The Monday Night Wars between WWE and WCW saw WWE having an advantage over WWE. However, that changed on April 13, 1998, the day RAW beat Monday Nitro in ratings for the first time in 83 weeks.
On his Something To Wrestle podcast, Bruce Prichard recalled what it was like for WWE to finally beat WCW in ratings back then.
“You won’t believe it, but it was great, we were happy, but Vince McMahon was more concerned with just taking care of business and we have to worry about what we are going to do next.”
That episode of RAW featured a match between McMahon and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. The storyline leading to the match was unlike anything ever seen in professional wrestling, so the audience was fully engaged. Prichard said everyone was elated to win in ratings that night, but they knew they had a lot of work to do if they wanted to keep the momentum going.
“It’s funny because, yes, everybody was happy. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like we weren’t happy about it. There is a realization too that we promoted a match all night long with the owner of the company–a non-wrestler, somebody that has never been in the ring before, and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin.
We didn’t give them the match but it was something they never thought they would have seen before. It was Vince McMahon, an unproven commodity that had never been in that role before, that won the ratings. That story is what really drove that audience all night.”
The victory was short-lived as WCW beat WWE in ratings the very next week. However, it was not enough to demotivate WWE.
“I don’t know if it was what we expected. Again, it was another day at the office. Business was good, houses were up, so we were moving forward. We saw the needle move and felt confident that when it was all said and done we were going to be back on top.”
h/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.