Six Reasons Pro Wrestling's Popularity Fell in the Early 2000s

Darrell MaysContributor IMarch 22, 2010

Pro wrestling was smoking hot in the late '90s from things like the nWo and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

However, from late 2000 to early 2001, wrestling took a dive.

Many reasons are blamed, but here are the six reasons that I think greatly affected it.


1. The death of Owen Hart in May of 1999

Hart was killed at a live pay-per-view in Kansas City, MO in front of about 15,000 fans. Of course, the fans in attendance were not told he died, and many thought the fall was part of the show. The PPV audience was told by Jim Ross about 30 minutes later of Owen's passing.

Many have criticized WWE for continuing the show after the accident, but you tell 15,000 people to go home with no explanation. It's not that easy. The media then decided to jump on the anti-wrestling bandwagon with zero knowledge and "report" what they thought of the accident. It only fueled the fire that wrestling was bad and evil.


2. Stone Cold takes time off for neck surgery

It's never a good thing when the hottest guy in the world of pro wrestling in the last 20 years has to take time off and be away from the spotlight to take care of an injury.

Wrestling fans in general have a short attention span, and a lot only watch the sport for one or two guys.

Many fans that were solely Stone Cold fans stopped watching wrestling while Austin was away.

Then when he returned, they had no clue, as they hadn't watched wrestling in almost a year.


3. Eric Bischoff being taken off WCW television and replaced with Vince Russo

It was a disaster in the making when WCW brass decided that Eric Bischoff needed a vacation and decided to bring in Vince Russo to pretty much run WCW. 

Russo may have been a part of making WWE RAW mainstream again, but the same tactics wouldn't work in WCW.

Russo tried and in time failed, but in the process he drove away many fans from watching wrestling forever.


4. WCW trying to recreate the nWo magic over and over again

WCW ran out of ideas and kept trying to make the nWo hot again.

Sadly, by this time the nWo was a shell of its former self, and the magic just wasn't there.

Adding new members or changing the colors to black and silver didn't work. Many fans were insulted and realized that WCW had no idea how to compete with WWE anymore.


5. Kevin Nash defeating Goldberg and ending his undefeated streak

When Kevin Nash decided to take advantage of his booking powers and put himself in the main event of Starrcade 98 and face Goldberg for the WCW Championship, many knew what was going to happen.

Nash defeated Goldberg and took the title, ending the hottest streak of the hottest star WCW had at that time.

It was a foolish and selfish move by Nash and ended the best storyline they had.


6. WWE buying WCW and ECW

In the early spring of 2001, when WWE bought WCW and then later ECW, it marked the end of the Monday Night Wars.

Some fans were happy that WWE had finally defeated WCW, but with no direct competition for WWE, things got stale. WWE had no pressure to improve their product and lost fans' interest.

The exciting and interesting but eventually poorly played out, "Invasion" angle of WCW/ECW invading the WWF was entertaining.

However, with hardly any top WCW stars except for Booker T and DDP, and only RVD and Tommy Dreamer from ECW, involved in the Invasion, many fans felt cheated and that it could've been a lot better.

Truth be known, it would've been better if so many of the top WCW stars hadn't decided to sit out and collect the big money from their WCW contracts and actually gave a damn about the fans—then the storyline would've been the biggest in pro wrestling history!



Well, there you have it—the six reasons that pro wrestling fell from grace in the early 2000s. If you have any other reasons I forgot or disagree with me, feedback is always welcome.

Thanks for reading my work.