The debut of Nitro began the Monday Night Wars, a ratings battle between the WWF and WCW that lasted for almost six years and saw each company resort to cutthroat tactics to try to compete with the competition. In mid-1996, Nitro began to draw better ratings than Raw based on the strength of the nWo storyline, an anarchist wrestling stable that wanted to take over WCW. Nitro continued to beat Raw for 84 consecutive weeks, forcing WWE owner Vince McMahon to change the way he did business. As the nWo storyline grew stagnant, fan interest in the storyline waned, and Raw began to edge out Nitro in the ratings.
The turning point for the organizations came during mid April 1998 after Stone Cold Steve Austin won his first WWF title. From that week forward, Raw beat Nitro in the ratings by a significant amount, and WCW was never able to regain the success it once had.
Besides broadcasting from various arenas and locations across the country (such as the Mall of America in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota, from which the very first episode of Nitro was broadcast), Nitro also did special broadcasts from the Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando in 1996, and did annual Spring Break-Out episodes from Panama City Beach, Florida starting in March 1997. The rights to WCW Monday Nitro now belong to WWE. Episodes of WCW Monday Nitro will be available for streaming on the WWE Network in fall 2011