Welcome to my series of revising WWE history.
Criticism of the Invasion Storyline
Wrestling pundits often note the Invasion as a failed storyline. It was a very complex angle that was very difficult to pull off given the circumstances.
Four things in particular caused the Invasion angle to not fully live up to its potential.
1. Shane and Stephanie McMahon's purchase of WCW and ECW, respectively.
The Invasion angle was ultimately just another McMahon vs. McMahon war. It took away the uniqueness of the angle, as McMahon vs. McMahon had been seen a thousand times prior to the Invasion.
2. The lack of main-event guys from WCW and ECW.
The absence of WCW mainstays like Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Sting and even Eric Bischoff crippled the momentum of the Alliance. ECW mainstays such as Sabu, Sandman and others were absent in the storyline.
Was the WCW/ECW Invasion storyline a success?
The Alliance was incredibly weak because of the dearth of main-event stars from their own companies. This is why guys like Steve Austin had to be in the forefront of the Alliance.
3. Stone Cold Steve Austin's heel turn.
Austin's heel turn was awkward because of his alliance with Vince McMahon. He betrayed McMahon to join the Alliance. It was confusing because it was another Austin vs. McMahon feud, but on different sides.
Austin should have either been neutral or aligned with Vince McMahon during the Invasion.
4. The absence of Triple H.
Triple H's marriage with Stephanie McMahon would have made the angle much more interesting. Triple H missed the entire Invasion angle due to a torn quadriceps muscle sustained in 2001.
Those points listed above hurt the overall direction and momentum of the Alliance. Here are four things I would change.
1. Start the Invasion in 2002.
What hurt the Invasion storyline the most?
Starting the Invasion in 2001 was good in concept. However, it ultimately proved a poor idea because of the absence of big names such as Hulk Hogan, Goldberg and Ric Flair.
Starting it a year later doesn't provide the shock value that the 2001 Invasion did. But it would provide enough time for all of the big names to come over and for the present WCW guys to be built up.
2. Create the brand extension between Raw and SmackDown during the Invasion.
The idea behind this is for Vince McMahon to protect the Undisputed Championship from the WCW alliance by moving Rock to SmackDown only.
In reality, having a brand extension at this point sets the table for the rest of the storyline. It also gives more airtime to everybody.
Then, have WCW invade Raw, and ECW invade SmackDown. This gives both WCW and ECW a greater chance of actually winning.
3. Make all the McMahons be aligned with the WWE.
As I said before, having another McMahon war diminished the value of the Invasion.
4. Do not have WCW and ECW be an alliance.
In real life, Eric Bischoff wrote in his book that he and Paul Heyman have never been fond of each other. This real-life animosity should separate WCW and ECW.
I highly recommend you read this page in order to familiarize yourself with the actual Invasion storyline.
WWE is Invaded!
In 2001, Internet rumors insisted that Eric Bischoff actually bought WCW, but sold some of his stake to the WWE.
WWE vehemently denied this in a corporate statement. The rumor quickly lost steam after WWE released a press statement affirming the purchase of WCW.
WCW wrestlers who were brought over slowly assimilated into the WWE.
The New World Order was introduced to WWE screens at "No Way Out, 2002."
WWE held a one-year anniversary party for their victory in the Monday Night Wars.
Rock cut a promo about WWE's victory. Hulk Hogan and the rest of the nWo came out and disparaged the Rock.
The nWo beat down on the Rock.
Rock won his match against Hulk Hogan. Debuting nWo members Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell assaulted the Rock after the match.
Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Scott Hall at WrestleMania as well. After the match, Kevin Nash ran Austin over with Austin's own four wheeler!
Stone Cold was out of action for a while in this storyline.
Hogan then cut a promo saying the New World Order was going to take over the WWE. Hogan also said he should get a shot at the Undisputed Championship.
Undisputed champion Triple H obliged, due to his hatred for the Rock. At "Backlash," Hogan went on to win the championship with help of the rest of the nWo.
The next night, Hulk Hogan was cutting a promo, talking about domination once again. Alberto Del Rio was jealous of Hogan's repetitive promos.
All of a sudden, Ric Flair interrupted the promo. He came out with the rest of the WWE guys who were brought over at the end of WCW.
Flair said he wanted a shot at the Undisputed Title because he was the true face of WCW. He claimed Hogan's stable ultimately ruined the nWo because of Hogan's selfishness.
Hogan was furious over that remark and immediately accepted the Nature Boy's challenge.
The next week rolled around and Vince McMahon decided to make Hogan vs. Flair a lumberjack match. It was a highly-anticipated event because the winner of the match was to be the undisputed champion.
When the dust settled, this was the end result of the intense and epic encounter.
WCW and the nWo united!
Hogan and Flair announced they would take over Monday Night Raw. A well-timed guitar riff interrupted them.
Triple H demanded a rematch at "Judgment Day." Hogan and Flair immediately sent their WCW legion to assault the Game. But the WWE locker room cleared out the WCW wrestlers to save Triple H.
At "Judgment Day," Vince McMahon said the match would be a steel cage match to prevent interference. Hogan won with a low blow. Of course the referee didn't see it.
Leading up to "King of the Ring," Rock won a No. 1 contender's triple threat match against Triple H and Chris Jericho.
Hulk Hogan subsequently said Rock's victory over him "was a fluke" and he would retain his championship at "King of the Ring."
King of the Ring
Rock won the Undisputed Championship from Hulk Hogan in a great match. The WCW roster tried to interfere, but the WWE locker room once again cleared them out.
Which stable is better?
Vince McMahon drafted Rock to SmackDown, so Hogan didn't regain the title. Brock Lesnar won the "King of the Ring" tournament and earned a title shot for the Undisputed Championship at "SummerSlam."
Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair ran their mouths about how they were already taking over Raw, since Vince McMahon was afraid of Hogan or Flair winning the Undisputed Championship.
Hogan and Flair then introduced Eric Bischoff as the "GM" of WCW.
They claimed Bischoff never actually sold WCW to Vince McMahon. Bischoff had the controlling stake in WCW. He was biding his time to find the right moment to invade WWE.
DX was officially reformed!
Triple H, X-Pac, Billy Gunn and Jesse James all came out to counter Buff Bagwell, Scott Steiner, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.
Which match would you want to see the most?
The tension could be cut with a knife as the Raw broadcast came to an end.
Triple H and Shawn Michaels faced Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair with WCW and WWE rosters banned from the ringside.
DX went on to win when Ric Flair listened to some sweet chin music.
Vince McMahon came out and demanded a match to determine who was in control of Raw.
McMahon then said he would form a best-of-five series at "SummerSlam."
If WCW won, Eric Bischoff would be GM. If WWE won, all of the invading WCW members would be fired and Stephanie McMahon would remain Raw GM.
Match one: Battle royal between WWE members and WCW members. If the winner of the battle royal was affiliated with WCW, then WCW would get the win and vice versa.
Match two: Booker T (C) vs. Edge for the United States Championship.
Match three: Ric Flair vs. Chris Jericho.
Match four: Triple H and Shawn Michaels vs. Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.
Match five: Hulk Hogan vs. a mystery opponent.
"SummerSlam" is now a must-see pay-per-view with high stakes.
The fact that Eric Bischoff had a stake in the company meant Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon would have a serious power struggle.
On SmackDown, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman slowly gained momentum in their feud with the Rock. SmackDown general manager Mick Foley managed to keep Lesnar and Rock away from each other.
Rock retained the Undisputed Championship from Kurt Angle and Undertaker. Brock Lesnar and the Rock continued to feud going into "SummerSlam" for the Undisputed Championship.
Here is a brief recap of the angles going in to "SummerSlam."
The main focus on Raw was the ongoing battle between the WCW Invasion and the WWE. The main focus on SmackDown was the title match between the Rock and Brock Lesnar.
Scott Steiner won the dark match battle royal to give WCW match No. 1.
We were treated to an excellent opening match between Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio. Guerrero won after reversing the 619 into a small package.
Edge defeated Booker T to even the series. Rob Van Dam went on to best Christian and Chris Benoit to become the new Intercontinental champion.
Ric Flair used his trademark dirty tactics to defeat Chris Jericho, giving WCW the 2-1 series lead. Kurt Angle defeated the Undertaker in an incredible match.
The four members of the Kliq battled. Sean Waltman, or X-Pac, was not only both a member of the nWo and DX, but also a member of the Kliq.
X-Pac was the special guest enforcer to this match. DX prevailed over the nWo after X-Pac revealed his DX allegiance. The series was tied, 2-2.
Rock and Brock Lesnar battled for the Undisputed Championship. Lesnar won the fantastic back-and-forth match.
After the match, Paul Heyman ordered all of the ECW wrestlers to destroy the Rock. Rock was written out of television for the rest of the year.
That big fat walrus cut a promo saying ECW had taken over SmackDown. He said Lesnar would only defend the Undisputed Championship on SmackDown.
Now, it was the main event for all the marbles. Hulk Hogan came out to the ring in his trademark nWo theme music.
Glass shattered as soon as Hogan entered the ring.
"Stone Cold! Stone Cold!" Jim Ross yelled out. After an epic match, Austin connected on his third stunner to Hogan.
Austin was about to pin Hogan when a masked man speared him. This mystery assailant then dragged Hogan's arm over Austin's to pick up the victory for WCW.
So many burning questions permeate Raw and SmackDown. How would Eric Bischoff run Raw? Who was the mystery man? How did Mick Foley react to ECW's invasion of SmackDown? How would Vince McMahon regain control of Raw?
Stay tuned to Part 2 to find out!
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Thanks for reading!