There are many theories as to what the major turning point was in the “Monday Night Wars,” but one former announcer believes he knows what had a lot to do with it and it was Mick Foley.
Tony Schiavone was someone who had worked for WWF and then, he moved over to WCW and became their lead announcer. Well, he now believes he knows exactly what ended up being the death of WCW and one of the things was an announcement straight from his mouth.
Tony Schiavone worked for the WWF/WWE in the late ’80s before moving over to WCW and becoming their lead play-by-play announcer. He was right in the thick of things during the wars between Monday Night Raw and Monday Nitro, which saw WCW destroy WWE in the ratings for a very long period of time.
Obviously, things changed when WCW was bought out by Vince McMahon and WWE, but what exactly caused the downfall of the company? Schiavone spoke with Wrestling Inc. about a number of topics and he discussed what actually ended up killing WCW.
“The Mick Foley Incident” changed everything
Back in the late ’90s, Monday Night Raw was being taped in advance with the results usually leaking out ahead of time. Still, not everyone always knew what was going to happen and ratings for both shows were still through the roof with WCW edging out WWF at the time.
On Jan. 4, 1999, both shows were on the air as usual when the incident that changed everything took place, according to Tony Schiavone.
“It was a combination; a lot of things killed WCW. I am honored to believe people feel that my comments on Mick Foley winning the WWF title killed it. Wow, thank you very much! I didn’t know I had that much power!”
The situation being referred to is when during a live episode of WCW Monday Nitro, Schiavone decided to announce the spoilers for Monday Night Raw. He let the entire world know that WWF was going to have Mick Foley/Mankind defeat The Rock to win his first-ever WWF Championship.
At the exact moment that Schiavone made that announcement, more than 600,000 homes switched networks to watch Raw over Nitro. That night, Raw scored a 5.7 rating while Nitro scored a 5.0 and it was the last WCW ever saw a rating that high.
On that night, WCW lost its edge and advantage over WWF
Tony Schiavone pointed out that there were other things on top of “The Mick Foley Incident” that brought down WCW, and he said that it was essentially the owner of the company.
“I really think that what ended up killing WCW, more than anything else was that it was run by Turner Broadcasting and [Ted] Turner didn’t really give a blip about Pro Wrestling compared to Vince McMahon.”
The last pay-per-view to ever take place for WCW was Greed on March 18, 2001, and Schiavone was at the desk to call it. He said that looking at that event, some “things weren’t that bad” and a lot of things could be salvaged, but “they just didn’t want it.”
A week later, the last-ever Monday Nitro took place with Sting taking on Ric Flair for the final time ever in a WCW ring.
There are likely a lot of factors that contributed to the death of WCW, but it is hard to deny that “The Mick Foley Incident” is what started it all off. Tony Schiavone knows that what he said that night to make people switch from Nitro to Raw started off a chain reaction that ended with the closure of WCW just two-and-a-half years later.
[Featured Image by WWE]