Sale Of WCW In 2001


> When Turner cancelled all WCW programming
> before it was purchased by the WWE in early 2001, did
> Fusient Media pulling out as a buyer help to fuel that
> decision, or did it have nothing to do with it? Thanks.


​You have it backwards. Fusient pulled out because TBS/TNT cancelled the shows, not the other way around. The WCW properties were worthless without TV. And the cancellations had nothing to do with the sale or financial state of the company, it was just a decision based on Turner networks wanting to move in a different direction with the stations, which no longer included wrestling. ​WCW was still pulling very respectable ratings for a cable show even at the end and could have easily been cut to the bone to save money without needing to kill it off.

  • y2j420

    No, it needed to die…and it died in the best way possible..with the Simulcast…

    • WCW was getting ready for a total reboot under Bischoff/Fusient. Frankly, considering how awful the mid-2000’s into the 2010’s were without any legitimate competition, I personally would have loved for WCW to stick around in some shape or form. The death of that company did nobody any favors.

    • JAWAS ♥ SMOAK

      No it didn’t, and the on-air product was turning a corner using some younger talent. They did a good job feeding stars to Scott Steiner to get him over as a threat. I much rather would have had Bischoff’s WCW than TNa, that’s for damn sure. Hell, AJ Styles was already there!

  • MattMoores1982

    It could have been saved, but it would have taken a huge effort on the part of Eric Bischoff and Fusient, and it would have probably taken years to turn it around. If they could have put out a good product on a consistent basis and survived until TV rights fees became a major source of revenue, they would have probably been fine and profitable for years to come.

    • Six Star TatR!

      I think it’s best bet would have just been the cycle that came to an end. Vince letting his stale names go, and them finding a second life in WCW, boosting their business while Vince creates new stars. Instead the stale names just stayed in WWE forever.

  • Adam Wright

    One thing i have never seen discussed is what happened to all the other tv & PPV contracts WCW had. When they died they were being broadcast in numerous countries worldwide so they would have had contracts with companies other than those owned by TimeWarner.

    As we’ve seen with TNA having to produce the “One Night Only” PPVs it’s not easy to come out of those contracts.

    So did TimeWarner break all those contracts and pay the associated penalties/fees before selling to the WWF or did the WWF tka eon some of those contracts themselves?

    • ILikeNeville

      Great question!

    • Stan Ford

      I would assume TW/AOL ate the penalties as the cost of doing business. It’s somewhat paradoxical, but the more money you’re dealing with, the easier it is to make money disappear.

      Besides, AOL/TW had no desire to remain in the wrestling business, especially with a failing brand that was increasingly being perceived as hopelessly second rate.

      If you subscribe to the theory that Brad Siegel killed WCW and sold it to Vince for peanuts as a favor for his BFF Stu Snyder (WWF COO at the time), it makes sense.

      • Comdukakis

        I do think that’s a heck of a theory. Even without the TV slot I think someone else might have been willing to pay more than WWE and then try to hustle up a slot.

        • Stan Ford

          You’d need to find a HUGE mark to take that bet, though.

          I mean, WCW was running few/no house shows at the end, merch was in the toilet, the video games were trash, pay per views were nearly flatlining, etc. Nitro pulling down a respectable weekly rating in a profitable demographic was the only thing WCW could point to as a positive business indicator. Without that, you just have a giant open wound pouring cash.

          • Comdukakis

            I think TNA has proven that there are certainly huge marks out there. And at least WCW had an established name

    • The G*d D*mn John Petrie

      I’m not sure if WCW itself or if the larger corporation was responsible for those foreign deals. Once Turner bought WCW the entire structure of how the company was handled became very convoluted. They were ostensibly under the umbrella of Turner’s sports division, yet PPV and home video fell under other departments.

      Given the time of year it happened it’s possible the company didn’t even have many international commitments lined up, as they’d have just been made a couple months prior, during the period the company was actively for sale. Any new deals made would likely have transferred along to the WWF in the purchase.

      On the other hand any foreign deals to air Nitro or Thunder, were there any, would probably have to be made up by the Turner people.

      My guess is since we’ve never heard about it that it was a minor issue for whoever had to deal with it. It is an interesting question though.

    • LiquidDisc37

      I can’t say for certain why it was shitcanned (contract could’ve expired due to natural causes) but Channel 5 in the UK stopped broadcasting WCW way in advance of WCW actually dying.

  • Donald Theriault

    Basically, Jamie Kellner is an asshole.

    • Comdukakis

      yeah how dare he do what is best for his network and not cater to wrestling fans who historically don’t stick around for other programs on the network, don’t have the demographics to get good advertising dollars, and have a stigma that lowers the prestige of the entire network.

    • Ary Rosenbaum

      I thought he was nuts when he killed the shows, but in hindsight, he was right

  • Devin Harris

    I haven’t had cable in years. The new gym I attend has tbs on one of the televisions. They are serious about not attracting southerners or black people.

    • flamingtoilet

      Hit shows like Conan, Seinfeld, American Dad, Family Guy, Friends, Big Bang Theory, and Two Broke Girls… I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t be popular with those demographics.

      • Comdukakis

        they did show a bunch of Tyler Perry movies this weekend.

    • Pete Labozetta

      They had that Tyler Perry show(s?) but I don’t think it’s on anymore.

      • Devin Harris

        Yeah they got rid of all of that. I couldn’t really name their new shows. I’m not even sure if anyone even watches

  • And A Diddly New Year

    I remember reading somewhere that some of Bischoff and Fusient’s ideas for relaunching WCW included taping TV shows in theme parks and holding weekly PPVs. It was pretty interesting.

    • justicegris

      Wonder if that’s where Jarrett got some of his initial ideas for TNA from.

  • IIRC, Fusient announced a deal in principle, got a severe case of cold feet when they got a true look at the financials, and then completely lost interest when AOL Time Warner decreed that they would no longer air wrestling programming.

    It’s always going to be a case of “What if….” Like if they had secured the deal in early March and had the TV timeslot guaranteed for five or ten years. But it sounds like Fusient weren’t your typical wrestling money marks *cough* Anthem *cough*.

    • Stan Ford

      Bischoff’s story is that they had a signed deal memo, but when AOL/TW killed the TV slots, Fusient’s backers pulled out because a pro wrestling promotion with no TV is worthless.

    • Comdukakis

      I’ve never heard that Fusient got cold feet before the time slot got pulled.

    • Ary Rosenbaum

      Fusient was going to do the deal until Jamie Keliher canceled the TV slots

  • flamingtoilet

    Just imagine a WCW where guys like AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels who’d just made their debuts at the end eventually rose to the top instead of TNA.

  • tannerfamilyfun92

    Global Force Wrestling demonstrates how valuable a “major” promotion is without a TV deal: absolutely worthless

    • Nick Saikley

      Replace “without a TV deal” with “with Jeff Jarrett”.

  • BODConscience

    If they were still doing good ratings then why didn’t fusient take WCW somewhere else? Or was that just a huge hassle? That’s one I never understood.

    • Stan Ford

      They couldn’t take WCW anywhere until they owned it.

      • BODConscience

        After they owned it. That… that was kind of implied.

        • Stan Ford

          Well, Bischoff said there were very preliminary talks with FX (I believe), but it never got off the ground because it’s hard to sell something you don’t own.

          The plan was to leave Turner completely, TV and all, but the cancellations fucked it up. For what it’s worth, Bischoff takes full responsibility for not demanding guaranteed TV time slots during the negotiations.

        • Telthorst

          Because the existing TV deal was a huge part of the attractiveness of the asset. Without that, you have bunch of wrestlers and the brand name “WCW”. Fusient didn’t want to do the leg work to sell new TV networks on wrestling; they wanted to work within an existing framework of success. Also, all the big names who might have helped land another TV deal (Hogan, Hall, Nash, Flair, Steiner, Goldberg, Sting, Luger) would have still been wrapped up in their TimeWarner contracts.

    • You pay $60 million when the TV contract is thrown in. When it’s not, what’s it really worth? Even WWE couldn’t get a WCW slot after they had bought it, and they tried. If they couldn’t do it, Fusient probably couldn’t have, either.

    • Comdukakis

      There’s a reason AOL/Time Warner kicked WCW off the air. At the time the peak of the MNW era had hit and was headed downwards. the stigma of wrestling both limited advertisers and got lower rates. AND you had the PTC and other groups complaining about content. Jamie Kellner, who came in to head programming, wanted TNT to be more upscale. And history shows he nailed it. TNT had a long period of quality dramas, while TBS has managed to rebrand itself as first a place for comedy reruns, and now a place for both comedy reruns and original shows. While wrestling may bring ratings, the advertising dollars have never equaled what a similarly rated show gets and it brings down the prestige of the overall network. Now WE may find this crazy, but it’s reality.

      Now as far as another network, Heyman was already frantically trying to find a home for ECW. he found the options pretty slim. Foxsports was willing to give them a home on the sportschannel but wanted 5 days a week, 30 minute shows, which was not conducive to how Heyman booked nor the ability to focus on more than one match or angle per show. I’m sure Bischoff ran into some of the same issues. Rumors were that FX might be interested but FX at this point was hardly a top of the line cable network and I’m quite sure the money they offered WCW was less than what production costs and salaries would barring a massive bloodletting and having guys on a pay per appearance deal or using the next generation of talent. either way if they did go with this model we know what would happen next: Anyone who got over or looked decent would get snapped up by WWE.

      • Ary Rosenbaum

        Exactly. Wrestling had good wrestlings for cable, but not the demographic or the product that large national advertisers wanted to asscosite with. I’m the Attitude days, who did the WWE have? Five Hour Energy? Once Turner killed the slots on TV, there was no value in WCW. McMahon wanted to run WCW as a separate brand and couldn’t find a slot on TNN.

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