Doink the Clown
Doink the Clown is a professional wrestling character and most popularly portrayed by Matt Borne, who debuted the Doink persona in the World Wrestling Federation in 1992. He is a clown wearing brightly colored clothes. In addition to Borne, Doink has been portrayed by many other wrestlers both in the WWF and on the independent circuit. Former WWE producer Bruce Prichard said in an interview on The Steve Austin Show that Michael Hegstrand had conceived the idea of a miserable clown character. After making appearances in late 1992 in the crowd and at ringside, playing tricks on the fans and wrestlers, the Doink character made his in-ring debut in the WWF in 1993 wrestling as a technically sound heel. Doink played cruel jokes on both fans and wrestlers in order to amuse himself and put them off guard; some of his villainous pranks included tripping Big Boss Man with a tripwire, dumping water on Marty Jannetty and attacking Crush with a loaded prosthetic arm. He clashed with Crush at WrestleMania IX, a match which he won after the appearance of an identical Doink from underneath the ring.
Doink wrestled Randy Savage on Monday Night Raw, substituted for Jerry Lawler, who faked an injury, against Bret Hart at SummerSlam in 1993. Doink turned on Lawler on the September 4 episode of WWF Wrestling Challenge in Lawler's The King's Court segment, making Burger King jokes to amuse the crowd and emptied a bucket of water over Lawler. Matt Osborne, the original man behind Doink, was fired for re-occurring drug abuses leaving the gimmick to Ray Licameli. Now as a fan favorite and with a new midget sidekick Dink, Doink was more of a comic relief character, but continued to pull pranks on other wrestlers on heels like Lawler and Bobby Heenan. Doink and Dink battled with Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon in a feud that culminated at WrestleMania X. Doink would encounter Jerry Lawler again in a match at Survivor Series. In this match and Dink teamed with Wink and Pink to meet Lawler's dwarf team of'little kings' Queazy and Sleazy. Doink became a jobber losing to wrestlers like Jeff Jarrett, Waylon Mercy and, in his final televised match in September 1995, to Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
Doink reemerged one last time in 1997 at the Slammy Awards and was attacked by Stone Cold Steve Austin, amidst crowd chants of "kill the clown". Doink had a few matches in 1994 in southeast Michigan, he faced off against Bastion Booger on July 14, 1994, in Michigan. He wrestled alongside some other now known names such as Al Snow and Terry Funk when wrestling for MTW. Following his departure from the WWF, Osborne appeared in Extreme Championship Wrestling for several matches as Doink in a blue and green clown suit, setting up an angle where ECW champion Shane Douglas criticized Vince McMahon for turning a talented wrestler like Borne into a comic relief character, claimed that he knew how to bring out Borne's full potential. Borne made a few appearances with Douglas as "himself", sporting his face half-painted with the Doink makeup, his attitude insinuated that he had developed borderline personality disorder from having been forced to wrestle as a clown. His ring name under this gimmick was "Borne Again".
Since 1997, Doink has appeared sporadically in WWE. Ray Apollo returned to play him in the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania X-Seven. On December 10, 2007, Doink played by Matt Borne participated in a battle royal of 15 WWE alumni for the Raw 15th anniversary special episode. Played by Nick Dinsmore, he showed up in the A. P. A. Bar Room Brawl at Vengeance in 2003, he was selected by Rhino to face Chris Benoit on the July 31, 2003 Smackdown!. Played by Steve Lombardi, he wrestled Rob Conway on an October 2005 episode of Raw. On June 2, 2007, Doink and Kane defeated Umaga and Kevin Thorn on the 34th edition of Saturday Night's Main Event. On the July 12, 2010 Raw, Doink teamed with William Regal and Zack Ryder to lose to Santino Marella, Vladimir Kozlov and The Great Khali, when he was pinned by Khali. On the July 2, 2012 Raw, he lost to Heath Slater, he reappeared on July 23, alongside several other WWE alumni, to help Lita take down Slater on WWE Raw 1000, the one thousandth episode of Raw. In early 2010, Osborne reinvented the Doink character to resemble Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight, nicknaming the incarnation'Reborne Again'.
The new character debuted on March 27 for ISPW in New Jersey. On May 23, 2010, Doink the Clown, portrayed by Dusty Wolfe, interfered against Skandor Akbar and his men Dr. Knuckles and Rommel; this caused them to lose the Wrecking Ball Wrestling tag titles. In retaliation Akbar called on the original Doink Matt Borne. Wolfe and Borne were scheduled to meet on August 15, Wolfe would no show the event. On August 8, 2010, Borne, as Doink the Clown, won the Wrecking Ball Wrestling Championship. Matt Osborne – the original Doink, left WWF in December 1993, died June 28, 2013. Steve Keirn – wrestled as the "illusion" Doink at WrestleMania IX and the "real" Doink at house shows. Steve Lombardi – wrestled as Doink at house shows and dressed as Doink for various WWE appearances. Ray Licameli – wrestled as Doink in the WWF after Osborne left the company. Dusty Wolfe – wrestled as Doink in the NWA and other indie promotions. Ace Darling – wrestled Scotty Flamingo
Warner Media, LLC, doing business as WarnerMedia, is an American multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate owned by AT&T and headquartered in New York City. It was formed in 1990 as Time Warner Inc. from the merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications. The company has film, television and publishing operations, consists of the assets of the former Warner Communications, HBO, Turner Broadcasting System, its assets include Warner Bros. WarnerMedia Entertainment and WarnerMedia News & Sports, as well as a 10% ownership stake in Hulu. On October 22, 2016, AT&T announced an offer to acquire Time Warner for $108.7 billion. The proposed merger was confirmed on June 12, 2018, after AT&T won an antitrust lawsuit that the U. S. Justice Department filed in 2017 to attempt to block the acquisition; the merger closed two days with the company becoming a subsidiary of AT&T. Despite spinning off Time Inc. in 2014, the company retained the Time Warner name until AT&T's acquisition in 2018. The company's previous assets included Time Inc.
AOL, Time Warner Cable, Warner Books, Warner Music Group. The company ranked No. 98 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue. Time magazine, the first weekly news magazine in the United States, debuted in 1923. Four years in 1927, Warner Bros. released the world's first feature-length talking picture, The Jazz Singer. In 1963, recommendations from Time Inc. based on how it delivered magazines led to the introduction of ZIP codes by the United States Post Office. In 1972, Kinney National Company spun off its non-entertainment assets due to a financial scandal over its parking operations, renamed itself Warner Communications Inc, it was the holding company for Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Music Group during the 1970s and 1980s, it owned DC Comics and Mad, as well as a majority stake in Garden State National Bank. Warner's initial divestiture efforts led by Garden State CEO Charles A. Agemian were blocked by Garden State board member William A. Conway in 1978.
In 1975, Home Box Office became the first TV network to broadcast nationally via satellite, debuting with the "Thrilla in Manila" boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. In 1975, Warner expanded under the guidance of CEO Steve Ross, formed a joint venture with American Express, named Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, which held cable channels including MTV, The Movie Channel. Warner Bros. bought out American Express's half in 1984, sold the venture a year to Viacom, which renamed it MTV Networks. In 1976, the Turner–owned WTCG originated the "superstation" concept, transmitting via satellite to cable systems nationwide and pioneering the basic cable business model. WTCG was renamed WTBS in 1979. In 1976, Nolan Bushnell sold Inc. to Warner Communications for an estimated $2 -- 12 million. Warner made considerable profits with Atari, which it owned from 1976 to 1984. While part of Warner, Atari achieved its greatest success, selling millions of Atari 2600s and computers. At its peak, Atari accounted for a third of Warner's annual income, was the fastest-growing company in the history of the United States at the time.
In 1980, Warner purchased The Franklin Mint for about $225 million. The combination was short lived: Warner sold The Franklin Mint in 1985 to American Protection Industries Inc. for $167.5 million. However, Warner retained Franklin Mint's Eastern Mountain Sports as well as The Franklin Mint Center, which it leased back to API. In 1980, Turner launched CNN, the first 24-hour all-news network, redefining the way the world received breaking news. In January 1983, Warner expanded their interests to baseball. Under the direction of Caesar P. Kimmel, executive vice-president, bought 48 percent of the Pittsburgh Pirates for $10 million; the company put up its share for sale in November 1984 following losses of $6 million due to its failed attempt to launch a cable sports package. The team's majority owner, John W. Galbreath, soon followed suit after learning of Warner's actions. Both Galbreath and Warner sold the Pirates to local investors in March 1986. In 1984, due to major losses spurred by subsidiary Atari Inc.'s losses, Warner sold Atari Inc.'s Consumer Division assets to Jack Tramiel.
It kept the rest of the company and named it Atari Games reducing it to just the Coin Division. They sold Atari Games to Namco in 1985, repurchased it in 1992, renaming it Time Warner Interactive, until it was sold to Midway Games in 1996. In a long-expected deal, Warner Communications acquired Lorimar-Telepictures. Plans to merge Time Inc. and Warner Communications were made public on March 4, 1989. During the summer of that same year, Paramount Communications launched a $12.2 billion hostile bid to acquire Time, Inc. in an attempt to end a stock-swap merge
Robert Edward Turner III is an American media mogul and philanthropist. As a businessman, he is known as founder of the Cable News Network, the first 24-hour cable news channel. In addition, he founded WTBS, which pioneered the superstation concept in cable television, which on became TBS; as a philanthropist, he is known for his $1 billion gift to support the United Nations, which created the United Nations Foundation, a public charity to broaden domestic support for the UN. Turner serves as Chairman of the United Nations Foundation board of directors. Additionally, in 2001, Turner co-founded the Nuclear Threat Initiative with US Senator Sam Nunn. NTI is a non-partisan organization dedicated to reducing global reliance on, preventing the proliferation of nuclear and biological weapons, he serves as Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors. Turner's media empire began with his father's billboard business, Turner Outdoor Advertising, which he took over in 1963 after his father's suicide, it was worth $1 million.
His purchase of an Atlanta UHF station in 1970 began the Turner Broadcasting System. CNN revolutionized news media, covering the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986 and the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Turner turned the Atlanta Braves baseball team into a nationally popular franchise and launched the charitable Goodwill Games, he helped revive interest in professional wrestling by buying World Championship Wrestling. Turner's penchant for controversial statements earned him the nicknames "The Mouth of the South" and "Captain Outrageous". Turner has devoted his assets to environmental causes, he was the largest private landowner in the United States until John C. Malone surpassed him in 2011, he uses much of his land for ranches to re-popularize bison meat, amassing the largest herd in the world. He created the environmental-themed animated series Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Turner was born on November 19, 1938 in Cincinnati, the son of Florence and Robert Edward Turner II, a billboard magnate.
When he was nine, his family moved to Georgia. He attended a private boys' preparatory school in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Turner attended Brown University and was vice-president of the Brown Debating Union and captain of the sailing team, he became a member of Kappa Sigma. Turner majored in Classics. Turner's father wrote saying that his choice made him "appalled horrified", that he "almost puked". Turner changed his major to Economics, but before receiving a degree, he was expelled for having a female student in his dormitory room. Turner was awarded an honorary B. A. from Brown University in November 1989 when he returned to campus to keynote the National Association of College Broadcasters second annual conference. After leaving Brown University, Turner returned to the South in late 1960 to become general manager of the Macon, Georgia branch of his father's business. Following his father's March 1963 suicide, Turner became president and chief executive of Turner Advertising Company when he was 24 and turned the firm into a global enterprise.
He joined the Young Republicans, saying he "felt at ease among these budding conservatives and was following in Ed Turner's far-right footsteps," according to It Ain't As Easy As It Looks. During the Vietnam War Era, Turner's business prospered; the book observed that Turner "discovered his father had sheltered a substantial amount of taxable income over the years by lending it back to the company" and "discovered that the billboard business could be a gold mine, a tax-depreciable revenue stream that threw off enormous amounts of cash with no capital investment." In the late 1960s, Turner began buying Southern radio stations. In 1969, he sold his radio stations to buy a struggling television station in Atlanta, WJRJ, Channel 17. At the time, UHF stations did well only in markets without VHF stations, like Fresno, California, or in markets with only one station on VHF. Independent UHF stations were not ratings winners or that profitable in larger markets, but Turner had the foresight that this would change as people wanted more than several choices.
He changed the call sign to WTCG. The station ran old movies from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, along with theatrical cartoons and old sitcoms and old drama shows; as better syndicated product fell off the VHF stations, Turner would acquire it for his station at a low price. WTCG ran second- and third-hand programming of the time, including fare such as Gilligan's Island, I Love Lucy, Star Trek and Bugs Bunny. WTCG acquired rights to telecast the Atlanta Braves baseball games in 1973. Turner purchased UHF Channel 36 WRET in Charlotte, North Carolina and ran it with a format similar to WTCG. In 1976, the FCC allowed WTCG to use a satellite to transmit content to local cable TV providers around the nation. On December 17, 1976, the rechristened WTCG-TV Super-Station began to broadcast old movies, situation comedy reruns and sports nationwide to cable-TV subscribers; as cable systems developed, many carried his station to free their schedules, which increased his viewers and advertising. The number of subscribers reached 2 million and Turner's net worth rose to $100 million.
He bought a 5,000-acre plantation in South Carolina, for $2 million. In 1978, Turner struck a deal with a student-operated radio station at MIT, Technology Broadcasting System, to obtain the ri
Terry Gene Bollea, better known by his ring name as Hulk Hogan, is an American retired pro wrestler, television personality and musician. According to IGN, Hogan is "the most recognized wrestling star worldwide and the most popular wrestler of the 1980s", he enjoyed considerable mainstream popularity between 1984 and 1993 as a heroic character in the World Wrestling Federation, which continued during the mid 1990s in World Championship Wrestling. In 1996, he became a villain. Hogan headlined multiple editions of the premier annual events of the WWF and WCW, WrestleMania and Starrcade. Aside from those promotions, he has notably performed for the American Wrestling Association, New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Hogan is a thirteen-time world champion: a one-time IWGP Heavyweight Championship in its early version, a six-time WWF World Heavyweight Champion/WWF Champion and a six-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, his first WCW World Heavyweight Championship reign is the longest in history, while his first WWF Championship reign is the third-longest ever.
Hogan was the first wrestler to win consecutive Royal Rumbles, in 1990 and 1991, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2005, by Sylvester Stallone. Pro Wrestling Illustrated recognizes Hogan as twelve-time world champion, because it never recognised the IWGP Title as a world championship. Instead, WCW recognized that belt as a world title. During and after wrestling, Hogan had an extensive acting career, beginning with his 1982 antagonist role in Rocky III, he has starred in several movies and three television shows, as well as in Right Guard commercials and the video game, Hulk Hogan's Main Event. He was the frontman for The Wrestling Boot Band, whose sole record, Hulk Rules, reached #12 on the Billboard Top Kid Audio chart in 1995. Terry Eugene Bollea was born in Augusta, Georgia, on August 11, 1953, the son of construction foreman Pietro "Peter" Bollea and homemaker and dance teacher Ruth V. Bollea, he is of French, Italian and Scottish descent. When he was one and a half years old, his family moved to Florida.
As a boy, he was a pitcher in Little League Baseball. He attracted scouts from the New York Yankees and the Cincinnati Reds, but an injury ended his baseball career, he began watching professional wrestling at 16 years old. While in high school, he revered Dusty Rhodes, he attended cards at the Tampa Sportatorium, it was at one of those wrestling cards where he first turned his attention towards Superstar Billy Graham and looked to him for inspiration. Hogan was a musician, spending a decade playing fretless bass guitar in several Florida-based rock bands, he went on to study at the University of South Florida. After music gigs began to get in the way of his time in college, Hogan decided to drop out of the University of South Florida before receiving a degree. Hogan and two local musicians formed a band called Ruckus in 1976; the band soon became popular in the Tampa Bay region. During his spare time, Hogan worked out at Hector's Gym in the Tampa Bay area, where he began lifting. Many of the wrestlers who were competing in the Florida region visited the bars where Ruckus was performing.
Among those attending his performances were Jack and Gerald Brisco, two brothers who wrestled together as a tag team in the Florida region. Impressed by Hogan's physical stature, the Brisco brothers asked Hiro Matsuda—the man who trained wrestlers working for Championship Wrestling from Florida —to make him a potential trainee. In 1976, the two brothers asked Hogan to try wrestling. Hogan agreed. At first, Mike Graham, the son of CWF promoter Eddie Graham, refused to put Hogan in the ring. However, after Hogan quit Ruckus and started telling people in town that he was going to be a wrestler, Graham agreed to accept the Brisco Brothers' request. In mid-1977, after training for more than a year with Matsuda, the Brisco brothers dropped by Matsuda's gym to see Hogan. During this visit, Jack Brisco handed Hogan a pair of wrestling boots and informed him that he was scheduled to wrestle his first match the following week. In his professional wrestling debut, Eddie Graham booked him against Brian Blair in Fort Myers, Florida on August 10, 1977 in CWF.
A short time Bollea donned a mask and assumed the persona of "The Super Destroyer", a hooded character first played by Don Jardine and subsequently used by other wrestlers. Hogan could no longer work with Hiro Matsuda, whom he felt was an overbearing trainer, left CWF. After declining an offer to wrestle for the Kansas City circuit, Hogan took a hiatus from wrestling and managed The Anchor club, a private club in Cocoa Beach, for a man named Whitey Bridges. Whitey and Hogan became close friends, decided to open a gym together. Soon after, Hogan's friend Ed Leslie came to Cocoa Beach to help Hogan and Bridges manage both the Anchor Club and the Whitey and Terry's Olympic Gym. On his spare time, he and Leslie worked out in the gym together, eventua
Eugene Arthur Okerlund, better known by his ring name "Mean" Gene Okerlund, was an American professional wrestling interviewer and television host. He was best known for his work in the World Wrestling World Championship Wrestling. Okerlund was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006 by Hulk Hogan, he was signed to a lifetime contract with WWE and worked for promotional programs WWE Network programming and the TV series. After studying broadcast journalism at the University of Nebraska, Okerlund landed a job as a disc jockey at KOIL, a popular radio station in Omaha, Nebraska. Okerlund moved to Minneapolis where he worked for WDGY as a radio host under the alias of Gene Leader, he left that position to become Program Director at KWDB. Okerlund worked in Minneapolis for a local television station in the front office. Gene fronted the band Gene Caroll and the Shades releasing "Is It Ever Gonna Happen" on the album "In This Corner" Norton Records in 1962. Okerlund left the radio industry for a position at the American Wrestling Association in 1970, where he filled in for ailing ring announcer and interviewer Marty O'Neill becoming O'Neill's permanent replacement by the end of the decade.
He stayed with the AWA until the end of 1983, when he was one of many AWA personnel to join the expanding World Wrestling Federation. He stayed with the WWF for nine years as their top interviewer and was host of such WWF shows as All-American Wrestling and Tuesday Night Titans. In 1984, Okerlund and Hulk Hogan faced George Steele in Minneapolis, he was supposed to stay on the apron and let Hogan fight, but when Hogan gave him a high five, the referee mistook it for a tag. Okerlund had to go in, but before his opponent touched him, he got out of the way and tagged Hogan back in. Okerlund pinned Mr. Fuji for the victory. Okerlund was part of one of the most infamous bloopers in professional wrestling history at SummerSlam in 1989. Okerlund was set to interview WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion "Ravishing" Rick Rude and Rude's manager Bobby Heenan prior to Rude's title defense against The Ultimate Warrior when the SummerSlam backdrop fell backwards; the shot of the SummerSlam backdrop falling can be seen in the video induction of Mean Gene at the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.
Okerlund turned around and said, "Fuck it," along with some other words with no audio. The cameras cut away to a live shot of the crowd, with play-by-play announcer Tony Schiavone and color commentator Jesse Ventura attempting to restore order. After a short while, Okerlund's interview with Rude and Heenan went as planned. According to a shoot interview with Okerlund, conducted by RF Video, the SummerSlam blooper was taped beforehand. Okerlund explained. Meanwhile, a frantic Vince McMahon was on a headset instructing Ventura to cover for Okerlund. Ventura instead made fun of Okerlund's on-air gaffe and jokingly regarded Okerlund as a "troublemaker." Okerlund appeared at SummerSlam 1993 and made his final WWF appearance on the September 18, 1993 edition of Superstars. He left the WWF when his contract expired, he stated in an RF shoot interview, that although he could've re-negotiated a new contract, he was never offered one, thus opting to become an interviewer for World Championship Wrestling.
He claimed at the time of his hiring with WCW that he had not been on speaking terms with McMahon for the past few years he was working in the WWF. He debuted on the November 1993 edition of WCW Saturday Night. Three years his contract expired with WCW and he was off television for two months in the fall of 1996, his final appearance was at WCW Fall Brawl on September 15, 1996. Okerlund had talks with the WWF during this time, they could not come to terms. Mike Tenay took over the Pay Per View Reports. Okerlund signed a new contract with WCW and returned on the November 11, 1996 edition of WCW Monday Nitro. Okerlund wrestled twice in WCW; the first was in mid-2000 when he and Buff Bagwell faced Chris Kanyon and fellow announcer Mark Madden, with Bagwell and Okerlund winning. However, Madden wanted Okerlund back in the ring the next week in a one on one match-up; the two did wrestle again and Okerlund won the match with the assistance of Pamela Paulshock. After that, he was with WCW until January of 2001.
Shortly before WWF's purchase of WCW in 2001, Okerlund rejoined his old promotion. His first assignment back with WWF was the Gimmick Battle Royal during WrestleMania X-Seven on April 1, 2001, along with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, he hosted WWE Confidential in 2002. Okerlund hosted WWE Madison Square Garden Classics, a weekly series, airing on the MSG Network, featuring classic WWE matches that took place at Madison Square Garden from the last four decades. He's the host for the WWE Classics On Demand Hall of Fame section, which takes a look at a different WWE Hall of Famer each month. Okerlund was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 1, 2006. By Hulk Hogan. In June 2008, Okerlund began hosting WWE Vintage Collection, a program which showcases archive footage from the extensive WWE video library. Okerlund conducted the interviews on the three-hour "Old School" episode of Raw on November 15, 2010, where he interviewed John Cena, Randy Orton, members of The Nexus and Mae Young in similar fashion as to how interviews were done in the 1980s.
Okerlund appeared in a few Old School merchandising segments, promoting WWE's new Old School merchandise line. On April 10, 2012, during the WWE Smackdown: Blast from the Past, Okerlund teamed with World Heavywe
WCW Monday Nitro
WCW Monday Nitro is a professional wrestling television program, produced by World Championship Wrestling and broadcast weekly every Monday night on TNT from September 4, 1995 to March 26, 2001, when WCW's assets were purchased by the WWF. For its entirety, the program went head-to-head with the World Wrestling Federation's Monday Night Raw. Created by Eric Bischoff and Ted Turner, the debut of Nitro began the Monday Night Wars, a television ratings battle between the WWF and WCW that saw each company resort to cutthroat tactics. Although comparable to Raw in popularity from the beginning, Nitro began to dominate its rival in television ratings, based on the strength of the New World Order, a rebellious group of wrestlers that wanted to take over WCW. Beginning in June 1996, Nitro beat Raw in the ratings for 83 consecutive weeks, forcing WWF owner Vince McMahon to usher in the more adult-oriented "Attitude Era"; as the nWo storyline grew stagnant, fan interest waned and Raw began to close the ratings gap.
In April 1998, a few weeks after Stone Cold Steve Austin won his first WWF Championship, Raw beat Nitro in the ratings for the first time in two years. The shows would continue to trade ratings wins back and forth until November 1998 when Raw pulled ahead of Nitro for good. Besides broadcasting from various arenas and locations across the United States and Canada, Nitro organized special broadcasts from the Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando in 1996, aired annual Spring Break-Out episodes from Panama City Beach, Florida or South Padre Island, Texas starting in March 1997, filmed some episodes in Australia and the United Kingdom during the fall of 2000; the rights to Nitro now belong to WWE. As of June 30, 2016, all episodes have been made available for streaming on the WWE Network. WWE has released three Best of WCW Monday Nitro DVD sets; the first episode of Nitro was broadcast from the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota on September 4, 1995. The featured matches on the one-hour broadcast were Brian Pillman versus Jushin Thunder Liger, Ric Flair versus WCW United States Heavyweight Champion Sting, WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan taking on Big Bubba Rogers.
The show was highlighted by the return of Lex Luger to WCW after having spent the previous two plus years wrestling for the WWF, where he had been one of the promotion's top stars. Luger's appearance was jarring because he had just wrestled a match for the WWF the previous evening; the event set the tone for Nitro's "anything can happen" atmosphere, prefigured the similar defections of WWF wrestlers Scott Hall and Kevin Nash the following year. The title video for the debut episode of Nitro featured multiple shots of Big Van Vader, who parted ways with WCW following a backstage altercation with Paul Orndorff. Absent from the first episode, he had been scheduled to face Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on the September 11 edition, but was replaced by Lex Luger, who issued a challenge to Hogan on the debut show. Vader would never perform on Nitro, embarked on a WWF career in January 1996; the advent of Monday Nitro brought with it an intense rivalry between that show and the WWF's Monday Night Raw program.
This rivalry is known to wrestling fans as the "Monday Night Wars". Throughout the Monday Night Wars between Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon, Nitro was gaining on its WWF counterpart popularity-wise. Soon Nitro would surpass Raw in the TV ratings. Nitro beat Raw in the ratings for 84 consecutive weeks until Raw regained ground in the ratings war. At its peak, the rivalry resulted in performers on either show trading verbal insults and challenges. At one point, Eric Bischoff challenged Vince McMahon to face him in a match to be held at Slamboree 1998. McMahon never did not appear. Nitro became popular as result of WCW's extensive roster of stars. Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan were some of the major stars signed with WCW and appearing on the Nitro program at this time. WCW's lineup of cruiserweights – smaller wrestlers known for their crowd-pleasing high-flying wrestling maneuvers – provided a strong set of setup matches for their main events. With the introduction of the New World Order, Nitro started its unprecedented run of ratings domination.
With former WWF wrestlers Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hogan as rebellious heels, the company seemed to have a winning story and a great future. Since Nitro was live and Raw was taped, Nitro was seen as far less predictable and thus more entertaining than its WWF counterpart. Only sixty minutes in length, Nitro was expanded to two hours following the 1996 NBA Playoffs while Raw waited until February 1997 to expand to a second hour. Nitro remained a two-hour program from May 27, 1996 until January 1998, when WCW and TNT agreed to a third hour for the still-#1 wrestling program in the country. Eric Bischoff soon became the voice of Nitro and began to air Nitro a couple of minutes before Raw so he could give away the results of the WWF program so fans had no reason to switch over to the competition provided that week's Raw was taped. While Raw was taking a new approach to programming with its "WWF Attitude Era", Nitro would start producing lackluster shows with the same storylines. Hogan and the rest of the nWo never lost and the once elite group was now bloated in size and recruiting midcard wrestlers.