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The Death of WCW - Period.


nWoHulkster

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Интересно четиво...

Here's something that everybody needs to understand: before Monday Nitro started, WCW was already dead.

If everybody can get out of the wrestling bubble that most of us live in, try to look at Turner Network Programming from an outsider's, channel-surfing perspective. TNT and TBS are lousy networks. TBS had the Braves, and that's about it. Before The Closer started, TNT basically had nothing besides syndicated shows and Friday night spectaculars like "Die Hard", 8 pm to 10 pm, and 10 pm to 12. Outside of pro wrestling, did anyone reading this watch ANYTHING on TNT? They ended up having the NBA, but I'll get to that later.

So basically you have network executives that are paying for syndicated shows and producing no original programming. I don't know their names, but the heirarchy of the Turner networks started with an indifferent billionaire, Ted Turner, five guys beneath him (one of which was Brad Seagal) and then Eric Bischoff. This is the most important thing that everyone needs to know: those five guys NEVER wanted wrestling on TNT. Period. They never liked it. They were content with sticking wrestling on Saturday night at 6 o'clock, basically out of the way of everything. Think about that. Here's a product who's target market is the 18-34 year old demographic, and it's stuck in a spot where nobody really watches, AND IT STILL DID DECENT NUMBERS!

So Bischoff somehow gets a face to face with Ted Turner and convinces him that to compete with Vince he needs a live show head to head. So Ted Turner, with optimistic indifference, and because he liked rasslin', says "Sure." Hence, the start of The Monday Night Wars.

Now you've got to understand that through the growth of WCW over the next years, there really wasn't a lot of support given to the company by those five guys that never wanted it to begin with. The company was getting good ratings and living off the PPV and ad revenue. You would think we would have been given an art department and more people in marketing, right? Nope. No art department and a marketing department that consisted of TWO, count 'em, TWO people. Remember, they didn't want rasslin' on their network. So why bother helping it? Thunder then came along and WCW was growing; the highest rated show on cable tv. Bottom line, you have network executives who's expertise were buying Law and Order for a million bucks an episode and sticking it on tv 60 times a day.

That's all these guys knew. They weren't creative, and they basically didn't know how to help in the production of a highly rated live show. Seriously, if they would have given Bischoff the proper resources, they could have turned it into the wrestling network. They could have raided the WWF and gotten their top production guys and poured some money into it and made it work. At the time, wrestlings numbers on cable were as good as the NFL's. *Sigh*, but they didn't like wrestling. What a bunch of absolute imbeciles.

So they do eventually raid the WWE and got the writers, Russo and Ferrara. During this time WWE had started to beat us with The Attitude era, but we still did good numbers. WCW had a lot of high level contracts and was still relying on ppv and ad revenue. Business was dropping, but it wasn't like they couldn't have turned it around. They started CUTTING costs, instead of putting more money in to compete.

The problem with Russo and Ferrara wasn't that they couldn't write good tv; it's that they couldn't write tv without the WWE's production machine behind them. Russo had a lot of great ideas, but they cost money. WCW wasn't willing to spend it. Why? because the executives STILL didn't want wrestling on their network.

Everyone can point to David Arquette and whatever you think from a booking standpoint as to what killed WCW, but none of it means two shits in the big picture. WCW was systematically being shoved off the network. I know. I would sit in booking meetings and we would have 4 or 5 calls to our boss, Brad Seagal, that were never returned. I would be there in production meetings on show day when we're learning for the first time, after the show has been written, that costs had been cut, Hugh Morris had no pyro and they couldn't afford a limo for someone and had a bus instead.

The best part was that TNT was losing its ass on the NBA during this time. Put this in perspective. I'm not exactly sure of the numbers, but I believe that WCW lost 60 million bucks it's final year. The NBA on TNT lost 120 million in only six months, AND IT DREW HALF THE RATING OF WRESTLING! How in God's name can that show be allowed to stay on the air, but wrestling can't?

That should pretty much sum the whole thing up. If you've read what I've written here and understood it you would know that the people who killed WCW have never been seen by any of you before and you've probably never heard their names. But they did it. They let one of the highest rated shows on cable tv disappear, and consequently, the networks's ratings declined.

Here's the capper, Time Warner came along and they didn't want to spend the money to revitalize wrestling either. Time Warner - another well-managed corporation. Look and see how their stock price did over the years. Not surprising. So Time Warner decides to sell a company with a book value, I believe, of 30 million (not sure if that is accurate) for 2 million dollars. Brilliant. The best part is, if this is indeed true - and I've heard it is from sources - that the ppv revenues were back ended three months or so. So after Vince got WCW, three months later he got their ppv revenue. Vince Mcmahon bought WCW with their own money!

It's been awhile since I've divulged in this topic, so I'm not 100% sure of my accuracy, but hopefully you understand the crux of what I'm saying: that the reason WCW died was because of poor executive network management. Period!

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Наистина доста интересна статия.Phil,ти доста пъти си говорил за причините за упадъка на WCW,но тук е обяснено доста по подробно.Явно още когато компанията е сключила tv deal е била обречена.Тъпото е,че въпреки добрите рейтинги е нямало интерес към това да се дават пари за развитието на компанията.

Наистина жалко,но какво да се прави.Понякога нещата се случват и неможем да ги върнем обратно.

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Доста интересна статия на Disco Inferno. От това, което бях чел до момента, бях останал с впечатлението, че проблемите на WCW започват чак когато Time Warner и AOL се обединяват, но сега разбирам, че и преди това положението не е било никак розово. Мерси за статията, Phil.

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Доста интересна статия на Disco Inferno. От това, което бях чел до момента, бях останал с впечатлението, че проблемите на WCW започват чак когато Time Warner и AOL се обединяват, но сега разбирам, че и преди това положението не е било никак розово. Мерси за статията, Phil.

Обединението на Time Warner & AOL е последния пирон в ковчега и затова винаги се коментира най-много. Всъщност, то не точно самото обединение е такъв проблем колкото факта, че Ted Turner губи властта си и така единствения човек, който някога е искал WCW да бъде част от Time Warner вече не може да спре елиминирането на компанията. Има Ted Turner - има WCW, няма Ted Turner - няма WCW. Общо взето така стоят нещата.

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Много добра статия.Някой от тези неща са обяснени в едно документално филмче WWE vs WCW - The Monday Night Wars

но сигурно вече сте го гледали.Може да си го изтеглите от тук http://www.xtremewrestlingtorrents.net/details.php?id=26301

Бил съм на 11 когато компанията е престанала да съществува но се чудя ако ония от кабеларките не бяха направили

тези гупости каква ли щеше да е днес?

Edited by wwz
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Shawn_Michaels

Съгласен съм с твърденията,но причината за падението не е само една,а куп от такива.

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"Doin' what I want to do, When I want to do it."

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WCW след като е купено от Търнър продължава да бъде зле, както си е било и преди това - губели са пари и то доста. После на Бишов му дават големи правомощия и той ги издига от губеща компания, до най-добрата в света, макар и за кратко. Мисля, че са правели към 450 милиона на година, ама говоря наизуст. После отгоре са решили да издоят и последните пари от нещо, което им струва евтино и прави доста добри печалби и така са го загробили. Мисля, че Бишов се е опитал да го купи накрая, обаче не му дали телевизионно време и умряла работата. Тъжна история. Диско говори малко ядосано, меж би защото е бил забутан в мидкарда цял живот, но повечето е истина...

 

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  • 1 year later...
wcw_nostalgia

Да plug-на и аз нещо. Всичко за сделката според книгата на Bischoff.

Dialing for Dollers

False Start

I didn’t have the resources to buy WCW myself, but I was sure I could find the money. I picked up the phone and called a couple of people who I thought might be interested.

Peter Gruber at Mandalay Entertainment was one. Peter had been the former chairman and CEO at Sony Pictures. He was a pretty impressive dude. Mandalay was producing some high-budget movies that were doing very well. They also owned a bunch of baseball teams. They were well respected in the entertainment business and had a lot of bread.

I had a pretty good working relationship with Peter. My friend Jason Hervey was also working with him at the time, so it was easy to get a meeting. But Peter likes to do deals that are lopsided and aggressive. He also doesn’t like to use his own money to do anything. It became obvious that he wouldn’t mind being involved, but

he wasn’t going to step up in a substantial way to make it happen. So I started looking around for other people.

The Package

Jason told me about a guy named Brian Bedol who headed Fusient Media Ventures. Brian and his partner, Steve Greenberg, had spent years acquiring old footage of sports events. They spent a lot of time aggregating old video that no one thought had much value. Then they used it to launch the Classic Sports Network, then subsequently sold the network to ESPN. You know it today as ESPN Classic.

Jason got me Brian’s number. I called him and told him about the opportunity with WCW.

He immediately got his partner on the phone, and I walked them through a potential deal. “Great,” they told me. “Come on out to New York and let’s talk.”

They decided they wanted to take a run at it. Our arrangement called for me to own part of the company. I would run the wrestling and TV side, leaving Brian to handle the business side. He was far more qualified there than I was.

Brian and Steve were part of Allen & Company, a venture capital company, so we brought them in. We made a presentation to Warburg Pinkus, another venture capital firm. In the end, we had a package worth $67 million.

Start by Closing the Doors

While Brian negotiated the deal with Turner Broadcasting, I worked on developing the go-forward strategy. The first thing we would do, I decided, was shut the company down.

The WCW brand had been dragged through the mud for so long that it had to die and be reborn if it was going to be worth anything. It had to go away and then come back looking and feeling completely different. Otherwise the audience wouldn’t give it a chance. Gradual change wouldn’t have worked, because it would never feel different enough for the audience to give it a chance.

We planned to keep it off the air for a period of time, rebuild it creatively, then launch it with a fair amount of fanfare. It would be kind of like a re–grand opening. That was the only way we’d get the audience to sample us.

No More House Shows

One of the other strategies was to shut down the live event business. Just as in 1994, the live event business was way, way down. I knew that we couldn’t tour successfully until we built the brand back up. And since it was bleeding money, it wasn’t a very hard decision.

We also agreed that it was critically important that, for a year to eighteen months, we cut down on television production costs. That meant doing the shows at the same location, giving us a base to work at week after week.

I had some relationships at the Hard Rock Café in Vegas. Brian had some relationships there as well. So we started talking to them about building a small arena on top of one of their parking decks. The arena would be WCW’s new home.

Hard Rock was a hip, pop-culture place to be, and we’d gain from the cobranding. Vegas being Vegas, we knew we could always get an audience. In the short run, it would be a great situation for us.

Take Two

WWE’s Offer

WWE made some inquiries about buying WCW, which gave Turner a second possible buyer. We weren’t worried about the competition, until Brian uncovered some pretty “creative” bookkeeping (a couple of years later the SEC found AOL’s accounting a little too creative as well, and laid a pretty heavy fine on the conglomerate). That made us revise our initial offer, which gave Brad Siegel an opportunity to pursue WWE’s inquiries. We backed out.

I was disappointed. We had spent a fair amount of time and a lot of money, and for them to shop it without trying to renegotiate the deal felt pretty sleazy. But there was nothing I could do about it.

WWE pursued a deal, and in fact got pretty close to buying WCW in the fall of 2000. Vince McMahon got a call from Viacom, with whom he’d recently entered into a comprehensive, long-term deal. Basically, they told him that there was no way they were going to let him buy WCW and air what would then be his show on a rival network. He had to back out of the deal, though I didn’t know that until I got a phone call from Brad Siegel.

“Hey, Eric, you think you can put that deal back together again?”

“Hey, Brad—fuck you.”

Silence.

“Brad, if I do put this back together, will you guys act in good faith? Because if you do, then I think I can. But I don’t want to get these guys back to the plate if you’re using us to leverage a better deal.”

He gave me his word that wasn’t the case.

I called up Brian, and asked whether we should pick the ball back up and run with it.

Fusient wasn’t thrilled. They weren’t convinced that Brad and the rest of AOL Time Warner were operating in good faith. But Brian gave Brad a call and convinced himself. We began renegotiating the deal.

Clean Sweep

By that time, Vince Russo had left WCW for good. There were some decent human beings left at WCW, though they were struggling under all of the old constraints and dealing with poor morale as well.

Ed Ferrara had come in with Vince Russo to help write the shows. Ed was an okay guy, and a real writer. He’d done some feature films and understood television. He understood wrestling and was a good guy to work with.

There were others at WCW who weren’t. It seemed to me that the only qualification anyone needed to get a job there was to stand up and say, “I watch wrestling on TV every week and I love it.” In Brad’s mind, that qualified you to play a major role in running the company.

Terry Taylor was there, and a guy named Bill Banks who in my opinion was the most underwhelming person I’d ever met, creatively speaking. There was a guy named Aaron Blitzstein who was, for reasons I couldn’t understand after meeting him, supposed to oversee branding and marketing. For the most part, I had a collection of underqualified misfits. Miraculously, Sharon Sidello and Gary Juster were still there. I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice when it came to them.

Brian suggested we sit down and talk about whom we wanted to keep. “We can do that on the phone. And you won’t run up much of a phone bill.”

The people there were part of the problem; they were never going to be part of the solution. It was better to just start all over. Brian was very hesitant to take that position until he went to Atlanta and met some of them. Then he called me and said, “Okay, you’re right. We’re going to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch.”

A Done Deal

The deal was announced in January. We had a signed letter of intent. We met with the employees. We held a press conference. We had a call with Wall Street. It was a done deal.

We spent the next month or two working out the mountain of legal and business details involved in the sale. The closing was set

for sometime in April or May. In the meantime, Brad arranged for me to work behind the scenes so that we could position the creative for the eventual takeover.

I told my wife that when the deal finalized, my life would change dramatically. It would be back to the way things were in 1995 and 1996; there wouldn’t be a lot of family time, or even the opportunity to take a vacation for quite a while. We decided to take advantage of the kids’ spring break for one last splurge. We booked flights to Hawaii. I told each of my kids they could bring one friend. My wife and I even planned to renew our wedding vows there, and invited some friends from Japan to meet us. I took everybody out there, and we had a great, great time. Life was really, really good.

I was excited again. I believed our strategy would work. WCW was going to be a successful franchise once more. I had the support of the important wrestlers. Brian Bedol and his partner had the horsepower and business acumen to help us achieve great things. Everybody was locking arms and stepping up to the plate to go forward.

It’s Over

Three or four days after we got to Hawaii, I went down to the beach with my wife. While I was there, I got a phone call from Brian Bedol.

“Eric, it’s over.”

“Great, deal’s closed. Finally.”

“No, you don’t understand. The deal’s not going to happen. It’s off the table. Over.”

Shock doesn’t begin to cover what I felt.

Kellner Kills It

Jamie Kellner killed the deal.

Kellner, who had formerly run the WB Network, had just taken over TBS and TNT. I assume—I’ve never spoken to Kellner about

it—that when he got there he said, “Show me all the deals that are pending.” Our deal would have been at the top of the list.

The deal called for us to acquire copyrights, trademarks, assets, all the things that would normally go along with an acquisition. But the most important part of the deal was a ten-year broadcast window at TBS. The window gave us four hours a week, for both Thunder and Nitro. We controlled the inventory—meaning that we got the revenues from the commercials during that time.

Kellner said he didn’t mind selling WCW, but he didn’t want wrestling on his networks. He took the distribution element out of the agreement, eliminating the broadcast window.

That took the deal from something worth roughly $67 million to something worth $67.

Maybe.

It made absolutely no sense for us to do the deal under those circumstances.

WWE Swoops In

I had been talking to Peter Ligouri at Fox during the months leading up to the closing of the acquisition about airing one of our shows on FX. They wanted Nitro; I wanted to give them Thunder. In any event, we intended on flipping one of them over. Even though Nitro and Thunder had fallen from the ratings heights they’d been at a few years before, their numbers were still pretty good for cable shows. But Fox wasn’t interested in giving us the kind of commitment we would have needed to resuscitate the deal. Our deal was dead.

That left Vince McMahon and WWE. Now that there was no broadcasting involved, Viacom no longer had any objections. So Vince bought what was left—basically, the copyrights and video library. I’m sure whatever he paid, it was worth it in the end.

For me, it was a long flight home from Hawaii

[color="#708090"]After all, kid, it's ALL in the presentation...[/color]

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