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WCW's Third Hour

Hey Scott,

How does WCW's 3 hour shows compare to WWE's? I never watched their program start to finish during that time, but I don't remember people complaining about the extra hour in 1998 or ever stating that it had anything to do with WCW losing the MNW.

Thoughts?

a)  People absolutely complained loudly and repeatedly about Nitro's third hour.  That being said, at least WCW had a giant roster of guys they could use to fill that time.

b)  I only watched Thunder at that point because I couldn't be bothered to sit through 3 hours of Nitro, especially since TSN would typically delay the airing until Tuesday or later.  So I couldn't even offer much of an opinion anyway.  As I've said many times, my experiences in the Monday Night Wars were very much focused only on the WWF side of things.  

Comments

  1. I was a WCW guy during the Monday Night Wars, so I'm biased. But in my opinion, a 3 hour Nitro from that time period was absolutely more entertaining than today's 3 hour Raw. It certainly helped that WCW had one of the greatest rosters in wrestling history. The program was more varied with the cruiserweight division and they were never lacking in top stars. What also helped, I'm sure, is that you could flip back and forth between Nitro and Raw if you did get bored.

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  2. WCW had a giant roster to fill out the time, but 9 times out of 10, they didn't use them correctly. 3 hour Nitros were usually not filled with 5 star Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Jericho classics, and more often than not were instead filled with Bryan Adams vs. Chip Minton snooze fests.

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  3. 3 hour Nitro's were absolutely too long also, but I do think it had two things going for it over Raw...you had a wider variety of styles (a cruiserweight match between, say, Rey and Psychosis felt different from a technical showcase between Benoit and Malenko which felt different from a WCW main event match), and it at least felt to me at the time like things happened. They wouldn't always be good things or anything, but a lot of times Raw drags and it feels like nothing at all happens in 3 hours. Plus everyone is wrestling the "WWE style". I like it in general, but it'd be nice to have a little variety. Occasionally we get more of a quick spotfest, and occasionally we get a good hard hitting match (ala Cesaro VS Sheamus a few months ago), but usually it's the same general style, which is really noticeable to me when everyone is wrestling 15 minute matches against the same guys every single week.


    None of that is to say the 3 hour Nitro era was better than the 3 hour Raw era...I think they both had their pros and cons (and Nitro got really terrible later on), but I did find the third hour of Nitro more tolerable than the third hour of Raw.

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  4. 3 hour Nitros were unbearable, but were somehow still much better than 3 hour RAWs of today. Maybe it's because we had 2 shows to switch between, but I'd take Chucky threatening Rick Steiner over Adam Rose vs The Bunny any day.

    I think at this point we've had more 3 hour RAWs than Nitros. The 3 hour Nitro era was just January 1998 to December 1999, I believe

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  5. That third hour was a chore and people complained about it long and loud.

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  6. I can't wait until the first four hour RAW special!

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  7. You mean Nitro got really awesome later on. That's when it was a dumpster fire, but the dumpster was full of fireworks next to a hospital for blind children. Stuff was just happening non-stop and none of it made any sense. It was scary and loud, but never boring.

    Seriously, you make an excellent point about the styles. That was the one legitimately good thing Nitro had going for it. And Kevin Nash treating his promos like open mic night was great, too. But yeah, Nitro was generally awful no matter how long you watched it.

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  8. I'll qualify this by saying no wrestling show should be three hours.


    But Nitro was much better than three hour RAW.


    Cruiserweights. TV Title, more meaningful US Title, lots of midcard feuds that they'd actually give a little time,they'd utilize squashes to get guys over (none of this endless 50/50 booking).

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  9. I liked WCW's three hours better. It was too much but they had a huge roster so it was mostly just one random match after another, which I liked. Raw feels like one long repeatative show.

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  10. I loved three-hour Nitro. I was a flipper and as I was 15 when Nitro started and it took a long time for porno pictures to load there was plenty of rasslin'.

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  11. Three hours was always ridiculous, but they definitely knew how to program and counter program it.

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  12. Mom, can we PLEASE have an ISDN line??? I need to... do... Homework.

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  13. You guys are on fucking crack. The three hour Nitros were the drizzling shits. They'd have entire hours without a single match, just Hogan going to the gun range or some shit.

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  14. There WERE some times where Guerrero flashed his charisma. He had a match with Flair in 1995 or 1996, right after he jumped from ECW, and that's an easy ***1/2 match (maybe even **** if you can stomach the sight of Eddie's mullet).

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  15. And that's a SHOOT BROTHA!

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  16. Still better than RAW

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  17. Don't tempt them please

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  18. It's true. Nitro had so many unique elements thrown against the wall that it was different than today's Raw and perversly entertaining

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  19. Adam "Colorado" CurryJanuary 14, 2015 at 10:14 PM

    The problem with the 3 hour Nitros was that instead of using that first hour to do compelling shit to try and hook people to stick around for hours 2 and 3 they just treated it as bullshit useless airtime because it was unopposed and didn't affect the ratings against Raw. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm not surprised they went out of business, I'm surprised they didn't go out of business a lot sooner.

    That being said, I'll take the worst 3 hour Nitro over any 3 hour Raw.

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  20. 3 hour Nitro was better because I actually liked the undercard guys. The main event of Nitro was always terrible, the opening segment was almost always awful, but I wanted to see what Rey and the cruiserweights were doing, or Benoit/Malenko. Even the throwaway segments of WCW like with Disco or the garbage "hardcore" brawls were more interesting than the main event.


    The reason 3 hour WWE is so bad is because I don't give 2 shits about anyone but like 3 or 4 guys and I'm tired of Cena aka the perpetual main event. So Raw is just like 3 hour Nitro, stale beginning, boring main event except I barely care about anyone in the middle. Instead of watching Raw on DVR and finishing it in 45 minutes, it's a sign that maybe I should just not be watching at all.

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  21. One very big positive about the nitros was that every few months, they went to someplace other than a big arena. I loved the spring break episodes for example.

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  22. Adam "Colorado" CurryJanuary 14, 2015 at 10:23 PM

    Raw badly needs a set redesign, and they need to go back to having Raw and SD having different looks other than one is red and one is blue.

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  23. DJ Ran, Lee Marshall and the WCW Road Report, Mean Gene Hotline updates, Nitro Girls, Riki Rachtman, No Limit Soldiers, WCW Concert Series featuring Kiss and Megadeath, West Texas Rednecks Music Videos, multiple Konnan/Rey Mysterio Music Videos, that's not even scratching the surface

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  24. Adam "Colorado" CurryJanuary 14, 2015 at 10:25 PM

    Outside of the Nitro Girls everything you just mentioned was absolutely fucking terrible, but I get your point.

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  25. Hey...West Texas Rednecks Music Videos were fantastic. The rest was awful though.

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  26. For better or for worse, Nitro did have a slightly different format for a LOT of those three hour shows, especially once they started losing in the ratings consistently. They tended to load up hour two and three and ran just a few matches during the first hour -- and typically filled it up with angles, interviews and video packages.

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  27. The only new thing that wwe had done in the last 5 years is add the ppv commentary section. Everything else seems so cut and paste on every show. At least try something different like going to small or new places for tv or having different announcers depending on the match (like what mike tenay did) or doing a 1 night tourney.

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  28. Adding to those who speak the truth: the three hour Nitros were basically trainwrecks but the good kind of trainwrecks where you had everything but the kitchen sink thrown on TV and as such, you could see a wide variety of stuff and more importantly, you never know what was going to happen next.

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  29. I've stopped watching current wwe full time. I can take about 20 minutes then I either get bored, embarrassed or angry. I read recaps, BoD reviews, or watch on the network and youtube something really bad that I missed (like Roman Reign's recent awful promos. A true highlight). I'm currently watching a Nitro from late 95 and NOBODY is telling a bean stalk story or giving lame comedy when they want to fight soneone! They yell at them and then try to beat them up. When did it stop being so real and simple!!!!!??? Ugh. Also. Im really enjoying watching Bobby Hernan subtly give his middle finger every time Mongo talks on camera. It's awesome

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  30. TSN actually edited the three-hour Nitros down to two hours, so it was entertaining to see what they decided 'made the cut.' I suspect the editor was an IWC fan, as more often than not, you'd see the 10-minute pointless NWO interviews or the Adams/Minton type of matches get cut and an exciting lucha six-man tag kept into the show.

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  31. "[Regal's] facial expressions tell a finer story than any Shakespearean novel."

    As someone who has read every one of Shakespeare's novels, I can vouch for that.

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  32. Think of what happens in three tv show episodes and compare that to how little usually happens on a three hour Raw. They haven't added any new content to fill the time they just stretch the same segments out longer.

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  33. 3 hrs of wrestling was far more tolerable when you could switch channels and go back and forth. When one company was doing something boring or stupid just switch over. These days it's Raw or nothing.

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  34. That reminds me: whatever happened to that plan a few months back to do a live Raw from the NXT arena at Full Sail?

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  35. The tallest midget in the circus.

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  36. Can you speak the truth on why you think Brock Lesnar is a lazy fuck? Thanks.

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  37. To me, the craziest thing about the three hour Nitros is how often (at least, it seemed to me at the time), even with three hours at their disposal...they'd "run out of time" and the show would cut off in the middle of something...a match, a brawl, something... Used to drive me crazy...

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  38. Whatever bitches, Survivor Series always gets a bigger buyrate than SummerSlam.

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  39. But this was mostly only in 99 and later. Before, 3 hours of Nitro were great. Later it was just bad. But it was so bad, that you had to shake your head so much, that you wouldn't get bored.

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  40. They should have made RAW 3 hours in 2002 instead of splitting the roster.

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  41. On one side, it's the way it should be, because why would you pay money for a PPV to see a 5 star Guerrero vs Jericho match, when you get it for free?

    On the other side, they had plenty of very good matches on Nitro like 1000 times Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko.

    But in the end TV shows SHOULD not contain better wrestling than PPVs. It would be like if a movie trailer is 2 hours long while the actual movie is only 5 minutes. The appetizer shouldn't be better than the main course.

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  42. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogJanuary 15, 2015 at 2:56 AM

    They cared more about TV ratings than PPV buyrates, profits be damned.

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  43. TJ: Interesting interview with Bryan, where he mentions he was working injured since sometime in 2013. Also of note: the match that kickstarted the injury was the one that HHH called off because he was worried DB was hurt (and they later argued about).

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2329192-daniel-bryan-exclusive-on-his-injury-style-change-and-return-to-wwe-smackdown

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  44. And I think that's the main reason why WCW went down and not Vince Russo or AOL.

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  45. Three hours is way too long for a weekly show, in my opinion. My experience of watching PPVs live is that people tend to flag a little bit in the middle of the show, purely because the attention span starts to drop away. But at least those are 'special events' and tend to be wall to wall action. Three hours for your weekly show is AT LEAST an hour too long for me, especially with supporting shows like Smackdown, Main Event, Superstars etc offering hours more programming. It's overkill. Look how much NXT cram into an hour!

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  46. The incident you speak of happened exactly once and was never tried again. Can't say for certain if there were times there were just in-ring interviews for a straight hour during the show. As Fuj said, it's still way, way, way better than today's Raw.

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  47. 3 hours of Raw in 2002 would gave just meant more screentime for Trips. The brand split was important because it forced WWE (specifically Smackdown brand) to create new stars.

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  48. I think Scott once said 90 minutes is the perfect length of time for a prime time wrestling show. I concur.

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  49. That also makes it a bad show to record. The fact it all bleeds together means I used to skip a lot to get it over with, if they actually had enough content I would've watched it in sessions. Now I just YouTube what I deem relevant after reading recaps but recently that's pretty much become one video a week.

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  50. You can thank 3 hour Nitros for the existence of Kendall Windham.

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  51. Interesting how Nitro was 3 hours long and WCW still couldn't think of anything to do with Lanny Poffo.

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  52. Wasn't there another guy they had under contract for years that didn't wrestle or am I thinking of the guy that became the Maestro?

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  53. Remember the infamous nWo Nitro episode where they tore the set down and rebuilt the show? That was torture to watch and it was 'only' two hours long and it was still better than the shit WWE puts on today lol.

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  54. Three hour Nitros were too long but at least you had WWF (which was way better anyway) on the other channel. So it's not like anybody in their right mind was watching an entire Nitro. For me (and I was a total WWF guy), I'd tune into the first hour of Nitro almost like it was a preshow and then flip to Raw at 9. That's not to say I never flipped back and forth cause if if WWF had something on that didn't interest me (the HHH-led DX doing their "Are you ready" routine for instance), I'd flip back to Nitro.


    The real problem with Nitro is how unprofessional they were in putting the show together. Today's Raws might be boring as hell, but at least they're organzied. Nitro had three hours, and would STILL run out of time. Hour two of Nitro was full of so much filler and it usually ran long. Then when it came time for the main-event, we'd get that all too familiar "We're out of time!" declaration from Tony. I remember the night after Starrcade '97, Hogan and Sting had a rematch. It was boring, the whole show was boring. But then a brawl broke out at the end of the match involving Bret and others, and they ran out of time....just when things started getting interesting. Typical.

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  55. I think that was carried over from the NWA days. Crockett used to love to have a huge match on: Nikita Koloff vs. Magnum TA, Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair, etc. and only air about 10 minutes of it and then use the "we're outta time!" thing to both get viewers for next week so they could talk about what happened and to encourage people to attend the live events so they didn't need to worry about TV time. I wasn't a fan of the tactic in either case because half the time Crockett would forget to say who won the friggin' match from the previous week. When they did start the next week's show off with the conclusion of that match it was cool though.

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  56. It's like if House of Cards added an hour and that hour was shit like Frank Underwood playing Call of Duty, cursing at the TV. Still better than Raw though.

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  57. at least (if I'm not mistaken) you only had to see Chucky threatening Rick Steiner ONCE.

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  58. I think you're right. If I remember the story correctly (which I probably don't), he is the grand nephew of the original Gorgeous George and was using the name on the indies. He complained to WCW when Randy Savage's valet started using the name when she debuted in WCW in April 1999. WCW hired him to smooth it over, but he didn't actually debut on TV as "The Maestro" until September 1999. So he sat at home for five or so months until WCW figured out what to do with him.

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  59. isn't "importance" a much bigger factor than "in ring quality"?

    (someone like Bret Hart vs. some midcard guy could have been a **** match and still not hurt WCW's business at all if it didn't give away a ppv match)

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  60. But they forced us to watch tv shows and even ppvs where half of the roster was missing. And you can always create stars, even with one roster. WWF did this over YEARS.

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  61. but on the other hand, isn't a certain amount of "unpredictability" missing from the WWE shows? to me they feel "overproduced" and not "anything can happen" at all.

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  62. Yes WWE is capable of creating new stars all the time. They just choose not too, but the brand split forced their hand a little more and allowed new guys to break through that glass ceiling.

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  63. that's also the reason why I can sit through many (if not most) "b-ppvs" easier than a lot of WrestleManias: four hours is just too long.

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  64. Oh absolutely. These 3 hour Raws are horrible and way worse than Nitro. But the emailer already knows these Raws suck

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  65. It was just way too easy to flip back & forth, but in the end, if u were a wrestling fan in general & wanted to enjoy both shows, u could sit back & enjoy Raw, then sit back & enjoy Nitro on REPLAY. Which I'm sure many people did, & had to have at least a minimal effect on the ratings.

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  66. a tipping point for the nWo cooling off was one of the early 3 hour shows when they "took over" Nitro but just stood around talking to each other knocking stuff over, but there were no announcers so it was just dead air and WWF scored a HUGE rating as everyone eventually turned the channel


    WCW had a huge roster but they had a lot of crap to fill time to, like that DJ they had in 99, the Kiss concert, those Eric Bischoff Tonight Show set segments were also BRUTAL

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  67. Honky Tonk Man always complained about Brad Armstrong being under $100K contract but never even being called into tapings let alone booked

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  68. 1999, DDP loses the world title to Sting to open the show... three hours later DDP wins the title back... that's when you know your show is too long

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  69. Would love for PPV sets to return. I know it's been discussed here in the past, but man would that just breathe some life into these PPVs, which just give off such a Raw vibe.

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  70. I would totally watch Frank Underwood play Call of Duty.

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  71. I actually dug that Nitro I thought it was pretty cool having DDP lose his title then regain it in a couple 4 corner matches.
    Just never saw shit like that before. It was something different I guess. It got everybody involved.
    Idk man Nitro ended up sucking pretty bad but that was one mean roster....
    Sting Flair DDP Nash PoppaPump Hogan Hall Savage Luger Giant Piper Hitman Henning Goldberg Booker T Jarrett Benoit Raven Mysterio Guerrero Jericho......ENDLESS!!!!!
    I mean....Chris Adams, Rick Martel & Jim Powers? Kendall Windham? Wayne Bloom & Mike Enos even tagged! It was a legit video game roster.

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  72. That was the other one! Sadly Armstrong was great in the ring and could've worked to help out guys like Goldberg develop. Instead Goldberg mowed down Jerry Flynn and Ron Reese 50 times each on Nitro and Thunder.

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  73. WCW: we'll give you a big contract to buy a gimmick we don't need and then do nothing with you. Didn't the Maestro only wrestle like 2-3 times too? I barely remember him.

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  74. So would I actually!

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  75. He was around for a bit, but was gone by April 2000.

    So he essentially got paid from April to September 1999 to do nothing, worked from September 1999 to April 2000, and then was axed. To sum up, he got paid for a year for six months of work.

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  76. Great work if you can get it!

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  77. And if you get it, won't you tell me how?

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  78. I had no issue with three-hour Nitros. More wrestling, at that time, was a good thing in my eyes. Especially since WCW had a very diverse roster with different types of rosters/talkers. It wasn't homogenized like today's WWE.

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  79. I liked the anarchy of the Nitro shows. But I was a WCW guy anyway, though I watched both shows.

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  80. nWo Nitro was a bad show. Poor Macon.

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  81. Would you rather watch Championship Wrestling from Florida with Gordon Solie calling his matches back in the mid-80s?

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  82. No, I don't watch anything but 1996 WWF.

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  83. I was 14 in 1998, wasn't online, and the business was red hot... I can't speak for anyone else, but I literally couldn't WAIT for Friday nights (when it aired in the UK). Worldwide, UWFI, Nitro, ECW, Thunder and RAW all aired, and you could watch almost all of it back-to-back, from about 7pm-4am. And I did, frequently.

    To be fair, I wasn't watching anything else during the week save for Shotgun and SmackDown on Saturday, and old VHS tapes, and we weren't getting WCW or ECW PPVs either, but at that point, I couldn't get enough.

    Of course, now I flat refuse to watch anything unless I'm in the mood for NXT, there's a PPV, it's WrestleKingdom, a big ROH/CHIKARA/PWG show, or if something on YouTube takes my fancy. Certainly not nine hours of continuous weekly TV!

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  84. MaffewOfBotchamaniaJanuary 16, 2015 at 7:16 AM

    ''They'd have entire hours without a single match''

    In fairness, that only happened once.

    Not that I'm saying it was a good thing, but fair is fair.

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