Who Killed WCW documentary = AEW warning

They say that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. No matter if its in business, politics, sports or any other walk of life, history always shows how things went the way they did. The only question is what do we learn from it and what should we look for.

VICE’s Who Killed WCW is already a must watch for any wrestling fan as it takes us into the full stories that are fleshed out. From the talking heads, the footage and the analysis, it explains what went wrong with WCW and how it ended up being devoured by the WWE.

And one of the biggest lessons that AEW and their fans need to learn from WCW is the scariest.

That right now, there are TV executives who do not like wrestling and want it off WBD altogether.

The first episode shows how little Turner Executives thought of pro wrestling, especially ex Turner President Brad Siegel. The veteran TV executive called wrestling “stupid” and that he hated it. Other talking heads talked about how they warned people not to make WCW profitable or else their careers would be at stake.

And if you think that times have changed and that wrestling has become cool again, then your lying to yourself.

Unfortunately pro wrestling has a stigma that is hard for alot of TV people to get over these days. In fact, many TV people view pro wrestling as the lowest hanging fruit possible for all programs. They would rather reality shows such as Real Housewives or Big Brother compared to any pro wrestling company.

Don’t believe me; just go to the Peacock Channel and look at how many versions of Real Housewives are on there. Same with WBD and there array of DIY shows or other reality shows on the docket.

In “Who Killed WCW” , TNT Sports Group Financial Controller Dick Cheatham told us how Turner Executives want WCW off the air and not to make money. That if he tried to make WCW profitable then he was committing career suicide.

Let that sink in as you read that over and understand how much they hate pro wrestling.

Even today, there were reports of FOX executives who had wanted to get out of the WWE business as soon as they could. Its viewed as a hard sell for advertisers to invest in the time slot and that most don’t want to associate themselves with the product.

You can bet your bottom dollar that Tony Khan and AEW are facing the same thing from inside the Warner Brothers Discovery group.

To alot of these people, they see no value in pro wrestling in general to be on the network. It will never garner any awards like the Oscars, Golden Globes or Network Choice groups. It isn’t live sports so you can’t label it as part of any sports package that channels offer. And on top of it, too often pro wrestling has done some tasteless angle’s that can make society cringe.

TNT was unique because Ted Turner loved pro wrestling and wanted it to succeed even if he lost millions of dollars in the process. Its safe to assume that David Zaslav is not the same guy as Turner and probably not a pro wrestling fan.

In fact he has been cutting shows just to get WBD out of their crippling debt. As of this column, they are still 39.9 BILLION dollars in debt and that is after loosing the NBA after the 2024-2025 season. They have responded by slashing tv shows across several platforms from comic book based shows to even dramas

With AEW’s TV contact coming up, you have to think there are executives who are pushing to have pro wrestling go away. In their eyes the product isn’t profitable for television advertisers, its not something the streaming platforms can use to entice more viewers, and is just a stain on the network.

This was some of the arguments that FOX used to get out of the WWE Smackdown deal this year. And that was with WWE getting over 2 million per episode and being profitable in what has become their huge rise since the Yes Movement. To many TV executives, pro wrestling was akin to a religious man hanging out in a porn shoot.

Imagine right now being someone who is not a pro wrestling fan and watching AEW. The company has seen attendance drop, ratings decline and has not grown to be profitable in their five years of existence.

To the vast majority of TV executives, its a bad investment and not a program you want to hitch your streaming service to.

AEW fans and defenders keep touting the fact they are still drawing good numbers for the Dynamite show. Bad news for all of you is that TV Executives don’t care at all if ratings are good or not. Look at WCW’s heyday and Siegel still wasn’t happy and wanted it off the show.

And that was during the Hogan-Goldberg era when crowds were still hot and the ratings were doing 3 times what Dynamite was doing.

Add to the fact that Tony is the lead negotiator for AEW in these TV talks and you have a recipe for disaster. Just recently Tony addressed criticism for his booking decisions by saying “I book wrestling for the sickos because that’s what I am and that’s who I care about”

You can bet WBD officials hear that and just see dollars fluttering away due to a guy who is more interested in chasing a niche market. Most executives want shows that either can become huge mainstream hits and can generate alot of advertising dollars.

In the end, its all moot as AEW is facing the same problem that WCW was facing. The guys who wanted AEW in the first place are long gone and the new management group that arrived back in 2022 are not married to them. For all we know, they are still considering dropping AEW if the prices don’t match up with their bottom line. Think what you want but if AEW is in the red, the last thing TV executives want to do is act like an ATM machine to keep them afloat.

The problem most wrestling fans face right now is that the vast majority of wrestling news sites don’t either understand or explain the television industry. The issue is always that if the ratings are high, then the networks must be happy and that is all that matters. What they don’t factor in is the preference, how executives see pro wrestling, how the networks want to portray themselves as and more

For AEW, the fact is that they are still an unknown quantity in terms of their long-term future. Do WBD heads look at Tony Khan as someone they want to do long term business with? Do they want to be known as a pro wrestling channel? Are they content with giving money to a product that they don’t outright own and have any control over?

Watching the Who Killed WCW documentary should give AEW and other wrestling companies fans and wrestlers a cold reminder of the truth.

That even today, pro wrestling is looked upon by TV executives as low brow, corny, carny and even low-quality television. That it’s not something that the average person is going to binge watch like they would a comedy or drama show

Tony got it wrong when he said there was a war between AEW and WWE.

The real war is between pro wrestling and TV executives who often are happy to kill it like a rabid animal.

To listen to more Fighters/Boxers/Sports Reporters interviews and more check out www.lastcallpodcast.com or follow me on Twitter.com/LastCallwChrisC.