Monday Night Wars
April 12, 2018 - All
About the Project “Monday Night Wars: Data From Wrestling’s Golden Age” is a project that uses python programming and data visualization techniques to unpack and era of professional wrestling called “Monday Night Wars.” The project was created by Kate Meizner for LIS-664 at Pratt SI. “Monday Night Wars” references a six year ratings battle between two TV shows: World Championship Wrestling’s (WCW) Monday Night Nitro, and World Wrestling Federation’s (WWF) flagship show Monday Night Raw. The ratings war was part of an overall struggle between the two companies, which was perpetuated by personal feuding between WCW owner Ted Turner and WWF commissioner Vince McMahon. Competition between the two companies revolutionized the industry’s approach to talent relations, character building, and storylines by forcing promotions to identify profitable markets and approach new extremes to meet viewer expectations. “Monday Night Wars” went through multiple phases between 1995 and 2001. While Raw and Nitro’s ratings were evenly matched in the earlier years, WCW would gain the upper hand from 1996 to 1998, and WWF would regain control of the ratings from 1998 to 2001. In early 2001, WWF ultimately ‘won’ Monday Night Wars and purchased WCW shortly thereafter. The data visualizations below are meant to unpack some of the intricacies of those phases, looking at Monday Night Wars through the lens of ratings, talent, and geographical turf wars. Methodology Data Collection: Data for this project was sourced by scraping the contents of various websites using a Python library called Beautiful Soup. Raw data about wrestling matches and match participants were scraped from Cagematch.com, which offers a plethora of wrestling statistics via its Advanced Search option. From Cagematch, I scraped: match date, wrestling promotion, match card (wrestlers involved), match location, match title, and match type. The data was scraped in five parts due to limitations on the amount of search returns provided by CageMatch per query. It was then written to a JSON file, and parsed into a CSV. TV ratings data about both Nitro and Raw was sourced from Wrestlescoop and supplemented with data from Prowrestling.wikia.com.