November 21, 1988- A growing independent promotion is bought by a corporation and is renamed in the process.
March 26, 2001- A corporation-owned wrestling promotion signs off for the last time, having been purchased for 4.2 million dollars by a larger promotion.
For those of you who have no clue, this is the epitaph of World Championship Wrestling. That's the total length of time WCW existed.....13 years. Some of the WWE fanboys will tell you that TNA is in the same state WCW was when it was bought by Vince McMahon.....nothing could be further from the truth. The facts are far more convincing than a lie would be.....
1. When Time/Warner and AOL merged, Ted Turner, who had been a huge supporter of WCW in those days was suddenly without authority of the networks bearing his namesake. TBS, TNT, and others were no longer his domain to rule as he pleased. Replacing him, a panel of people who looked upon professional wrestling with distain and had no intention of letting it stick around.
Contrast that with TNA, whose contract with Spike is a wonderful arrangement, allowing for stars from other shows on the network as well as MMA fighters who are trying to gain notoriety a way to get a spotlight in preparations for their debuts. Spike has been VERY supportive of TNA's initiative to grow and expand where it fits the bottom line.
2. Near the end of WCW's run, some bad decisions were made, allowing Kevin Nash to book matches, tinker with storylines, and ruin pushes and opportunities that had been laid out carefully beforehand. It wasn't only Nash, either. A great deal of the problem was a "creative control" clause written into the contracts of some choice talents, not the least of which was Hulk Hogan. This allowed a person under the clause to rewrite his own actions that were to appear on camera. This made headaches for the writers, producers and everyone under the chain of command.
Nearly every promotion learned a valuable lesson from WCW's demise. And even though there are no creative clauses in TNA, talents and writers collaborate often and it allows for more freedom in the way their shows are put together. No move bans, very few scripts, and a helm more concerned with fan support than trying to please the shareholders. Since TNA isn't a publicly traded commodity, there is no pressure to please a board of trustees, as it were.
3. WCW grew too quickly and, in turn, ate up the profits they were pulling down.
TNA is being much more careful that they don't grow so fast and forget what brought them the popularity they enjoy......the fans. TNA is more cost efficient and streamlined, perhaps to a fault, in some cases.
My point in writing this is that if anyone is like WCW, it's WWE right now. With John Cena, Randy Orton, and others as placeholders in the main event, they sabotage; they begin rumors; they outright lie to keep their top spot. Compoundly, fans are beginning to see through it. With attendance numbers and viewing numbers lower than they've been in a decade, it seems clear to me, at least, that the giant is on the decline while TNA, the 10 year old Nashville grassroots company is on par to outlive its predecessor.