Remembering the WCW/ECW Invasion

Page 2 of 7
July 13, 2012

March 26, 2001: A McMahon buys WCW

Shane McMahon announces his purchase of WCW

For months, rumors had been swirling that WCW was up for sale. After Monday Nitro led the Monday Night War, defeating Raw for 82 straight weeks in the Nielsen ratings, the Atlanta-based promotion had been on a steady decline, burning through tens of millions of dollars. Finally, parent company AOLTime Warner, tired of bleeding money, put word out that WCW was available.

It seemed as though former WCW President Eric Bischoff had put together the winning bid with Classic Sports Network founder Brian Bedol (who then sold the network to ESPN) and would re-assume control of the company until March 2001. AOL Time Warner executive Jamie Kellner no longer wanted wrestling on TNT and TBS, leading Bischoff and Bedol to withdraw their offer. WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon swooped in at the last moment on March 23, purchasing all of WCW’s assests, or so he thought.

Watch the final episode of Monday Nitro | Booker T recalls the last WCW show ever

The Chairman gloated throughout the entire March 26, 2001 episode of Raw in Cleveland, part of which was being simulcast on WCW’s flagship program. Mr. McMahon was taking delight in picking and choosing what WCW talent he’d be hiring or firing. Basking in the glory of defeating his biggest competition, he planned on signing the paperwork to make the sale final in the ring at WrestleMania X-Seven.

There was plenty of reason to celebrate until the music of his son and WrestleMania opponent, Shane McMahon, blared through the arena. Mr. McMahon put up his dukes, ready for a brawl, until he realized that The Boy Wonder wasn’t at Raw. Shane was almost 1,000 miles away, in Panama City Beach, Fla., entering the WCW ring on the final episode of Nitro.

He informed his father that his ego had gotten the best of him once again. “The deal has been finalized,” Shane said. “The name on the contract does say ‘McMahon.’ However, the contract reads ‘Shane McMahon!’” The WWE Chairman was frozen in shock in the middle of the ring as his son informed him that he intended on bringing WCW back to its former glory and steamrolling over WWE in the process. The battle lines had been drawn.

Watch Shane McMahon's blockbuster announcement