Did the Monday Night War really hurt the fight in the long run?

0


The battle for ratings dominance between WWE and now defunct WCW may have served as swansong for the professional wrestling industry. Previously, wrestling was considered a circus performance, but the boom of the 1980s paved the way for the fledgling industry, with larger-than-life figures such as Hogan, Savage, and Warrior enjoying mainstream recognition.

The explosion in popularity lasted for a few years, but by the mid-1990s the surge had subsided. The steroid scandal in 1992 had hit the industry, and professional wrestling was stagnant and watered down, with gimmicks and cartoonish ideas dominating the lineup. Sports entertainment leader WWE was almost complacent and Vince McMahon continued with the uninspired product, but WCW then emerged, threatening to serve the promotion at Stanford.

THE SPORTSTER VIDEO OF THE DAY

RELATED: Can The Monday Night Wars Actually Be Recreated?

The roots of the rivalry between two mega promotions can be traced back to the 1980s, and the hatred predates the creation of RAW and Nitro. Ted Turner and Vince McMahon harbored grudges against each other, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the two were able to compete with each other, with Nitro and RAW clashing in what is now known in the tradition of wrestling under the name Monday Night Wars.

The Monday night war will forever weigh on the fight

Both companies were adamant and ruthless in tearing themselves to pieces and as a result wrestling fans had the chance to experience the most entertaining two years in the company’s history. The Monday Night War spawned a number of megastars, with names like Steve Austin, The Rock, Goldberg and Sting becoming household favorites.

Additionally, popular wrestlers from the previous era, such as Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, were still able to compete, and as a result, the industry had an abundance of star power. In between the two shows, over 10 million viewers logged in to watch the wrestling, and for a while, wearing a Steve Austin shirt made you the cool kid of school. Frankly speaking, professional wrestling was the Call of Duty of the 1990s. Wrestling fans were spoiled and maybe far too.

Fans and pundits alike fondly remember the Monday Night War and the worship is well justified because the days were indeed great. At the same time, it is clear that the industry has suffered in the long run and will continue to do so as the shadow of monstrous success continues to loom.



The-Rock-v-Stone-Cold-Rebellion-2001-Cropped-1

In many ways, the Monday Night War was tantamount to the entire industry catching lightning in a bottle, a unique phenomenon that will never happen again. The company was teeming with unique talents and despite the chill period of previous years, professional wrestling was still a fairly recent addition to entertainment culture and so the novelty was still here.

Moreover, the internet was still in its infancy and kayfabe was alive and well, fueling another layer of speculation and keeping sensitive information secret. With all of these factors combined at the same time, the industry as a whole saw another massive surge in popularity, even surpassing that the company had garnered in the previous decade.

Much like the initial boom period, the magic of Monday Night Wars lasted for a few years, and after WCW’s demise the company entered another chill period, but fans found themselves with exaggerated expectations and the law persists to this day.

Each subsequent epoch is considered inferior and the aforementioned period is hailed as the pinnacle of the industry and fans will not settle for anything other than recreating the magic of Monday Night Wars. Therefore, anything in comparison is considered a trash with no ulterior motives.

RELATED: 5 Times WCW Shot WWE In The Monday Night War (& 5 Times WWE Did)

The Monday Night Wars were damaging in the sense that the entire period is now defined as the measuring stick and success has distorted the perception of what encompasses a good wrestling program. Since the majority of the programming was rated TV-14, fans today consider blood and swearing to be building blocks of a good wrestling program when in reality this opinion is far from the truth.

The Age Distorted Perception and Inflated Expectations



Vince McMahon vs. Eric Bischoff

These days, the majority of fans will settle for nothing less than Austin and the Rock in every segment, and nothing less than a bloodbath is blasted as poor entertainment. It might as well be the curse of the Monday Night Wars and instead of enjoying what is given to them, fans will still want the industry to catch the lightning in a bottle for the second time around.

Simply put, the Monday Night Wars were far too successful. The very essence of professional wrestling was redefined but in reality this type of programming was not sustainable in the long term. As previously stated, the stars had to align for the Monday Night War to work, and luckily it all happened at the right time and the industry peaked and then collapsed.

The expectations were exaggerated and will remain so forever, as the shadow of the successful period will automatically make everything else inferior. Finally, the era was so successful that it led to the shutdown of WCW, WWE’s main rival and an entertainment giant. It’s a shame however you look at it.


Goldberg in WCW and Eric Bischoff in WWE

Eric Bischoff reveals why he ended Goldberg’s WCW Championship run

“It was necessary, but I think we could have done a much better job.”

Read more


About the Author


Share.

Comments are closed.