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WCW at the Disney-MGM Studios

Friday, May 06, 2011

It's coming up on a decade since real television and film production was terminated at the Disney-MGM Studios and with the time going by, we forget about some aspects of what Disney brought in to be produced in their park.  Part of this history includes professional wrestling, when the Disney-MGM Studios was home to World Championship Wrestling (WCW) shows.

In 1993, WCW signed an agreement to begin filming at the Disney-MGM Studios some of its shows including WCW WorldWide, WCW Pro, and WCW Prime.  The shows were shot in one of the soundstages built for the Studios and the events were performed in a rotating ring that exapnded the area around ringside as well as the distance between the ring and the seats.

To help fill the seats, Disney would offer the guests in the park free passes as well as free merchandise.  For example, Hulk Hogan merchandise was routinely given to guests when Hogan joined WCW.  In fact, wearing the merchandise was often a requirement to be allowed to sit in the seats that could be seen by the television cameras.

Interestingly enough, often many months of shows would be filmed at once in advance of when they would air, resulting in giving away yet-to-be-seen pay per view results.  To keep the results of the pay per views a secret, Disney and WCW relied on packing the crowd with random guests who were not wrestling fans.

WCW history was made in the Disney-MGM Studios when famous wrestler Hulk Hogan signed a contract to wrestle for WCW and the ceremony was held at the Disney-MGM Studios on June 11, 1994 on New York Street.



In the summer 1996, WCW expanded its presence at the Studios due to the Atlanta olympics using all of Turner television facilities.  So in the summer of 1996, WCW Monday Nitro broadcasted a few shows live from the Studios.

By 2000, WCW's financial fortunes were turning for the worst and budget cuts forced the company to discontinue tapings at Walt Disney World.