Jim Crockett Promotions's NWA World Championship Wrestling, along with its predecessor (Georgia Championship Wrestling), were Saturday night mainstays on TBS for almost 30 years. Throughout much of the 1970s and 1980s, these two Saturday night wrestling programs were also complimented with a Sunday night wrestling program titled Best of World Championship Wrestling. The Sunday editions were mostly presented as a magazine format, featuring sit-down interviews with wrestlers and footage from other GCW and JCP television programming. In later years, airings of the Sunday edition became infrequent, as these airings were frequently pre-empted by TBS' coverage of the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Hawks.
In early 1988, Ted Turner asked Jim Crockett, Jr. to create a new Sunday evening wrestling show featuring exclusive "main event caliber" matches. In 1988, NWA Main Event made its debut. The debut episode featured a main event match pitting Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard against Sting, Lex Luger and Barry Windham. The show proved to be an instant ratings success. Due to surmounting losses, Crockett was forced to sell JCP in November 1988 to Turner, who renamed the organization World Championship Wrestling.
The format for WCW Main Event kept one match that was regarded as "main event caliber" and would almost always feature one of WCW's top stars. Often, two or more matches would be featured, but by 1995 the format for the program slightly changed. Main Event would feature, in addition to its one featured match at the end of the program, matches that had aired on WCW Pro, WCW Saturday Night, and WCW WorldWide earlier in the weekend. When WCW Monday Nitro premiered later in 1995, matches from that program would also be featured.
On pay-per-view nights, Main Event would always air live from the venue where the pay-per-view was taking place and would feature multiple matches involving mid-carders and up-and-coming stars.
Starting August 24, 1996, the show moved from its established Sunday evening time slot to Saturday mornings. Starting around 1997, WCW Main Event was re-tooled as a recap show with some "exclusive" matches. In 1998, the show was cancelled.