I'm sure this has been asked in some version before, but I can't for the life of me recall any substantive discussion, so –
If WWF's Hail Mary pass in 1997-98 hadn't come off, and they'd folded, what do you think would have happened with WCW over the next five or so years? Would they have become the sole wrestling superpower? Would the AOL merger still have had the same devastating
effect? Would various 'because WCW' blunders have cratered the company?
I think we've talked about this at various times before, but WCW still would have cratered in 2001, I'm pretty sure. It was a wholly external decision from the network. Now, this also assumes that they would have put Vince out of business, which isn't a sure thing by a longshot. Losing USA (like was rumored heavily at the time) would have been a headshot, but he still had syndication deals at that time and probably enough capital to keep the company going long enough to survive in a downsized state. Also, if they died completely and everyone either went to WCW or became free agents, there would be so much talent floating around that Vince would likely be able to regroup and start a new promotion once TNT/TBS cancelled WCW in 2001. I just don't think you could keep Vince away from the business unless he was actually dead. And even then…