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The Death of WCW is a book released in 2004 about the Professional Wrestling company WCW. It's written by Wrestlecrap contributor RD Reynolds and radio host/dirt sheet writer Bryan Alvarez.

The book is an in-depth look at some of the terrible booking and business decisions that saw WCW go from having the most-watched show on cable TV in 1997 - and being the most successful professional wrestling promotion in the world in the process - to becoming little more than a laughingstock of a promotion that folded in 2001. The authors tend to blame the horrible booking decisions of Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff, and the egos of Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and a few other backstage personalities (ultimately, the authors blame Time Warner management for finally deciding to pull the plug on the company just as it was starting to show signs of life again).

This book contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Kevin Nash was apparently very popular amongst his fellow wrestlers, even while he was booking their burials.
    • Yet he rejected being awarded the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Souled Out 2000, because he feared negative backlash by the locker room.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Bill Busch, Vince Russo, Eric Bischoff, or, at the very least,Incompetent and Egotistical Corporate Executive. Jamie Kellner also gets some flack for being the Turner executive that ultimately cancelled WCW, though it's hard to blame him when the company was losing $67 million a year on a product no one seemed to like.
    • The authors of the book have firmly stated that they believe the reason for Kellner cancelling WCW wasn't due simply to the loss of money (especially considering that WCW was actually beginning to rise from the ashes when Kellner came in) but due simply to the fact that he hated wrestling in general. Even if ratings shot up overnight and WCW became a billion dollar business, it still wouldn't have pulled in the demographic that he wanted. He's known for this kind of thing, after all; This is the same man who cancelled Animaniacs, Freakazoid and had Pinky and The Brain retooled when they were pulling in critical acclaim and strong ratings, but not from their supposed demographic.
  • Demoted to Extra: Despite his immense popularity (and the huge paychecks WCW wrote for him), Bret Hart floundered in WCW after his arrival due to poor booking. Bill Goldberg was buried after his initial rise to the top by Hogan and Nash's backstage pull.
    • In perhaps a foreshadowing of this, Vince McMahon allegedly told Hart that if he ever went to WCW, they wouldn't know what to do with him. Which is pretty much exactly what happened.
  • Enforced Method Acting: When WCW started airing more pre-taped segments, the announcers weren't allowed to see them. This left the announce team hopelessly confused, which made them sound like morons.
  • Finger-Poke of Doom: The trope naming incident is cited as one of the beginnings of the end for WCW.
  • Follow the Leader: WCW tried (and failed) to emulate WWF Raw as close as possible after it started beating Monday Nitro in the ratings war (which was ironic, since Raw had been following the lead of both ECW and WCW to get to that point).
  • Foreshadowing: This book points out a lot the things that have befallen TNA.
  • Incompetence, Inc.: The whole book is about WCW being this.
  • It Got Worse: The whole book is about how this happened in WCW.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: They theorize that Eric Bischoff went slowly crazy trying to beat the World Wrestling Federation.
  • Mis Blamed: Invoked. The authors argue that the "guaranteed contracts" that so many blame weren't the reason WCW went under. As they argue, wrestlers had guaranteed contracts even when the company was making tens of millions at its peak, and were probably under-paid. They only were perceived to be over-paid once ratings fell, the result of horrible booking decisions, the reluctance to push new talent, and general behind the scenes chaos.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The releases of Chris Jericho and the Radicalz (Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko), Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin were all downplayed by WCW - until they all became huge stars in the WWF (well, not so much Saturn and Malenko, but still).
  • Pet the Dog: There's a few such moments in the book.
    • As much as the authors clearly dislike Vince Russo's booking, they go out of their way to say he's a human being who was geniunely putting his health, and even his life, on the line in WCW's later days, if foolishly. They even say his booking strategy is great for a short while, its just that things fall to pieces the longer the angle goes.
    • The authors also clearly don't like Eric Bischoff, but give him credit for the initial nWo idea, and talk about Bischoff's attempts to comfort Bret Hart after the death of his brother Owen.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: It happened from time to time, such as Bret Hart's career-ending concussion.
  • Shocking Swerve: Mostly mocked, though the "ultimate swerve" is WCW going out of business for good in 2001. It didn't help that WCW was occasionally being written while it was on the air live.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: This is cited as one of the causes of WCW's downfall. Creative control and backstage power given to a few wrestlers (like Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash) prevented newer, younger talent from being pushed when the company very badly needed to do so to compete with the WWF.
  • Take That: A few too many were aimed at Ric Flair over the course of WCW, particularly at Carolina shows where Flair and the company could have capitalized monstrous hometown popularity. They also managed to get in some at the WWF, though one claim in particular, that Mick Foley winning the title on a competing channel was sure to put some butts in WWF seats, ended up biting them on the ass.
  • What Could Have Been: The original ideas for some angles are brought up. Still others have ways RD and Bryan think they could have worked.
  • Worked Shoot: On both the fans and the wrestlers.
  • Writer on Board
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