Attitude Adjustment: Would D-Generation X's WCW Invasion Work Today?

Erik BeastonJanuary 10, 2023

Attitude Adjustment: Would D-Generation X's WCW Invasion Work Today?

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    DX's invasion of WCW is a legendary Attitude Era moment, but does it hold up?
    DX's invasion of WCW is a legendary Attitude Era moment, but does it hold up?Credit:

    The Attitude Era was a magical time for wrestling fans; one in which rules mattered not, characters reigned supreme and the storytelling was as edgy and irreverent as anything seen before or since.

    It was an era when WWE fought back against WCW in the war for wrestling supremacy and ultimately won, thanks to iconic characters such as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, Kane and Mankind.

    As memorable and fun as the moments, matches and stars of that era were, how well do they hold up today and would anything accomplished then work today?

    The answer lies in The Attitude Adjustment, a new piece that will look at the historical impact of your favorites from that period and examine their lasting legacies.

    Up first: D-Generation X's invasion of WCW Monday Nitro.

The Moment

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    On the receiving end of a lengthy kicking in the ratings at the hands of Eric Bischoff and WCW during the Monday Night Wars, WWE presented the April 27, 1998 episode of Raw from the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia.

    Bischoff and WCW were just 23 miles away that night as Monday Nitro took place from the historic Norfolk Scope.

    "WCW had this mentality, where they wanted to attack us, but it wasn't about them doing well, it was about us doing bad," Triple H told in 2013. "If we booked Hampton, they'd be 20 minutes down the road at the Scope [in Norfolk]. Mr. McMahon was pissed. This was the fifth time it happened."

    Looking to strike back at the company, head writer Vince Russo concocted a plan for that evening's broadcast.

    "I'll never forget it," he said. "I'm sitting at my desk and I'm thinking to myself, 'You know what, I'm just going to write down, for the hell of it: DX drives a rocket launcher right up to the building.'"

    What came out of that creative decision was one of the most significant and unforgettable moments in WWE history and a shining example of the attitude that helped WWE combat their opposition during the battle for ratings supremacy in the late 1990s.

    Triple H, Chyna, X-Pac and The New Age Outlaws drove a tank to the venue of that night's show, walked up to the front door of the Scope and declared war on WCW. They were even incredibly close to breaching the building's rear garage door, just missing out on what would have been a landmark television moment.

    It was a moment that captured the attention of the audience and added to the growing "must-see" nature of WWE's crash-TV antics.

The Historical Impact

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    WWE had taken an adversarial stance against WCW in the weeks prior to that night in Virginia.

    It had begun altering the content of its shows, skewing older for edgier in an attempt to attract the all-important 18-35 demographic.

    It emphasized controversial characters, storylines and angles, something Bischoff and Co. were never going to be allowed to do.

    That night in Virginia, though, was a brazen shot in the war with the opposition.

    The Triple H-led faction represented the company as a whole, flipping the bird to WCW in defiance and letting it be known that this was no longer a war to be fought just with ratings. It would be one fueled by attitude that would continue to create greater interest in Vince McMahon's product.

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    Here's our rankings! <br><br>1. D-Generation X invades WCW<br>2. Triple H takes control of WCW<br>3. The DX State Of The Union Address <br>4. Shawn Michaels and Triple H win the Unified Tag Team Championship<br>5. DX impersonates The McMahons <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWERaw</a> <a href=""></a>

    Two weeks earlier, WWE had defeated WCW in the Monday Night Wars for the first time in 83 weeks. Thanks to the exploits of DX in Virginia, the company would continue to mount an offensive that would, ultimately, guide them past their competitors for good.

    It was not the last time the Hall of Fame group would attempt an invasion of WCW interests.

    They would pop up at the company's headquarters and the CNN Center in Atlanta, filming vignettes and dodging police involvement along the way.

    After two years of being pulverized by WCW, both in the quality of the shows and in TV ratings, the company made an emphatic statement that everything that came before it was child's play. This was a real war now and one it intended to win after spending so much time on the backfoot.

    There had been other behind-the-scenes attempts to derail WCW's momentum but it was not until McMahon, Russo and DX took the fight to the doorstep of their rivals that the tides really started to change.

    The rise of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and his rivalry with the megalomaniac Mr. McMahon character was the spark the company needed. DX's shot in WCW's direction was the gasoline that helped fuel the towering inferno that was WWE's come-from-behind victory in the battle for pro wrestling supremacy.

    Today, it is remembered as one of the watershed moments of the Attitude Era and one of the greatest of Triple H and D-Generation X's storied runs.

    But would it work today and just how well does it hold up?

Would It Work Today?

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    Controversy will always create cash.

    The idea of WWE executing an invasion of an All Elite Wrestling show is intriguing and would set the wrestling world abuzz. It would be all over social media, with first-person accounts via social media. Some would love it, others would hate it, but everyone would be talking about it. And vice versa, should AEW want to make a major play in a battle for fans' love and attention.

    In theory, it is the one thing WWE has not tried since it happened 25 years ago that might still leave a lasting impact were it to be dusted off today. Unfortunately, it is not nearly as feasible in terms of logistics as it was then.

    Today, security measures alone would make it nearly impossible for such a scenario to play out. Riding an assault vehicle up to an arena housing a major gathering of people in 2023? Not happening. Walking directly up to the front door of the arena without clearing metal detectors and other security measures? Nope.

    What was acceptable in 1998 is not in 2023, and that isn't a bad thing.

    Add to that the likelihood both companies would likely bring legal action against the other should they attempt something like that today lessens the likelihood that it could be done in the manner WWE did a quarter of a century ago.

    With that said, the moment still holds up.

    It was such a brazen and unexpected thing to do on the part of McMahon and Co. that there's a certain admiration to be had for it. Was it disrespectful? Oh yes, but it also has endured and helped make stars out of D-Generation X at a time when they were in transition from the Shawn Michaels era.

    Perhaps that is the greatest takeaway from that moment: The rise to stardom of Triple H and his stablemates, all of whom went on to have Hall of Fame-worthy careers.

    At a time when WWE was still trying to find the formula for sustained success against a company that had more money and a two-year head start, it was the latest (and one of the greatest) examples of the defiant attitude that would help it claim victory three years later.