The Man Who Killed WCW Has Died

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Jamie Kellner, the man who actually killed WCW by canceling Nitro and Thunder, has died—three days before the finale of “Who Killed WCW?” on Vice.

 


 

In a significant move that reshaped the landscape of professional wrestling, Jamie Kellner, then CEO of Turner Broadcasting, canceled World Championship Wrestling (WCW) programming in 2001. This decision effectively derailed Eric Bischoff’s deal to purchase the company and marked the end of WCW’s presence on television, a development that had far-reaching implications for the industry.

Jamie Kellner, a prominent television executive, took over Turner Broadcasting in early 2001. At the time, WCW was experiencing financial difficulties and declining ratings. Despite these challenges, Eric Bischoff, the former president of WCW, was negotiating a deal with Fusient Media Ventures to buy the struggling wrestling promotion. The deal included plans to revitalize WCW and secure a new television contract to keep its programming on the air.

However, Kellner’s decision to cancel all WCW programming on Turner networks, including TNT and TBS, abruptly changed the course of these negotiations. Without a television platform, the value of WCW plummeted, and Bischoff’s deal fell through. The cancellation was a significant blow to WCW, as television exposure was crucial for its survival and success.

This move by Kellner not only ended the potential sale of WCW to Bischoff but also led to WWE (then WWF) purchasing WCW’s assets, including its video library, trademarks, and selected wrestler contracts. The acquisition by WWE consolidated its dominance in the wrestling industry and marked the end of the “Monday Night Wars,” a period of intense competition between WWE’s Monday Night Raw and WCW’s Monday Nitro.

The cancellation of WCW programming is often cited as a pivotal moment in wrestling history. It signaled the demise of one of WWE’s biggest competitors and solidified WWE’s position as the leading wrestling promotion in the world.

Jamie Kellner’s recent passing has brought renewed attention to this critical decision in wrestling history. His actions in 2001 had a lasting impact on the industry, shaping the direction of professional wrestling for years to come.