Once upon a time in the wrestling world, WCW were on the top of the mountain, and had a vast array of stars on high amounts of cash.
But it would all end up crumbling, and it was thanks to one man – Vince McMahon.
With the likes of Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Randy Savage and others defecting to Ted Turner’s empire, McMahon had to think on his feet to try and swing the ratings back in WWF’s favour.
It took a lot of work, but when the Attitude Era kicked in, things started to change, and thanks to the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H and others, WWF eventually gained a stranglehold on the ratings in 1998.
Vince never looked back, but it would start a downward spiral for WCW, who began to lose momentum quickly, and by the time the year 2001 rolled around, cost-cutting was happening and the end was nigh.
And when WCW were on their last legs, McMahon stepped in to purchase their trademarks, video library and some contracts, and in-turn rendered the company defunct.
One final episode of their flagship show Nitro was allowed to be run though by TNT, and it happened on this date – March 26 – in 2001.
It was extremely unique as it started with the enemy – McMahon – announcing that he had purchased WCW, and the first ever simulcast between Nitro and Raw would happen later that night.
Long-term WCW stars competed on the final ever episode from Panama City Beach, where Booker T became a five-time world champion by defeating Scott Steiner.
The likes of Rey Mysterio, Billy Kidman, Shane Helms and Chavo Guerrero – all of whom would go into WWE’s cruiserweight division – also fought that night, but the main event would see two wrestling icons go one-on-one.
Ric Flair and Sting shared the ring for the final time under the WCW banner, and embraced as they signalled the end of an era.
But that wasn’t the end of the drama at all.
As Vince started his simulcast, he was interrupted by his son Shane, who turned up on Nitro to announce that the name on the papers to purchase WCW said McMahon, but not Vince McMahon – Shane McMahon!
It was a truly iconic moment which signalled the end of the Monday Night Wars, but a few months later started a new huge story – The Invasion – but the less said about that the better.
March 26, 2001 was one of the most iconic dates in wrestling history, and it’s hard to argue that the landscape shifted entirely.