With WWE and AAA both currently scheduled to go head-to-head in Southern California on October 13, I wanted to look back at the last time two major international wrestling companies went up against each other in the area. Ironically in the same two venues from the last time it happened as well. The date was June 28, 1997. Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling (WCW) was at The Forum in Inglewood and Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation (WWF) was at The Pond in Anaheim.
This was during the height of the Monday Night Wars, with WCW having beaten WWF in the ratings for over a year at this point. WCW was the hottest wrestling promotion in the world, but the Los Angeles area had long been largely a WWF market. WCW and Jim Crockett Promotions before it had never found consistent success in the area.
With the two rivals going up against each other, WCW went all out in order to make sure they had the bigger draw. They spent over $100,000 on advertising in the area for the show and heavily hyped a face-off between Hulk Hogan and Sting, who at this point had never wrestled each other.
WWF countered by having the Undertaker defend the WWF World Championship in a triple-threat versus Bret Hart and Steve Austin. WWF also sent wrestlers to the market in advance for public appearances to promote the event. On the day of the show, they promoted a public workout by Ken Shamrock, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Chyna and Sunny at Venice Beach (WCW’s Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Syxx actually showed up at this to hand out with HHH as well).
All of this was for two house shows.
WCW ended up drawing 10,948 fans, with 9,705 paid for a gate of $189,940. By far the largest gate they ever drew in the area. They also did $82,000 in merchandise sales at the event. Based on the loaded show, how much they spent on advertising, and the cost to rent The Forum at the time, they may not have made money on the event.
WWF drew 9,469 fans at The Pond, with 8,449 paid, for a gate of $150,447. They also did $72,000 in merchandise sales. WWF also spent far less on advertising.
WCW claimed victory as they drew the larger crowd. WWF claimed victory because they made a bigger profit. Who really won depends how you want to look at it.
WCW would be back the next year and drew an even bigger crowd at The Forum, but in a few years, they’d be gone. WWF would continue to dominate the greater Los Angeles area and currently holds all of the region’s gate records.
WWF at the Arrowhead Pond – June 28, 1997
- Rockabilly defeated Flash Funk
- Nation of Domination (Faarooq and Kama Mustafa) defeated New Blackjacks (Blackjack Windham and Blackjack Bradshaw)
- Ken Shamrock defeated Jim Neidhart
- Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith defeated Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) and The Godwinns (Henry O. Godwinn and Phineas I. Godwinn)
- Vader defeated Goldust
- Mankind defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley by disqualification
- The Undertaker (c) defeated Bret Hart and Steve Austin to retain the WWF World Championship
WCW at The Great Western Forum – June 28, 1997
- Juventud Guerrera, Súper Caló and Damien defeated Konnan, La Parka and Villano IV
- Último Dragón defeated Psychosis
- Eddie Guerrero defeated Dean Malenko
- Steiner Brothers (Rick Steiner and Scott Steiner) defeated Buff Bagwell and Masa Chono
- Syxx (c) defeated Rey Mysterio Jr. to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
- Chris Jericho defeated Syxx (c) to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
- Roddy Piper defeated Ric Flair
- Diamond Dallas Page defeated Randy Savage
- Lex Luger and The Giant defeated The Outsiders (Kevin Nash and Scott Hall) (c) by DQ in a WCW Tag Team Championship match