still think WWE would have been on track. The problem with the Sting character in my opinion was while he was popular once he won the title I dont think his character had any longevity. Or the gimmick would have got repetitive for fans, theres only so long you can get over by not talking and he did do it successfully for a year, but eventually he would have lost the 'mystique', wheras people like Austin and Rock were being built up and the great storylines with DX and Vince. I think the audience would have been more one sided
I would agree with you again as WWE would always have stayed on track as by that time Stone Cold Steve Austin had began to be the main man in the company as well as The Rock coming through, Triple H stepping out of Shawn Michaels shadow, The Undertaker at his peak, Mick Foley, Kane and Mr McMahon all around. I would say though in regards to Sting they had tweaked his character almost as soon as Starrcade had been and gone as he began to talk but what they went wrong was by having Sting join The Wolfpac seeing how he was against everyone in that group outside of Lex Luger as they were all alongside Hollywood Hogan.

It was around the time when The New World Order was split into two and became overkill that WWE went ahead in the ratings but Sting had then been pushed into the background after being build up for a whole year so that WCW could push a Wolfpac/Hollywood storyline. After a year and a half build up to Sting/Hogan it was finished by Superbrawl and then they never really did anything between them again until late 1999 by which time they were too far behind to come back, by the time they had anything between the two biggest stars in the company i believe that WCW were nearly a 4.0 rating behind WWE.
 

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ratings are important because they depend if your Tv contract lives or dies, ratings drop constantly to the point of being too low? then it's bye bye for the show

that's why people always care about them and cared trough 1997
 

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Ratings always were and will be important. It doesn't matter if a show has more quality, at the end of the day the ratings decide if the show is still going to be on the air. I personally preferred WWF around that time over WCW. They had more workers I cared about and were more entertaining.
 

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Dave, I remember Mick Foley saying "WWE had great main event matches (Hart, Michaels, Austin and Taker all delivering great matches in the main event) but average midcard matches" and WCW had "average main events but excellent mid card matches(Guerrero, Mysterio, Jericho all having great matches)", probably nothing to do with the ratings, but I think where WCW was proably strong was that they had a great storyline with NWO, but they always had these new innovative matches that contributed to the ratings, that doesnt get the credit it deserved. I remember in 1997 being just as excited seeing Mysterio, Guerrero and Malenko in matches just as much as the NWO. Wheras WWE's midcard matches wernt very strong, I think Owen and Davey were consistent but then there were tag teams like The Headbangers
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The Crow gimmick pretty much killed Sting for me. Everything good about Sting came from his sheer energy and excitement, his goofyness and dumbness. Crow Sting was a mute wearing a black trench coat, cool for the time, but he never got back the kind of popularity he had as Surfer Sting.

I always though the ratings issue, for Bishoff at least, was just a metaphor for comparing pennis size and stuff. They were important for the guys that ran TBS, but WCW was Turner's pet project for years, and he didn't really mind how much it cost to keep it up.
I don't know about Sting not being as popular in 1997 as he was in between 1988 and 1996 when he had the surfer character with the bright colours because in 1997 there wasn't a wrestler anywhere in the world as popular as Sting. Even going into 1998 after Sting had finished the feud with Hulk Hogan he was HUGELY over and only behind Stone Cold Steve Austin at that time as most popular around.

That was exactly what i meant though about the ratings in my opening post as it was Eric Bischoff who would talk about the ratings because NWA/WCW had never been in front of WWE in his time with the company i think at least so to him it was a major thing. On the otherside though once WWE were ahead you never heard WWE refer to WCW in anyway at all so it has made me question if the ratings battle from 1997 onwards was ever really that important because the majority of people could see that WWE were putting out a better show on a weekly basis by that time but it just hadn't hit the ratings yet.

As Rudeawakening said though i guess it was down to the fact that WCW had average main event matches but with HUGE names and big draws added to a great undercard packed with tag team, cruiserweight and US title matches whereas WWE did well at the top of the card but struggled outside of that because of the lack of depth to their roster as a whole.

That goes back to something i said the other day in regards to The Rock being seen as such a HUGE draw in comparison to John Cena because whilst i will never question The Rock's drawing ability he worked in an era which saw mid card matches with the likes of Angle, Benoit, Jericho, Edge and Christian, The Dudleys, The Hardyz and Eddie Guerrero so not only were there great matches at the top with The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, The Undertaker and Kane but also great matches underneath. Compare that with what John Cena now works with underneath him and it is easy to see why buyrates and ratings had gone down and why people question if John Cena really does draw.

Not that i wanted to turn this into another thread about John Cena and The Rock but i just needed to make that point but looking back on WWE's roster in 1997 there mid card wasn't at all bad because there was Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, The Rock, Triple H, Goldust, Ken Shamrock and Ahmed Johnson whilst a tag team division consisted of The Road Warriors, The Godwinns, The Blackjacks, The New Age Outlaws and i believe the Hardyz debuted that year. I would take that tag team division again right now i know that much because what we get now is horrible and even pointless and a complete mockery of a division that has seen so many legends begin their careers in.
 
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