Historically Speaking: Re-InVasion

“Nothing falsifies history more than logic.” – Guizot

The Opening Chapter
Last week during my “marking out” column I talked about the feeling I got when ECW reformed during the initial stages of the infamous “Invasion” of 2001 and then utter disappointment in what the angle ended up turning into. I also said that maybe I should talk about how in the Invasion should have gone down. Well with not a whole lot going down this week in wrestling I took myself up on the vow I made last week. This isn’t a normally a fantasy booking or arm-chair quarterback column, and it won’t turn into one, but this one time I going to look back into history and hypothesize how things could have gone different.

Booking in Hindsight
We start of with the July 9, 2001, episode of RAW; the episode that saw the WWF debuts of Rob Van Dam and Tommy Dreamer. With over six years gone by since that time and hindsight being 20/20, it is amazing to see how many storyline developments they crammed into that one show. That two-hour episode of RAW could’ve built a territory for months. And without getting into too much detail or extraneous fantasy, I want to show you how.

I am assuming we all know the players in the real story so there won’t be a lot of background explanation.

On that July episode, The Dudley Boyz drop the WWF Tag belts to The Acolytes, and dissension between the Dudleyz and the WWF brass grows. The main event of the show is the Kane/Jericho-Storm/Awesome match we saw. The show ends with Dreamer and Van Dam’s run-in and stand off with both sides.

The next week’s RAW has both WCW and WWF at odds about these new invaders and it is announced both Van Dam and Dreamer will be banned from the arena. They still manage to show up and lay out everyone in the main event match until the same ECW contingent (Rhyno, Raven, Tazz, The Dudley Boyz and Justin Credible) make the save and an awkward stare down ends the show.

The InVasion PPV goes off without the ECW involvement until the very end when Van Dam, Dreamer, the six WWF guys, Storm and Awesome all hit the ring and declare their unity and lay out both WCW and WWF defenders.

The next night on RAW it is hinted at throughout the night that this new group seemed like they have something in common and are all a bit “extreme.” It is confirmed at the end of the show that yes, Paul Heyman is getting the band back together and this is the nucleus of that unit; so WCW and WWF beware.

Interplay between the three groups builds all the way to SummerSlam, as others who have ties to ECW, men like Spike Dudley, Chris Jericho, Saturn, Tajiri and Jerry Lynn, are questioned where their allegiances lie.

It comes to a head at the SummerSlam main event as some triple threat involving a man from all three groups degenerates into a brawl. The run-ins happen and then it becomes obvious that the WCW and ECW forces are working together to counter-act the WWF, but nothing official is said.

Speculation runs rampant the next night on RAW about WCW and ECW working together; a claim both Paul Heyman and Shane McMahon vehemently deny. They both claim in separate interviews that they dislike each other, aren’t working together and weren’t just targeting the WWF at SummerSlam. To prove this Shane offers to team five of his guys with five of the WWF guys next week in a 20 man against Heyman’s forces. Eight days after SummerSlam we finally see the big 20 man that was actually done on that July episode. The match actually gets a lot of time but it its mostly the WWF guys in the ring against ECW as the WCW stars don’t stay in long when they are tagged. Only at the end of a grueling match does the swerve come. A WWF guy is pinned and then the beat down begins, with both WCW and ECW forces joining together and acknowledging their alliance. Shane and Paul arrive on stage together and shake hands. RAW ends as they cut backstage to see the rest of the WCW forces barricading the WWF locker rooms and ambushing anyone else.

The next week Shane and Paul make their alliance official and Unforgiven matches are set accordingly. The main event can still be Austin-Angle for the WWF Championship as the idea is that the WWF can’t even control their own in-fighting to concentrate on their invading enemies. Angle still walks out as Champion for that feel good moment. The next night on RAW, the Austin heel turn that actually happened at the InVasion PPV can happen to even the sides out a bit.

Momentum from that turn, and other minor ones, like the Test “mole” angle, can carry them into No Mercy with Rock and Austin fighting on top. Despite WCW and ECW working together they are still branded as such, with WCW guys working together and the ECW guys remaining their own clique; leaving room for some in-fighting. Questions continue to rise throughout the month on how Heyman got the funding, idea and go-ahead to reform ECW. It has become obvious that Shane has helped him but hints drop about someone else maybe behind this “extreme” reunion. The question is answered at No Mercy when it is announced that ECW’s new benefactor is Stephanie McMahon.

The battle then can resume as such, making into the McMahon family battle that it really became. Vince, Linda, the WWF legends and their current roster against Shane’s young and hungry WCW roster, led by Steve Austin, and Stephanie and Heyman’s ECW originals, a “band of misfit toys” that don’t fit well with others.

It could’ve lead to a series of old school elimination matches at Survivor Series and the return of the “ultimate survivor” match. Jerry Lawler and Ric Flair returned the day after Survivor Series anyways, so put Lawler back in his old place and put Flair in as the WCW spiritual leader. He could still be the man that Shane and Stephanie sold their halves to, in a move that still ultimately leads to the brand expansion post WrestleMania XVIII. And the nWo could’ve still shown up in February to add more intrigue.

The Perspective
Everybody has their opinion on how the InVasion should have gone down, as virtually everyone agrees the way that it did go down wasn’t the way it should have. Without doing a full blown fantasy I wanted to portray a logical way things could’ve gone down, while staying fairly tight within the confines of what really happened and the players involved. It doesn’t mean a drop in a bucket today, or even then for that matter, but as a fan it is always fun to tell the world “how things really should’ve went,” whether it’s in sports, television, movies or some nerdy fanboy obsession. And as far as nerdy fanboy obsessions, I would put WWE somewhere above Trekkies and D & D, but somewhere below Star Wars.

For this week the vault is closed

Linked to the Pulse
Daavid B. talks about Raven and Punk from that one time when they were feuding in ROH but secretly teaming in TNA, or something like that.

The new guy reviews the ROH Driven PPV. The hype is getting such astronomical levels about the Nigel-Bryan match that I’m going to have break down and buy this one.

Blatt reviews what has become probably the most entertaining WRESTLING show on television today.

Recent History
This is a new section I have devised where I can ramble through my thoughts on this past week in wrestling, whether it be the television shows, pay per views, or any news that came out. Kinda like Vh1’s “Best Week Ever,” but this should be less annoying hopefully.
Did I read a rumor somewhere that Kurt Angle met Karen when she was a stripper? Damn, she’s hot. How did Vince not capitalize on that one when he was in the WWF?

The SmackDown! wedding was good, over-the-top, campy fun, but if I ever year the Ying Yang Twins “speak” again, it’ll be too soon. I love that it took Wellness~ for cruiserweights to get a guaranteed weekly match on SD! I mean Shannon Moore is even part of an angle right now, for cryin’ out loud.

Is it sad that my favorite part of RAW was Hardcore Holly versus Cody Rhodes? And Triple H only buried one guy this week. I was kind of waiting for him to take out Cade, Murdoch, London, Kendrick and The Highlanders after their “joined-in-progress” match. Maria looked hot, though DAMN!

I can’t say enough good stuff about ECW putting on a solid, entertaining one-hour show with under a dozen guys at their disposal. ECW and TNA are absolutely night and day.

I’m still not sold that this whole “SAVE_US.222” thing is about Chris Jericho. Granted, I will mark out like crazy if it is him, but I’m not getting my hopes all the way just yet. I did like the alternate rumor that it may be for Sid. That crazy bastard would be entertaining for a few months before he flaked out again.

This Day in History
I figured if we are talking history around here we should pay homage to what has happened on this very day in the years gone by. It will either make you long for the old days or be happy for what we have now.

1977 – Professor Tanaka & Mr. Fuji defeated Tony Garea & Larry Zbyszko in a tournament final for the WWWF Tag Team title
1993 – Razor Ramon won a 20 man Battle Royal for the WWF Intercontinental title
1995 – Harlem Heat defeated Marcus Bagwell & Scotty Riggs for the WCW World Tag Team title
1998 – WWF In Your House: Breakdown, was held in the Copps Coliseum, Hamilton, Ontario
1998 – The WWF Heavyweight title was declared vacent when Kane and the Undertaker both pin Steve Austin in a three-way match
1998 – Nick Dinsmore & Rob Conway defeated Jason Lee & Rod Steele in a tournament final for the Ohio Valley Southern Heavyweight Tag Title
2003 – April Hunter & Wagner Brown defeated The Dirty Rotten Scoundrelz for the Jersey All Pro Tag Team Titles

1967 – Super Delfin was born
1974 – Bobby Cassanova was born
1974 – Bobby Kane was born
1977 – Toy Dodson was born

The Assignment
It’s important to know your history to know where you have come from and where you are going. Back when Nova was in charge of the WWE developmental system he implemented mandatory history assignments for the students of the developmental territories so they would know pro wrestling’s history and they would learn just how many moves Nova created and apparently the best ways to get on-line prescriptions. I feel Nova had a great idea there and every week I will assign a book or DVD for you to check out and learn from. They are not only educational but very entertaining.

I’m sure I’ve pretty much said this before, but I’m a mark for most of WWE’s biography/match DVDs they put out. A lot of them I get just because of the usually great biography pieces they put together, but Brian Pillman’s Loose Cannon DVD was one that was very stoked for just for the matches and extras alone. His early days as Flyn’ Brian are documented well with two Jushin Liger matches and the infamous WarGames where Sid damn near kills him. Then there’s some goodness from the all-too-brief Hollywood Blondes tandem, and then Pillman strikes gold with a third character, this time as “The Loose Cannon.” His matches weren’t so hot then but his angles saved him. There’s footage from the “Austin gun” incident and the “XXX Files” plus the really good Canadian Stampede 10 man tag. The documentary part is entertaining as always, and the WWE production department really doesn’t get enough credit for the awesome work they do. I seriously think they could make a Brooklyn Brawler DVD entertaining. Come to think of it, a Brawler DVD probably would be good. Oh, but the best bit of all is in the extras section in a bit with JR talking about Pillman needing him in an “emergency.” That bit alone is with worth the whole disc.

Tags: , , , ,

Join our newsletter

never miss the latest news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary for Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games!