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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

The Ten Count 1.18.14: The Top 10 WCW PPVs
Posted by Evan Daniels on 01.18.2014

Welcome back to the Ten Count. As always, thank you for reading last week's column. And here we go…

Who Will Become the 4th Horsemen:

This was on my original list and probably belongs in the Top 10. It was one of those turns that had such a slow burn and a ton of foreshadowing. Once Ric Flair started talking about Windham being the 4th horsemen you just knew it had to happen. The match itself was very good and the reasoning for his turn was well thought out.

Steve Austin's Heel Turn:

I know that a lot of people in the comment section brought this one up and I can tell you it wasn't on my initial list. While it was shocking and relatively well executed on that night it just felt like it lost a ton of momentum afterwards and led the slow decline in ratings and box office. Steve Austin himself has said that it was a bad turn at the time so I didn't put it on the list.

Everybody Turns on Hulk Hogan:

I didn't even think of this turn when I was making the list. It did lead to big, BIG box office results but in reality didn't all turns on Hogan do that. It just did not cross my mind and probably wouldn't have made the list anyways. That was probably too dismissive but just one man's opinion.

I really enjoyed the discussion between Jay and Amsonite in the comments section so I wanted to add a little something:

Here is some real data:

Year Total Revenue Profit/Loss
94-95 $87,352,000 -$4,431,000
95-96 $85,815,000 $3,319,000
96-97 $81,863,000 $6,505,000
97-98 $126,231,000 $8,466,000
98-99 $251,474,000 $56,030,000
99-00 $373,100,000 $68,937,000
00-01 $456,043,000 $15,987,000*
01-02 $409,622,000 $42,233,000**
02-03 $374,264,000 -$19,455,000***
03-04 $374,909,000 $48,192,000
04-05 $366,431,000 $39,147,000****
05-06 $400,051,000 $47,047,000*****
'06 $262,937,000 $31,617,000******
'07 $485,700,000 $52,137,000*******
'08 $526,457,000 $45,416,000
'09 $475,161,000 $50,303,000
'10 $477,655,000 $53,452,000
'11 $483,921,000 $24,832,000*******

* Wrestling profit was $84,981,000, but WWE's share of the 50% of the XFL losses (the other 50% was covered by NBC) was $68,994,000
** Wrestling profit was $42,498,000; also figured in was a tax break of $4,638,000 for shutting down the XFL; offset by $4,903,000 in losses for the year from the operation and closing of The World Restaurant
*** Wrestling profit was $16,362,000; offset by losses of $35,557,000 through operation and closing of The World Restaurant.
**** Wrestling profit was $37,778,000; also figured in was a tax break of $1,369,000 for shutting down The World Restaurant; Not figured into the bottom line were $28,340,000 in expenses on producing two movies and $8,078,000 in other expenses and liabilities amortized over time
***** Not figured into the bottom line were $7,323,000 in expenses on early production costs of one movie
****** An eight-month fiscal year total. For a comparison, prorated over 12 months, the revenues would figure to be $394,405,500 and profits at of $47,425,500, so numbers were equivalent to the prior year, but without a Wrestlemania figured in. The figure doesn't include $17,466,000 in costs of one movie and $2,726,000 in costs of purchasing videotape libraries.
*******Does include $16,000,000 in profits and movies "The Marine" and "See No Evil" and $15,700,000 in losses for "The Condemned."
*******Includes $23,400,000 in losses in the movie division and $4,000,000 in start-up costs for the new WWE Network.

source: The Wrestling Observer Newsletter

It looks like to me the most profitable period in terms of wrestling was 2000-2001 in terms of profit and revenue when you take into account inflation. It is just like a company saying that they make more Net Earnings after OSG&A today than they did 10 years ago and not figuring inflation into the mix.

The company is still doing quite well not that they are starting to refocus on the "sports entertainment" piece of the business and less on movies and the like. I think that 2014 is not going to be a good year for WWE as the cost of the network and the decreasing revenue stream from PPVs and DVD sales are shown. The upside will be the new TV rights deal and the increasing numbers of people subscribing to the WWE Network.

The real question I would like to know the answer to is, how much money did WWE make in let's say 1987 or 1989? I think that with inflation included the "Rock ‘n Wrestling" period might be the most profitable.

Good discussion on the boards and it was really enjoyable to follow.

Jake Roberts is a Scary MFer: "Reach out for me Warrior...I'm a Snake. NEVER trust a Snake."

Damn, that whole angle in 1991 gave me nightmares and proved that Jake Roberts was an evil genius, emphasis on evil.

MY THOUGHT: Jake Roberts legitimately scared me as a child. I didn't want to see him lose. I just didn't want to see the good guy get killed. Imagine 1991 Jake Roberts with his head screwed on "right" in 1998-2001 WWE. That would have been amazing.

Austin + Angle + Vince = Hilarity: Angle and Austin were comedy GOLD that whole Summer. They flat out owned one episode of Smackdown where Austin/Angle played guitar and Austin kept repeating everything Vince said after gathering the 5-man team for Invasion. The "we don't need know stinking badges," the awkward Vince McMahon hugs...there's no way that heel turn sucked if you were watching week-to-week then.

MY THOUGHT: I was more of a fan of the tiny hats they wore one week. The problem with it was that no one really hated Steve Austin. Tough to be a great heel when more than half the crowd still likes you.

Bruce Hart vs. Bret Hart at WrestleMania X: Although it may not have been among the most significant in the long run, I'd go with Owen Hart as the most well-executed heel turn. It was a perfect example of laying down the foundation in late 93 and then having the payoff at the right moment. Plus, it had the added bonus of the heel being justified in his actions, but taking it a step too far

MY THOUGHT: I just listened to the Talk is Jericho podcast with Bret Hart (one of the great things about being an analyst for a career is that you have lots of time to listen to podcasts at work) and it was supposed to be Bruce Hart in the Owen Hart spot. Just think about that for a minute or 2. That steroid trial really screwed with the WWE, big time.

The Heyday of ECW: The one I was always partial to was Rick Rude turning on Sandman & Dreamer in August 1997 during the WWE Invasion angle. It was a great build with him trying to tear down the Triple Threat when he debuted, and led to one of the worst beatings in the history of ECW. Every major player in ECW at the time--with the exception of the Dudleys and the Gangstas--got involved in the segment, and was intertwined in the angle by the close of it in the fall of 97. (Raven had moved onto WCW by June.)

MY THOUGHT: I loved ECW back in 1997. I used to watch ECW on a little TV at 2am while I was a freshman in college in 1996. Amazingly, I was awake at that time. Actually it wasn't, I think I was up until 4am every night that year. I was mostly in the room across the hall from me. I was sooo in love with the girl in that room. Hopefully she doesn't read this

And Finally, an Offer to Good to Refuse: Could we maybe just send nominations for NXT matches for you to watch and then compile a list of? You get to watch awesome matches and NXT gets its due credit, Win-Win!

MY THOUGHT: I'm IN! Send them along, with links if you can and I'll rank them.

Let's Go Back Together to 1982: Actually, the turn didn't happen then, it happened after Michael told Kerry to cover him and Kerry would not because it was The "Texas thing to do" Michael Hayes threw Kerry onto Flair's body and Kerry quickly got up then Terry Gordy who was the keeper of the cage said "Screw it Michael, lets go" and as Michael was leaving Kerry kinda said something to him and then Flair got up behind Kerry kneed him in the back which knocked Kerry into Michael which knocked Michael out of the cage, and when Michael got up and looked up there was Kerry and Flair was out of the scene, so Michael's assumption was Kerry just hit him from behind then that was the sense for Terry to grab that cage door slam it on Kerry's head, and as they say the rest was history.

CORRECTION: This is much more accurate as my write-up was a cliff notes version. I write a lot of words each week and I don't want to bore you guys too much.

Maybe Not Quite A Correction, but Some Thoughts on Bret Hart's Turn: Another minor gripe: Bret Hart's 1997 heel turn. How does it qualify when WWE were getting their ass kicked every Monday night? Box Office success shouldn't be on the criteria.

CORRECTION: As shown above, 1997 was the springboard for the huge 1998 the WWE had. I think Bret Hart's turn and the subsequent ascension of Steve Austin made this happen. Not box office right away, but led to the biggest era in wrestling.

Another week and still no head coach. It is starting to get embarrassing for the Browns and this coaching search. I can't even type about it that much. Why would you fire your coach when there is no one else out there that you can get and you are rebuilding your team???? Just a horrible situation at this point.

  • I will say that this week's game were not quite as good as last week's games.
  • What a great game plan by the Patriots! I can't believe they had 6 rushing TDs. 6. Very impressive.
  • How many of you were waiting for Peyton Manning to screw something up in the 4th quarter? They survived the Chargers at home and now have to play the Pats. Tough.
  • How good do the 49ers and the Seahawks look? I think they would both be the favorites if they were in the Super Bowl.

    And now, let's take a look at my picks from last week:

  • NO/SEA, take NO +7.5 and under 46 {If you bet it later in the week you win with the points, 1-1}
  • INDY/NE, take NE -7 (buy a hook if you can) and over 53 {Nailed it, 2-0}
  • SF/CAR, take SF +1 and under 42 {Nailed it, 2-0}
  • SD/DEN, take SD +9.5 (buy that hook if you can) and under 55 {Nailed it, 2-0}

    That's right bitches, 7-1!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't think I have had that good of a gambling week in a long time. 10-5-1 for the playoffs so that only means 1 thing…..run away from these picks quickly.

  • NE/DEN, take NE +4.5 and the over 56
  • SF/SEA, take SEA -3 and the over 39.5

    Soooo, yeah….about that Daniel Bryan heel turn, it seemed to end quite quickly. Or did it???

    My thought is that it is over and the idea was just to get Bray Wyatt in a cage and be able to beat the tar out of him. That is the sports entertainment storyline aspect of this turn but it was a little deeper.

    The office in my eyes wanted to see if the crowd would stay behind Daniel Bryan or would the crowd just start booing him. If the crowd was booing then they knew it wasn't about Daniel Bryan it was about the people he was in the ring with. If you continue to cheer someone after they turn heel, maybe the audience is just behind that guy. The crowd reaction on Monday night was amazing and might have been the loudest I have seen a crowd behind someone since Money in the Bank 2011 in Chicago. Just craziness and if the WWE doesn't put Daniel Bryan in the main event at WrestleMania they are just insane and obviously don't like money.

     photo TenCount_zps6b46e6e2.png

    Here are the Ground Rules
  • The PPV event had to take place as part of WCW or the NWA (Starrcade 1987 forward)
  • I know it is not WCW per se, but there were only a handful of non-WCW PPVs.

    AND NOW *The Top 10 WCW Pay-Per-Views *

    #10. {Starrcade 1995}

    The idea behind this event was the World Cup of Wrestling, WCW vs. New Japan Pro Wrestling. This was a 7 match tournament with top stars from both companies. It was original and really enjoyable as it gave me an opportunity to see many different stars that I had never seen before. WCW ended up winning the tournament 4-3 after Sting defeated Kensuke Sasaki for the World Cup. More importantly during the tournament was a great match between Eddy Guerrero and Shinjiro Otani that in my opinion put Eddy on the map in WCW. It also had the 12th world title win for Ric Flair after a very good triangle match with Flair, Luger, and Sting.

    #9. {SuperBrawl 1}

    SuperBrawl 1 contains one of my favorite matches of all time Sting and Lex Luger vs. The Steiner Brothers for the World Tag Team Championship. It doesn't stop there as there were a high number of underrated matches on the card. I thought the cage match between Simmons and Reed was a nice way to end Doom. It also had the great taped fist match with Barry Windham and Flyin' Brian. Also, the Bobby Eaton/Arn Anderson match might be one of the best TV Title matches I have ever seen. To think that these 2 guys were considered just tag team wrestlers and they put on that good of a match. Finally, it had the debut of OZ so you can't say anything bad about that….right?

    #8. {Halloween Havoc 1989}

    I would like to start with how awesome the Philadelphia crowd was on this night. They turned on the Dynamic Dudes like it was nothing. Man, did that crowd boo the hell out of that team and loved the Freebirds. It also contained quite possibly the best singles match in Lex Luger's career not against someone named Ric Flair. Brian Pillman and Lex Luger had a tremendous match for the US Title that night. Of course, everyone remembers the Thunderdome Cage Match between Terry Funk and The Great Muta vs. Ric Flair and Sting. I remember the 1st time I saw the match in its entirety during the old WCW All Nighter back in 1994. This show was a really good follow up to another really good PPV.

    #7. {WrestleWar 1990}

    It was supposed to be the night that Sting won the NWA title but after hurting his knee that shot went over to Lex Luger. The Flair/Luger match on this night was the best match they ever had. It was a 40 minute masterpiece that both men should have been very proud of. I also really enjoyed the Midnight Express vs. Rock and Roll Express match and it was their last really big match after all those years. The Andersons and the Steiners was excellent as well. All of that, plus the great commentary skills of Terry Funk which are very underrated to me as well. Funk was gold on the microphone even on commentary.

    #6. {Bash at the Beach 1996}

    Okay, I know that everyone knows about the ending of the event. Yes, this was the genesis of the New World Order but there was a great card around that huge moment. It also started with a GREAT match between Rey Mysterio, Jr and Psychosis. As someone who didn't see their ECW matches this was really new and exciting to watch. I know now that the match was mostly the high spots from their previous matches but I didn't know it then. Ric Flair also won the US Title another a great interview with Mean Gene. I miss those as Mean Gene, Flair, and the girls' interviews oh so much. At the end of the day, this show is really all about the final match and interview but the build that night was restaurant quality.

    #5. {SuperBrawl 2}

    1992 was a really good year for WCW. It might not have shown in the box office results but the quality of wrestling and the storylines were quite good. SuperBrawl 2 kicked off the year in a great way. Virtually every match that was a "main event" got close to 20 minutes and they used all of it for some high quality wrestling. We were heading towards the height of the Dangerous Alliance and Sting's friends were the perfect foils for them. The Rude vs. Steamboat and Rhodes/Windham vs. Anderson and Eaton matches told great old school stories. In contrast to that was the Liger/Pillman classic. In the end, Luger and Sting had a decent match to send Luger out the door and move Sting back to the top.

    #4. {WrestleWar 1992}

    If you are a regular reader of my lists you know that I consider the 1992 War Games match from this event as the #1 WCW Match of All Time so that makes this a great PPV no matter what. As if that is not enough it contains my #7 match as well, the Steiners vs. Fuijinami and Ilzuka. The Pillman/Z-Man match was really well thought out as a face vs. face title match. Both men didn't really want to cheat but they ended up going after each other. The rest of the show was somewhat forgettable but those top 3 matches are just too good to not have this show within the top 5 of all time.

    #3. {Great American Bash 1996}

    It is really interesting how the best shows usually come in 2s. This is the 2nd double pairing of back to back shows on this list. There is still 1 pairing remaining that you will see in a little while. I would like to start with the power bombing of Eric Bischoff. That was a "WOW" moment for me as I had never seen anything like that before. It was new and different and just so unexpected it made you stop and think about what could possibly be next. On top of that there were a high number of great matches and moments:

  • Sting vs. Regal – Underrated, might have been the best match in Regal's career
  • Sullivan vs. Benoit – #5 on my top 10 WCW match list
  • Malenko vs. Mysterio – The coming out party for Mysterio and the blueprint for the Cruiserweights
  • Flair and Anderson vs. Mongo and Greene – Bobby Heenan's final match at ringside and great work from everyone.
  • 4 great matches along with a bunch of decent ones and 1 huge angle that's enough for me to want to watch this event again once it is on WWE Network.

    #2. {Spring Stampede 1994}

    This one might be a little controversial for being this high but to me I loved this PPV. It was probably the most violent show I had ever seen. I only watched WWE and WCW back in 1994 and really nothing else. It contains one of my favorite matches the Chicago Street Fight. The commentary was priceless and my older brother and I can still quote it to this day. "A shovel, that's a shovel, where do you find a shovel?" On top of this, you had the wonderful Flair/Steamboat match. The big bunkhouse brawl, the Boss and Vader, Rude/Sting, Austin/Muta all matches I would watch over and over. It is a shame that after this show and Slamboree, Hulk Hogan showed up and ruined WCW for the next 2 years. Of course, the show being in Chicago made it all the better.

    #1. {Great American Bash 1989}

    Let's take a look at the card:

    1 Sid Vicious and Dan Spivey defeated Eddie Gilbert, Terry Gordy, Scott Hall, Bill Irwin, Brian Pillman, Ranger Ross, Mike Rotunda, Ron Simmons, Rick Steiner, Scott Steiner, Steve Williams and Kevin Sullivan[1][2][3] Two-Ring King of the Hill Battle Royal
    2 Brian Pillman defeated Bill Irwin[1][2][3]
    3 The Skyscrapers (Sid Vicious and Dan Spivey) defeated Dynamic Dudes (Johnny Ace and Shane Douglas
    4 Jim Cornette defeated Paul E. Dangerously
    5 Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) (with Missy Hyatt) defeated Varsity Club (Mike Rotunda and Kevin Sullivan)[1][2][3]
    6 Sting (c) (with Eddie Gilbert) defeated The Great Muta (with Gary Hart)[1][2][3] Singles match for the NWA World Television Championship
    7 Lex Luger (c) defeated Ricky Steamboat by disqualification[1][2][3] Singles match for the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship
    8 Road Warriors (Hawk and Animal), Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane) and Steve Williams (with Paul Ellering and Jim Cornette) defeated Fabulous Freebirds (Jimmy Garvin, Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy) and Samoan Swat Team (Samu and Fatu) (with Paul E. Dangerously
    9 Ric Flair (c) defeated Terry Funk (with Gary Hart)[1][2][3] Singles match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship

    (Credit: Wikipedia)

    Matches 6-9 might have been the best 90 minutes of wrestling across 4 matches in the history of WCW. There isn't much to say about the card outside of it will be the 1st WCW PPV I will be watching on WWE Network. Scott Keith has said for years this was his favorite PPV and I agree it is the #1 WCW PPV but not quite the #1 PPV across all the federations. That one will come in another list!

    So there you have it, the Top 10 WCW Pay Per Views! What is your opinion?

    Tweet Me: @EvanDaniels411
    Email Me: evan.daniels411@gmail.com
    Make Fun of Me in the Comments Section: Keep Scrolling

    I read this column right here on 411mania (cheap pop) about the top 8 Ramifications of the WWE Network. It got me thinking about how the product is going to change after WWE Network launches and the industry as a whole.

    Next week I will have a Top 10 List around how the WWE Network will change the entire industry. I don't know how well it will work/read but I'm going to give it a shot.

    Until then, remember it's all entertainment and shouldn't be taken too seriously. And I'm out.


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