Tuesday, August 25, 2015

WWF Invasion (July 2001)

It was supposed to be a PPV that would feature WWF Superstars competing against WCW Superstars for the very first time. A cataclysmic encounter that would have been a major moneymaker if done right.

But as history has shown, the Invasion angle that ran throughout 2001 was anything but done right. For you see, it went from being about WWF vs. WCW to being another glorified reinactment of the McMahon family feud that had been beaten to the ground considerably. Vince representing WWF, Shane-O-Mac owning WCW, and because she has nothing to do at the time, let's give Stephanie ECW and have her join forces with Shane for whatever reason and then you had Austin jump ship to that Alliance and... my head hurts.

There have been potshots made prior to the event; the occasional run-in from low-tier WCW guys such as Lance Storm and Mike Awesome to Diamond Dallas Page's stalking of the Undertaker's wife (for reasons that are baffling to anyone with any semblance of common sense) to the eventual WCW matches on WWF programming (kicked off with a horrific Booker T vs. Buff Bagwell match that granted Buff his walking papers shortly thereafter)... and then ECW comes along and joins forces with WCW and... shit.

And then we come to Invasion... I can remember the anticipation of how they're going to pull this off and thinking it might be the greatest thing ever, how could they possibly fuck this up... and then I can also remember the disappointment and utter contempt that I had for this entire feud. Even today, when I look back at that entire angle, it still leaves a really bitter taste in my mouth. There are very few wrestling storylines that really make me sick to my stomach. Many letdowns, but none of them to a sickening level. The Invasion angle was the sole exception. Perhaps the easiest thing to book and they end up fucking it up. If there is one thing that the whole Invasion angle does succeed at, it's cementing WWE's long-standing talent in taking sure-fire wins and turn them into unbelievable failures.

But I digress... anyway, let's sloth through this thing.

Edge & Christian (WWF) beat Lance Storm & Mike Awesome (ECW) in a pretty solid tag-team match.

Earl Hebner (WWF) defeated Nick Patrick (WCW) in the battle of the crooked referees... why the fuck is this a thing? Was Mick Foley that desperate for a pay day that they made this match for him to ref?

The APA (WWF) beat Sean O'Haire & Chuck Palumbo (WCW) in a really lame match. I don't get this. They had the opportunity to try and build new stars out of these guys... and given that they were the shining bits of WCW's dying days, I feel they deserved it... but I guess Vince needed to sate his ego over a company he now owns or something.

Billy Kidman (WCW) beat X-Pac (WWF) in a pretty so-so match. Watching this again, I would've thought that they'd have a pretty good showing, but this was just okay. Funny how X-Pac is getting booed here despite being part of the hometeam while Billy Kidman (part of the invading "heel" team) is cheered like royalty.

By the way, for those keeping count, Billy Kidman scored WCW's first win in that card. I'm especially shocked considering he won a match against X-Pac, one of Hunter's BFFs.

Raven (ECW) defeated William Regal (WWF) in a match that didn't quite click with me. Maybe it was the clash of styles, maybe it was the pacing, or maybe it was just something else, but it just felt like a waste. Maybe it would've been better off if both these guys had matches with people that suited their style. And yeah, Raven was in WWF for less than a year by this point, but he always stuck around the hardcore division where he was more at home.

Sean Stasiak, Kanyon & Hugh Morrus (WCW) defeated Big Show, Billy Gunn & (Jason) Albert when Morrus pinned Gunn... and then Big Show chokeslams all the WCW guys... why the fuck is this a thing again?

Tajiri (WWF) beat Tazz (ECW) in a short, rather pointless match. I didn't care.

Rob Van Dam (ECW) beat WWF Hardcore Champion Jeff Hardy (WWF) to win the title. This is a typical RVD match featuring Jeff Hardy; lots of high spots, lots of chairs, lots of stuff, lots of flippity flip stuff. RVD would eventually hold on to the title for a good while before dropping it to Undertaker.

Lita & Trish Stratus beat Torrie Wilson and Stacy Kiebler in what is essentially a throwaway match. I guess for the eye candy...

Rhyno, Booker T, DDP & The Dudley Boy defeated Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Undertaker, Kane & Chris Jericho when Austin turned on Angle and allowed xxx to score the pinfall. Yeah, so even though Austin's heel turn went over like a fart in church, let's keep him heel despite teasing a baby turn a few days prior. I suppose the only good thing to come out of this is that it made a star out of Kurt Angle, allowed him to play on the big stage, and sorta build him, but... man, what a waste.

Yeah... that sums this whole thing up nicely... a waste.

I'm done here.

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