This Day in Entertainment History featuring the day the WWE purchased WCW

WCW

The date was March 23, 2001 when World Championship Wrestling (WCW) was purchased by their rival World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) ending a long standing feud.

WCW Inc. (formerly known as World Championship Wrestling, Inc.) was an American professional wrestling promotion, historically based in Atlanta, Georgia. It began as a regional (mid-Atlantic U.S.), National Wrestling Alliance (NWA)-affiliated “territory” promotion – Jim Crockett Promotions – until November 1988, when Ted Turner (through his Turner Broadcasting System business) bought the promotion, whose struggle to compete with Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment (then WWF, now WWE) had left it near bankruptcy. Immediately after the buyout, the business was renamed the Universal Wrestling Corporation (UWC) and consisted of Crockett’s business assets not picked up by World Wrestling Federation Entertainment.

As 2000 came to a close, a number of potential buyers for WCW were rumored to show interest in the company. Ted Turner, however, still had a position of influence at Time Warner prior to the final merger of AOL and Time Warner in 2001, and most offers were rejected. Eric Bischoff, working with Fusient Media Ventures, made a bid to acquire the company in January 2001 (shortly following the AOL/Time Warner merger), and it appeared that WCW would continue.

One of the primary backers in the WCW deal backed out, however, leaving Fusient to take that offer off the table while it attempted to bring a new deal around. In the meantime, the World Wrestling Federation founded W. Acquisition Company in late-2000 and began speaking to the new AOL Time Warner about acquiring the WCW brand. Jamie Kellner was handed control over the Turner Broadcasting division, and deemed WCW, along with Turner Sports as a whole, to be out of line with its image. As a result, WCW programming was canceled on TBS and TNT, leaving Vince McMahon’s company, which at the time had an exclusive deal with Viacom, free to acquire the trademarks, video libraries and a few contracts of World Championship Wrestling through its new subsidiary W. Acquisition Company and was renamed to WCW Inc. afterwards.

During the sale, WCW was in litigation, with various lawsuits pending, and AOL Time Warner still had to pay various performers their guaranteed deals, as many had contracts directly with the parent company, and not with WCW. Since WCW Inc. had acquired select assets, the company that was once World Championship Wrestling was reverted to Universal Wrestling Corporation once again; its only purpose now, however, was to deal with old contracts and lawsuits.

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