WWE Network Lowdown: The Monday Night War Ends, Tough Enough Arrives

January 12, 2015 by Mark D

WWE Network Lowdown

What’s new

This past week revealed that the WWE Universe didn’t think that CM Punk was a cry-baby after all. However, they did take a parting shot at Drax on the past edition of WWE Countdown.

In addition to the new Countdown episode, two new DVDs were added to Beyond the Ring. The first was the 2009 “History of the World Heavyweight Championship” documentary (added with the incorrect date for you detail freaks). This 57 minute documentary looks at the history and lineage of the World Heavyweight Championship, from its beginnings as the NWA Title, through WCW and into WWE; you might need to check your wrestling historian hat at door – especially when the documentary tries to link the WCW title to the NWA title. All in all though it’s a really solid documentary with a lot of interesting names interviewed.

History of World Championship Documentary : WWE Network Lowdown

The second new documentary added was “Heartbreak and Triumph” – this really great 2007 documentary looks at the career of The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels. If this is a DVD which you’ve never seen – you really should check it out on the WWE Network.

Shawn Michaels Documentary : WWE Network Lowdown

Highlight of the week

The Monday Night War series : WWE Network Lowdown

The highlight of the past week had to be the penultimate episode of The Monday Night War. The episode looked at the period after Eric Bischoff was relieved of power and through the Vince Russo period ending around March 21, 2001 just prior to the WWE purchase.

I felt this was one of the more enjoyable episodes of the series. Generally this period of WCW is glossed over as “bad Russo booking”, however this episode provided in-depth looks at some of the angles and backstage happenings around the time, such as the Bash at the Beach incident and the April 2000 “Reboot”.

Vince Russo : WWE Network Lowdown

As you may have expected some topics were glossed over, particularly Chris Benoit’s involvement in The Radicalz departure following Kevin Sullivan taking over the booking duties. Benoit isn’t mentioned during this segment and because of this the story doesn’t really make much sense, however it is understandable that WWE wouldn’t want to get into a full story of Benoit, Sullivan and Nancy “Woman” Benoit (née Sullivan), but this section of the story could have been handled a little better. After all, we’ve always been told that Chris Benoit would be acknowledged in a historical context.

The Radicalz : WWE Network Lowdown

The episode concluded by looking at the cancellation of WCW programming on TNT/TBS by Jamie Kellner after the AOL/Time Warner merger and the abandoned Eric Bischoff/Fusient Media Ventures buyout. The episode ended with a cliff hanger, that being the future of WCW. The final episode of Thunder had aired on March 21, 2001 and with the final episode of Nitro just days away, what would be the fate of World Championship Wrestling…? [Spoiler Alert: WWE bought it!] Still, this was a cool way to end the episode.

The final episode will air on Tuesday and will look at the WWE purchase, how WCW was utilized within WWE, the legacy of the promotion and of course the legacy of the Monday Night War.

Coming up…

Tough Enough Season 1 : WWE Network Lowdown

It was revealed during SmackDown that this afternoon the first season of Tough Enough will be added to the video on demand section of the WWE Network. It’s likely that the show will feature lots of musical edits, but even with these edits Tough Enough will be a nice addition.

In the first episode keep an eye out for some background contestants who would later make names for themselves in the ‘rasslin biz. Plus, the addition of the first season of Tough Enough will get everyone thinking about that new season which was discussed on a WWE Conference Call last summer.

Intercontinental Championship Countdown : WWE Network Lowdown

In addition to the series finale of The Monday Night War, this Tuesday night will see a brand new episode of WWE Countdown air. This episode will look at the top 10 greatest Intercontinental Champions. Could this mean that the “greatest Intercontinental Champion of ALL time” – The Honky Tonk Man will be dethroned, or will Honky hold on to his crown?

Find out this Tuesday from 5pm EST.

WWE NXT - Wednesday Nights : WWE Network Lowdown

Finally, don’t forget that because of SmackDown’s return to Thursday night, NXT (and Superstars) will move to Wednesday. So if you want to see the NXT Championship re-match between Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville you can catch it a day earlier on Wednesday evening.

Classic of the Week

1992 Royal Rumble Match, Ric Flair : WWE Network Lowdown

Royal Rumble Match for the Vacant WWE Championship
Royal Rumble • January 19, 1992

As we’re in the midst of Royal Rumble season, it’s only fitting that you watch a past Rumble match or two before the big night. So for our “Classic of the Week” which Royal Rumble is really more classic than the ’92 edition? Nuff said.

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23 Comments left on this article...

Leave Your Comments


  1. Joe Young says:

    The NWA lost its meaning in 1987 when Ron Garvin became champion.

    When WCW split, it took its lineage with it.

    Technically, the world heavyweight championship should be recognized starting from the first NWA Champion Orville Brown (since Capitol Wrestling Federation was part of the NWA), but I guess out of respect for the history of industry, they decide to go back to Hackenschmidt. Although by that logic, The Big Gold Belt should’ve stayed to be the main world title in the WWE.

  2. Anonymous says:

    They did mention Benoit in the episode though.

  3. LP1 says:

    Mark, funny you mentioned that historians should check their hat at the door because that was one of my biggest pet peeves for years. The World Heavyweight Title that existed in WWE until December 2013 was created in September 2002. It doesn’t go any further back than that. Even trying to connect it to the WCW World Title doesn’t work either because the WCW World Title lineage connects to the WWF World Title. Sure it was the same physical belt, but it wasn’t the same Championship. The WCW World Title also is separate from the NWA World Title and the NWA World Title is completely separate from the original World Heavyweight Title created in 1905. WWE combined the lineages of 4 separate titles in their quest to completely butcher and rewrite history.

    • attitude.era.4life says:

      Altering states of minds.. 😉

      If I may ask, how does the TNA-NWA title fit in, back when Jarrett started the company? Did he and TNA seek any permission from someone, to use the NWA name..? *curious*

      • Mark D says:

        When TNA launched it was an NWA “territory” so-to-speak, their name was actually NWA-TNA. In 2004 TNA withdrew from the NWA, but licenced the titles. Then in 2007 the NWA pulled out of the deal. This meant that TNA had create their own World Titles.

      • LP1 says:

        Here’s a rundown of the World Title lineages. The original World Heavyweight Title was created in 1905 after all of the different titles around the world were unified into one. Then in 1948 the NWA World Heavyweight Title was created, separately from the original World Title. Eventually Lou Thesz, who was World Heavyweight Champion, also won the NWA World Title. In the late 1950’s the original World Title started to splinter off. Different territories began recognizing their own World Champions. The AWA made their own champion in 1960, the WWWF in 1963 and so on. So the original World Heavyweight Title eventually disappeared because every territory now had their own World Champ. By 1988 the 2 big World Champions were the WWF and NWA Champions.

        In ’88 Ted Turner bought Crockett Promotions and renamed the company WCW. But they still used the NWA World Title. The NWA was a separately operated organization from WCW. When Flair beat Sting for the NWA Title in January 1991 that was when WCW also started calling him the WCW World Heavyweight Champion. So technically Flair had 2 World Titles at the same time, but only 1 belt. Flair got fired/quit WCW in July 1991 and was stripped of the WCW Title. However he was still recognized as NWA Champion until he signed with the WWF in September 1991. WCW created a brand new belt(which looked similar to the WWF winged eagle belt) and made Luger their new champion, but the NWA Title was vacant for nearly a year. It wasn’t until the summer of 1992 that a new NWA Champion was crowned. At that point WCW again recognized the NWA title and there were 2 World Titles in WCW from 1992-1993.

        In September 1993 the NWA and WCW had a falling out and ended their working agreement. The NWA took their championship back and declared the Title vacant. However, and this is where things get confusing, Ric Flair was the recognized the NWA Champion at the time of the WCW/NWA split and WCW had full ownership of the NWA Title(the big gold belt). So instead of stripping Flair of the belt, WCW just started calling him the WCW International World Heavyweight Champion. So WCW continued to have 2 World Championships at the same time, until they unified the belts into 1 in June 1994, and from that point on they only used the big gold belt. The NWA held a tournament to crown a new NWA Champion and the NWA Title would be defended on indies around the world. Since the NWA didn’t have ownership of the big gold belt, they brought back the old version of the NWA belt that was used in the 1970s and early 80’s.

        Eventually WWF bought WCW and the WWF and WCW World Titles were unified in December 2001. That marked the end of the WCW Title. In June 2002 TNA was created and they worked with the NWA. The NWA let them use their World Heavyweight and World Tag Team Titles.

        In September 2002 WWE created a new World Heavyweight Title after the brand split. The only connection to WCW was that they used the same physical belt(big gold belt), but it was not a continuation of the WCW Title.

        In May 2007 TNA and the NWA ended their working agreement and TNA created their own World Title. The NWA World Heavyweight title is still around today, being defended on indy promotions around the world. In December of 2014 WWE unified the original WWE World Heavyweight Title with the new 2002 World Heavyweight Title and now we’re back to just one World Heavyweight Champion in WWE. TNA still has their World Champion and the NWA still has their World Champion.

        My brain seriously hurts right now.

        • LP1 says:

          Meant to say December of 2013 the WWE World Titles were unified.

        • attitude.era.4life says:

          Respect! If only wwe, tna and rest of the brands through out history had the creativity, knowledge and interest in their own product, like the WDN staff and readers. 😉

  4. motorhead says:

    Great read… I absolutely LOVE this article. Keep up the great, great work.

  5. David says:

    I noticed HBK Heartbreak and Triumph documentary has been edited. It’s missing about 10 minutes during the AWA days. Its pretty bad editing, wonder why.

  6. Jake Ziegler says:

    They do mention Benoit, and they show him too.

  7. King7777 says:

    Real men don’t have The WWE Network

    • LP1 says:

      At what point does this guy just get banned? It’s not even funny anymore. It’s just flat out trolling for the sake of trolling.

  8. Kenny says:

    I’m not usually big on putting Benoit in the shows, but I don’t know how you tell the story behind the Radicalz’ jump without that story. It doesn’t require going into great detail about the Woman/Sullivan/Benoit backstory, but just mention it to establish its existence and then use that to explain the tension between Sullivan and Benoit. It’s not hard to do without spending a lot of time on an uncomfortable subject; especially when you’re telling the story of one of the biggest hits that WCW took on its way down.

    I kind of compare it to telling the story of the career of Shawn Michaels and dancing around the Survivor Series.

    • motorhead says:

      I don’t think it matters much, to be honest. We fans that lived through it are going to stand back and say “WAIT A MINUTE…”, but for fans that are much younger, the story made enough sense to keep it as it is in the episode. Seriously, how do you mention Benoit at that time without putting him over as what he truly was, one of the best wrestlers in the world?

      Also, knowing what we know now, that the man was suffering from CTE and was obviously nuts, why can’t they figure some sort of way of working him into historical pieces by acknowledging his impact without feeling as if they’re putting over a serial killer of mass murderer. The man was very sick and lost his shit. That’s different than simply killing someone. I’m not looking to rehash anything, so save it. What I’m saying it, the NFL still talks about the players who committed suicide and even those who committed murder. He may not have a place in the current WWE, but Benoit does have a legit place in history, and those stories are important to the understanding of the wrestling business and the fall of WCW.

      • Kenny says:

        I haven’t seen the show yet, so I don’t know how it comes off on the show. I can imagine there’s a way to tell the story, say, by following the chain of events, without having to “put him over”. I guess, living through that period and knowing just how little the WCW World Championship meant even at that point, I don’t see pointing out that it happened–that he won it–as putting him over. Now, if they go were to follow it up by saying how he would go on to greatness winning THIS title X amount of times and THAT title X amount of times…yeah, I’d be uncomfortable too.

        In the story of the men who made up the Radicalz, the Benoit backstory was the biggest key in the whole deal. Being completely honest, if it was me producing the show, if I was asked to tell the story about those guys jumping, but was told that I couldn’t tell the story behind Benoit, I really don’t know if I’d tell the story at all. It seems to me, again without having seen the show, that the story of them jumping loses so much impact and importance if it isn’t put into the proper context.

        • G.B. says:

          Benoit isn’t completely excluded. They make no mention of him but they do show the footage of The Radicalz debuting on Raw and leave JR’s commentary where he mentions all four, including Benoit. But that’s as far as it goes.

  9. flintmarko1210 says:

    So by ‘season finale’, is it implied that there will be Monday Night Wars episodes in the future?

    Also any way of knowing the release schedule for new episodes of Rivalries?

    • Kenny says:

      Monday Night Wars is only 20 episodes. I think the author wrote “season” when he actually meant to write “series”. He also referred to the finale at another point as the “penultimate episode”.

      • Mark D says:

        The author may have written season and not series, but he didn’t refer to the finale as the penultimate episode, he refered to the penultimate episode as the penultimate episode.

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