JABRONI JOURNAL: Missing My Monday Night Channel Flipping

June 7, 2017

I took WCW for granted. 

Sixteen years ago (March 26th, 2001), WCW Nitro aired its final episode as WWE’s mastermind Vince McMahon appeared on a simulcast episode alongside his very own Monday Night Raw, announcing that he had purchased the company. 
While the popularity of WCW had been on a massive decline, as chronicled in the excellent book “The Death Of WCW,” there were still a solid several million people that would tune in every week. 

At the height of the “Monday Night Wars,” WCW was kicking the WWE’s collective ass. If it wasn’t for WCW pushing the ball forward with the N.W.O in 1996 and allowing wrestlers to blur the line between reality and storyline (and allowing wrestlers to use their real names, etc), the WWE would have never been forced to up the ante and go both guns blazing into the Attitude Era. With their backs to the wall, Vince McMahon pushed the boundaries and came back twice as hard

I get nostalgic when I think back to my pre-teen Monday night channel flipping sessions. Oh it’s a commercial? Check out what Nitro’s doing. Oh it’s a Lex Luger in ring promo? Flip over to see what DX is up to on Raw. It was this constant thirst to see what each company would do to outdo the other that forced both WCW and WWE to become better, stronger and at times more cut-throat. It was a great time to be a wrestling fan. 

WWE was the company that got me hooked on wrestling, but I had become pretty immersed in the N.W.O storyline and was all-in on the Sting “crow” character. Though I always considered Raw to be my A program on Mondays, I had a firm grasp on everything going on with my B show. I even attended a WCW live event in 1997 at the Key Arena where I got to see some of my favorite dudes from the N.W.O alongside an insanely packed undercard that featured Dean Malenko, Rey Mysterio Jr, Eddie Guerrero, Konan, Ultimo Dragon and Harlem Heat. 

With the privilege of the WWE Network now providing a hindsight view of WCW, I can’t say everything is as wonderful as I remember. Yes, there were some incredible matches, but I think the thing I miss most is the competition. With no other major company pushing them, WWE can be as complacent as they want to be. Wrestling addicts like can complain all we want, but the company knows if we want our wrestling fix week in and week out, there is no Monday night channel switching anymore.

I am fully aware of the insane amount of ALTERNATIVES out there: I watch PWG, Ring of Honor, Lucha Underground and try to stay current on Impact. I support independent wrestling on the local level through Defy and 3-2-1 Battle!, so don’t think I’m ignorant to the fact that there are many other amazing wrestling companies out there.

I guess I just long for a time when the two big companies pushed each other, where every little roster change felt dire, where each week it was can’t miss television. 

I took the competition for granted.