This Day in Wrestling History (3/26) – The Monday Night Wars Officially End

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This Day in Wrestling History (3/26) – The Monday Night Wars Officially End

A few days back I reports on WWE purchasing WCW that ended the Monday Night Wars. The only thing left at that point was to announce it to the wrestling masses on live television. That was taken care of on this day in wrestling history, March 26, 2001, when WCW Monday Nitro aired its final episode.

This was discussed on an episode of Eric Bischoff’s podcast, 83 Weeks.

End of an era

WCW’s 288th Nitro episode was tagged the “Night of Champions” and was meant to be that season’s final episode while WCW went quiet for a few weeks. It would return with The Big Bange in May. Unfortunately for WCW and fans, their programming had been previously canceled on Ted Turner’s networks so the deal to sell to the WWE could be completed.

On a night where every WCW championship was on the line, it was a symbolic ending to the Monday Night Wars when Vince McMahon opened the show to announce he purchased WCW and would decide its fate later during the simulcast with Raw. Spiking the ball (poor sportsmanship intended), the show ended with a promo for that night’s Raw main event and that weekend’s WrestleMania,

The entire show was off from that point on, as the wrestlers and commentators were obviously bothered and knew they were appearing together for the final time. In a fitting end to WCW, Ric Flair and Sting closed out Nitro’s run. It was only fitting as they opened the very first Nitro.

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3/26/2001 #Sting defeated #RicFlair by submission on the final episode of #Nitro from Club La Vela in Panama City Beach, Florida. Unfortunately, our match didn’t live up to my interview. It was terrible. I wrestled in a T-shirt because I was so ashamed of my physique. Sting had a bad shoulder, and some limitations because of it. Here were two guys who had sold out arenas all over the world. We’d been opponents for fourteen years and could tear it down every night. But it wasn’t our finest moment. I wasn’t ready, physically or mentally. When Sting threw me into the corner for my flip, I couldn’t even make it over the turnbuckles. He set me up on the top rope and delivered a superplex, then turned me over and put me in his Scorpion Death Lock. I shook my head from side to side, unwilling to submit, then suddenly began nodding, and the bell rang. Sting definitely carried his end of the match. I couldn’t carry mine. Nitro ended just like it started with me losing to my friend Steve Borden. He helped me to my feet and embraced me. Pretending to be injured by his finisher, I fell back down, but reached up to him. He took my hand, and we hugged again and that was sincere. – @ricflairnatureboy, To Be The Man book ___________________________________________________ @therealericbischoff and Bruce Prichard cover the end of The Monday Night War with @heyheyitsconradthompson on @83Weeks and @prichardshow. #EricBischoff #WCW #WorldChampionshipWrestling #WCWHistory #WCWNitro #MondayNitro #MondayNightWars #ClassicWrestling #WWE #WWEUniverse #WWENetwork #WWEHistory #WorldWrestlingEntertainment #Stinger #TheIcon #TheManCalledSting #CrowSting #ItsShowtime #NatureBoy #Naitch #DoItWithFlair #Alsosprachzarathustra #WWELegends #ProfessionalWrestling #ProWrestling #Wrestling #SportsEntertainment

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In Ric Flair’s words (special thanks to @awrestlinghistorian for the excerpt):

“Unfortunately, our match didn’t live up to my interview. It was terrible. I wrestled in a T-shirt because I was so ashamed of my physique. Sting had a bad shoulder, and some limitations because of it. Here were two guys who had sold out arenas all over the world. We’d been opponents for fourteen years and could tear it down every night. But it wasn’t our finest moment. I wasn’t ready, physically or mentally.

“When Sting threw me into the corner for my flip, I couldn’t even make it over the turnbuckles. He set me up on the top rope and delivered a superplex, then turned me over and put me in his Scorpion Death Lock. I shook my head from side to side, unwilling to submit, then suddenly began nodding, and the bell rang. Sting definitely carried his end of the match. I couldn’t carry mine.

“Nitro ended just like it started with me losing to my friend Steve Borden. He helped me to my feet and embraced me. Pretending to be injured by his finisher, I fell back down, but reached up to him. He took my hand, and we hugged again and that was sincere.” – Ric Flair, To Be The Man book

Raw Simulcast

March 25, 2001 also marked the final Raw of the Monday Night Wars. This day in wrestling history would also mark the 115th consecutive week that Raw beat Nitro in the ratings, a streak that started back in November 1998.

Following through on the earlier promise to announce the future of WCW, halfway through Raw, Shane McMahon came out on Nitro and claimed he, not Vince, had bought WCW.

This kicked off the beginning of the much-maligned Invasion storyline. Oddly enough, McMahon had been touting that WCW would continue as a separate entity for weeks all the way through Raw’s preshow meeting. This stoked fan hopes that Shane McMahon would be allowed to run his own promotion, something many of us wish was the case today, but it wasn’t meant to be.

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