On Wednesdays we talk about Wrasslin’
So for the past few weeks I have been complaining and tearing apart the WCW Invasion storyline from the WWE universe 2001. It was the story line that turned me off to Wrestling and for the most part I have never gone back. I did have WWE network for a minute but just o watch the old school stuff they had up there. I was not very impressed with their offerings. Not enough original content and rewatching old WCW made me wonder why I ever was a fan of that crap because outside of the NWO that company was beyond mismanaged. But that is an argument for another day.
When it comes down to it I tink the WWE had three options when they acquired WCW. The first was to run it as a separate brand. The second was to take the video library and produce DVD’s to generate revenue. The third was to bury the company that was the only real threat to their dominance since uhmm forever. They ended up going with option three, even though having the WCW library in the WWE network era is a big plus. It’s too bad that they didn’t have the network then because they could have used it to rebuild the WCW brand.
The original plan was to run WCW as its own promotion, and have fake competition between two brands of WWE. We got this eventually with the brand extension but that came off as even faker competition. Raw versus Smackdown was never the marquee matchup that WWE versus WCW was and could have been again. The thing to remember here is that WCW very nearly put WWE out of business. That may not mean anything to Vince McMahon or the suits that run that place, but the every day guys, the writers, the producers, the ring crew they very nearly lost their jobs so there was animosity towards the WCW brand and WCW talent. I think we can all understand that.
For it to work out correctly WCW needed to be its own entity (without any McMahons). Hire someone one to run it has its own brand, but of course if no one was willing to put it on TV that really isn’t an option. Since the company now had this asset taking the long view on it remains imperative. While it would have been great to run WCW right back to TV, sometimes absence makes the heart grow founder. In April and May of 2001 WWE could not find a TV partner for WCW. How much would that landscape have changed by the fall? If they took the product off the air for a while, let some of those guys with big guaranteed contracts collect that AOL money and get itchy to get back in the ring. Maybe just maybe some cable channel out there would take the risk. Smackdown would eventually air on Syfy as well as the ECW brand. However, we can argue that WWE as a company really didn’t do a great job running these separate brands. Now days they seem to be doing better with NXT as sort of an alternative brand. Think about how much better the world of wrestling, as an entertainment product would be with a rejuvenated WCW as another brand.
Given the facts at the time I would have booked a tournament to crown a new WCW TV Champion. While we can argue that WWE had too many blets they did not, as far as I can remember never have had a TV champion. I would have used that to phase out the Hardcore title and the stipulations for the tournament would be any current WCW talent or anyone that ever worked for WCW can enter. I would have sent William Regal, commissioner at the time, out on TV and build that title up saying it meant something to him and a lot of others and then slowly paced out the tournament matches to last at least till the Survivor Series Pay Per View.
I would use that stipulation because of all the freedom it would give to book the tournament. I would also have the final come down to a WWE guy and some WCW talent based on how the matched went and the crowd reaction to it all. In my mind the WWE guy would be Chris Jericho just because he is awesome and while the goal would have been to put a WCW guy over…I think Jericho could have made that very entertaining. It would also give him the slow build to what actually happened to him at the end of 2001.
My ultimate goal; with that angle is to rebuild the credibility of WCW, while waiting to launch it has its own brand. If I were calling the shot at WWE I would have hired all new personnel for the new WCW brand instead of using WWE staff when it likely felt to them they were now working to put over a company that almost put them out of work. I become more and more convinced every day that that was the feeling among the employees of WWE and that is at least part of the reason why the Invasion was so poorly executed.
Now would what I booked work out? Who knows. Only the fans could answer that, the speak with signs, their voice, and in the ratings. What I do know is what the WWE did didn’t work. So instead of bash them for weeks I figured I would throw my idea out there. I think had some form of WCW survived the business would be much better today.
Think about the possibilities…I mean there were some great talents and with the guys that were already in WWE working towards a common goal of getting some WCW guys over it could have been a hell of an angle. Almost every WWE talent at the time had at least had a match in WCW at one time or another. But better than all that it gives WWE a platform to debut WCW talent in a way that maybe the fans could cheer for them. What if DDP made a surprise appearance against ‘Taker, or Jericho, or anyone else that would give the fans a shot to support the WCW talent.
Instead of making the entire WWE roster face with a heel WCW invasion this would have been a longer way to draw out the storyline and given the circumstances of it all playing the long game would have only benefited the company and given WCW some credibility. All these years later and after watching Triple H bury Sting at Wrestlemania I am not sure that was the goal from the powers that be.