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The shift in programming helped lead the company to achieve mainstream success similar to the 1980s professional wrestling boom.
Concurrently, many WWF performers became crossover successes: During this period The Rock would become very popular and then would embark on a successful acting career, while Mick Foley published a New York Times-bestselling autobiography; Stone Cold Steve Austin quickly became the company's most popular star and the company's flagship performer, and would be featured in mainstream media all over America and made guest appearances on a variety of television shows, from Nash Bridges to Dilbert.
While WCW was the dominant federation for much of the mid-1990s, a variety of factors coalesced to turn the tide in the WWF's favor at the end of the decade, including a radical rebranding of their formerly family-friendly product to highly sexualized and violent shows geared towards older teens and adults.
WCW ultimately ran into financial difficulties as a result of the amount of money they had promised wrestlers during a hiring binge in the early and middle part of the decade, which had been aimed at acquiring large portions of the WWF's talent roster.
WWF owner Vince Mc Mahon's controversial treatment of Bret Hart in an incident known as the Montreal Screwjob immediately precipitated Hart's departure from the WWF to WCW, alienating a large segment of WWF's fanbase at the same time WCW came to employ virtually all of the established wrestling stars than in competition.
Throughout the late 1990s, the WWF began to rise in popularity after it rebranded itself as a more adult-themed, sexualized and violent product, a period in the company's history now referred to as the Attitude Era.
The company also drew casual fans' attention by filming events at popular tourist venues such as Disney's Hollywood Studio, and reached out to Mexican and Japanese wrestling fans through its cruiserweight division, which featured wrestlers from a diverse array of ethnic and racial backgrounds competing in matches featuring styles of wrestling popular in Latin America and Asia.
Jack and Gerald Brisco had major stakes in the organization, while Ole Anderson was head booker and was basically in charge of operations.
The heightened profiles of WWF wrestlers helped to draw the attention of both new and casual wrestling fans to the company's programming.
In the late 1990s, WCW's ratings began to suffer as fans grew tired of the n Wo storyline, which many viewers perceived as having been allowed to go on for too long.
The Monday Night Wars largely sprang from a rivalry between WWF owner Vince Mc Mahon and WCW owner Ted Turner, dating back to an incident in the 1980s known as Black Saturday, when Mc Mahon acquired a monopoly on all nationally televised wrestling broadcasts by purchasing a stake in Georgia Championship Wrestling, whose flagship show aired on WTCG, Turner's own network.
Turner, displeased with Mc Mahon's handling of programming on his network, pressured Mc Mahon into selling his time slot to Jim Crockett Promotions, another wrestling promotion.