WCW WorldWide was a syndicated TV show produced by World Championship Wrestling.
Wide World Wrestling
The show began in 1975 (as Wide World Wrestling), a syndicated one-hour program produced by Charlotte, North Carolina-based Jim Crockett Promotions. It was taped each Wednesday night at WRAL-TV television studios in Raleigh, North Carolina, following the taping of the syndicated Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. The original host of Wide World Wrestling was former Georgia Championship Wrestling announcer Ed Capral.
World Wide Wrestling
In 1978, to avoid confusion with ABC's Wide World of Sports (many newspapers would incorrectly mix the two shows up in their listings), JCP changed the name of the show to World Wide Wrestling. Rich Landrum became the new host and was joined shortly thereafter by veteran wrestler Johnny Weaver as color commentator.
In the summer of 1981, WRAL television opted not to renew its contract with JCP, citing that it needed the studio space to produce a new local version of PM Magazine. Crockett initially worked out a deal with WCCB television in Charlotte to house the tapings, but that fell through. So he instead went with WPCQ in Charlotte (a station immortalized by Ted Turner when it was WRET because the future cable mogul once held a telethon to save the channel from going bankrupt).
WPCQ (now WCNC) had briefly played host to tapings for Eddie Einhorn's International Wrestling Association in the 1970s so it seemed like a natural fit. The physical studio itself was very cramped however and it made for a claustrophobic viewing experience. The ring, television sets, banners, and camera platforms, which had been positioned in perfect symmetry at WRAL, were now oddly positioned and the result was to say the very least, ugly.
Landrum left World Wide Wrestling in 1982 after being released by Jim Crockett Promotions in a cost cutting measure. David Crockett left his position as Bob Caudle's color commentator on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling to take over play-by-play duties on World Wide.
Not pleased with the studio situation, Crockett began to make plans to rectify matters and by July 1983, had moved his tapings out of WPCQ and into major arenas, buying a mobile TV truck for $1 million and hiring his own crew.
In 1984, Tony Schiavone replaced Weaver as color commentator on World Wide (with Weaver moving over to join Caudle on Mid-Atlantic). Schiavone had previously worked for JCP as the announcer for their minor league baseball team the Charlotte O's, and as the host of their market-specific promotional interview segments, which were used to promote events in individual towns. Tully Blanchard for a time joined World Wide as a color commentator as well.
After the sale of JCP's wrestling assets to Turner Broadcasting in 1988, World Wide Wrestling went through a revolving series of announcing teams and included at various times such names as Schiavone, Jim Ross, Gordon Solie, Lance Russell, Chris Cruise, Terry Funk, Dutch Mantell, Ole Anderson, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Scott Hudson, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and Larry Zbyszko.
Under the Eric Bischoff regime, the name World Wide Wrestling was changed to WCW WorldWide.
WorldWide was originally made up of matches from television tapings around the country. From 1993 onward, the show was taped at Disney/MGM Studios. As such, these shows recorded, were the source of the infamous "Disney Tapings." In 1995, WorldWide moved to a custom built set on a soundstage at Disney/MGM Studios and later to Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, Florida. In mid-1998, WCW started taping WorldWide at the same arenas they would tape WCW Saturday Night until early-2000, when they moved the tapings before Thunder tapings.
In November 2000, the show would change formats, no longer featuring exclusive matches, and instead showing matches from previous WCW pay-per-view events (as well as providing a recap of that week's Monday Nitro and Thunder).
WorldWide was cancelled along with Monday Nitro and Thunder before the World Wrestling Federation purchased WCW's tape library and intellectual property. At the time of its cancellation, WorldWide was the longest-running, uninterrupted weekly syndicated show of any kind on the air in the United States.
WorldWide in the United Kingdom
WCW WorldWide is one of only two American wrestling shows (the other being WWE Sunday Night Heat on Channel 4) to have a regular slot on UK terrestrial television, having appeared on two different over the air networks during its lifetime.
Beginning in 1991, WCW WorldWide was broadcast in the UK on the ITV network originally overnight at 1 or 2 a.m. alongside other U.S. imports such as American Gladiators and America's Top Ten. Late in 1992 however, it moved to a Saturday afternoon slot. The day's football scores would be scrolled across the bottom of the screen as part of ITV's Saturday Sport line up. In late 1995, however, the show was moved back to the late night slot and disappeared from the network.
During July 1999, Worldwide returned to TV in the UK on Channel 5, who broadcast the show at 7pm on Friday evenings, although occasionally the show would be broadcast in a late-night mid-week time-slot instead. These shows were a collection of matches from Nitro, Thunder and WCW Saturday Night, which had taken place five or six weeks before. The announcers were usually Scott Hudson and Larry Zbyszko, who provided dubbed commentary with references aimed at the UK viewers. Due to being moved around the schedules and skipping some weeks, the show continued until May 2001 over a month after being bought by the WWF. As mentioned, WCW was purchased by the World Wrestling Federation, and ceased to produce any more new programming.
Even though the show wasn't broadcast from 1995 until 1999 on British Television in English, it was on the German speaking channel DSF, along with other WCW content not seen anywhere else in the country.
Following the purchase of WCW by the World Wrestling Federation, older versions of WorldWide were repeated on Sky Sports.
|List of WCW Worldwide results|
|1984 List of NWA WorldWide results|
|1985 List of NWA WorldWide results|
|1991 List of WCW WorldWide results|