The Monday Night Wars between WWE and WCW are fondly looked back upon by pro wrestling fans of that era as perhaps the best time in the business' industry. The two biggest wrestling companies in the world at that time going head-to-head week after week. Each one was doing all that they could to try and outdo the other. It undoubtedly brought the best out of not just the companies, but also out of the wrestling talents during that period. It really was a great time to be a wrestling fan. However, WCW pushed a little too hard and began to decline and in March of 2001, the Monday Night Wars officially came to an end.
WWE bought out WCW, which meant some stars were debuting while others had rejoined. Right from the off, it was plain to see that Vince McMahon, for the most part, wanted to make examples of those who had wrestled for WCW. Winning the war and buying the company alone was seemingly not enough for the chairman of WWE. Vince continually had his established WWE Superstars defeat and often humiliate wrestlers who had once been at the very tops of their games in WCW. As this list will reveal, Vince's burial of former WCW talent didn't begin and end with the acquisition of his rivals. Here are 15 times that Mr McMahon buried WCW talent and personalities.
15 The Rock Buries Booker T
When Vince McMahon and WWE bought WCW back in March of 2001, there were high hopes as to what we the wrestling fans were about to be treated to. Sting, Goldberg, The nWo. Huge names from WCW's world about to clash with WWE's. Unfortunately, those big names had the option of sitting out their contracts at home, an option that they took. The biggest name to make an immediate move was then WCW champion Booker T.
Booker had a pretty good start to his WWE career and of course would eventually make a name for himself under Vince's command, but not long into his move, he hit a brick wall in the form of The Rock. Booker was never going to come out on top against an established WWE star like The Rock and actually lost his WCW title to Rocky at SummerSlam 2001. It took a while for Booker to recover from The Rock's "Who in the blue hell are you?" jab.
14 The Huckster And The Nacho Man
Whenever the Monday Night Wars are discussed nowadays, almost twenty years removed from their culmination, you would be led to believe that Vince paid zero attention to his rivals. Some of his and WWE's actions while the war was in full swing would have you thinking twice about that claim. Following two of WWE's biggest stars jumping ship to Ted Turner's brand, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, WWE created a regular sketch that poked fun at the pair.
They were called The Huckster and The Nacho Man. Obvious attempts to poke fun at two men who had once been cornerstones of WWE. The sketches would often involve jibes at The Huckster's bald spot and Nacho Man's divorce from Miss Elizabeth. No punches pulled by WWE.
13 The Acolytes Beat Down Public Enemy
The tag team of Public Enemy had great success everywhere they went, that was until they arrived in WWE. In 1995, the pairing of Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge actually had the choice of joining either WWE or WCW and opted for the latter. Needless to say, when they finally did make it to WWE four years later, that choice meant they weren't very popular backstage.
In one of their first matches for the company, they famously lost to The Acolytes in a pretty brutal squash match. Public Enemy were very roughed up by the WWE stalwarts and it was the beginning of what would become known as 'Passing the Acolyte Test'. Something The Dudley Boyz managed soon after making the move from ECW.
12 Triple H Buries Booker T
Poor Booker T had to suffer through a lot of bad times to earn respect in WWE. Not only did he play second fiddle to The Rock upon arrival, but almost two years later, he found himself on the wrong end of a feud with Triple H. Losing to The Game alone is of course not reason to label someone as being 'buried'. The controversial comments that surround his and Booker's feud building towards WrestleMania XIX is what warrants its place on this list.
In an infamous promo prior to the event, Triple H made seemingly racist comments, saying that 'people like' Booker don't get to be champion in WWE, and that he was simply there to dance for and entertain people like himself. Perhaps, if Booker had gone on to defeat Hunter at WrestleMania and win the title, the comments made beforehand would not still be recalled so often. Alas Triple H did win and it was cemented at the time that Booker was still seen as a WCW guy.
11 Stone Cold Steve Austin Joins The Alliance
As was alluded to earlier on in this list, when WWE finally defeated and acquired WCW, we didn't immediately get the big name talent from the then defunct brand that we had expected. A few big names came straight over but nothing to the extent that could be called a major coup. WWE and Vince McMahon exhibited from the off that they didn't particularly have much faith in those WCW alumni who had signed with them right from the start.
Perhaps the biggest hint at this was when the Invasion storyline saw Stone Cold Steve Austin become the leader of The Alliance (a group of Superstars from WCW and ECW that had joined forces to take down WWE from within). WWE clearly didn't trust that the likes of Booker T and DDP would be big enough names to lead the group themselves, so instead had one of their own top guys 'jump ship' to give The Alliance some credibility.
10 Buff Bagwell Gets Fired After One Week
The whole Invasion angle that panned out between WWE, WCW and ECW in the months following WWE's acquisition of their rivals was not plan A. While Shane McMahon was always intended to be the storyline owner of WCW under WWE's reign, Vince originally planned for the popular Nitro brand to be relaunched with Shane running the show. It would play host to all the former WCW stars they had under contract.
However, one match derailed that pipe dream. A match between Buff Bagwell and Booker T. For one reason or another, the two just didn't click when it mattered most during an episode of Raw in June of 2001. After that, the plans to relaunch Nitro were scrapped, the Invasion angle began and a week later Bagwell found himself without a job.
9 Goldberg Loses The Elimination Chamber
Goldberg's original run in WWE is looked back upon as somewhat of a failure. Personally, I quite enjoyed it, but I was only 13 at the time and it was my first exposure to Goldberg. I remember being very disappointed when Triple H won one of the first ever Elimination Chambers after it came down to him and Bill. It was the first time we had really seen the side of Goldberg that was showcased so well in WCW years before.
His pod opened and he exploded out of it, tearing through everyone else in the match including a brutal spear to Chris Jericho through the glass of an empty pod. It all turned out to be in vain though as The Game, with a helping hand from Ric Flair, nailed Goldberg with a sledgehammer to pick up the win and retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
8 Billionaire Ted Wrasslin War Room
Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage weren't the only people at WCW being mocked on a weekly basis by WWE during early 1996. In fact, the focal point of some of the sketches were a parody of Ted Turner known as Billionaire Ted. WWE's Ted would hold meetings in his Wrasslin' War Room along with Huckster and Nacho Man, as well as a host of 'WCW writers' and discuss ways they could ultimately defeat WWE.
The most ironic part of these skits when you look back now was how Vince and WWE would poke fun at how old the stars were that WCW were 'stealing' from WWE, ending the segments with a comment about how WWE was all about new blood. In present day, Triple H, The Undertaker and Goldberg are all older than Hulk and Savage were at the time.
7 Mike Awesome Jobs After Getting Injured
Mike Awesome made quite a name for himself during his run in ECW and WCW. Even when he first arrived in WWE, things didn't look too bad for Awesome. In fact, he was the first WCW star during the Invasion angle to get his hands on WWE gold, defeating Rhyno for the Hardcore Championship, thanks to the 24/7 rule.
After he lost the belt a few weeks later, things gradually got worse for Awesome in WWE. Then in November of 2001, he was sidelined with injury and upon his return eight months later, he just spent his time losing to more established talents on WWE Velocity. In September 2002, he was released from WWE and actually said he was happy to be out of the company due to all the backstage politics.
6 Eric Bischoff Gets Humiliated
While Ted Turner may have been the money behind WCW, Eric Bischoff was ultimately the key to its success. He ran the company day-to-day, which is why it was so shocking when Vince McMahon hired his one time bitter enemy to be the first ever general manager of Raw. It later turned out that there was method to Vince's madness.
During Bischoff's long tenure as the Raw GM, he had to put up with a lot of humiliating stuff. It included having his head shaved after failing to beat his on screen nephew Eugene, losing a Survivor Series match to SmackDown GM Teddy Long and finally being fired by McMahon and thrown into a garbage truck. Clearly still some resentment there on Vince's part.
5 Scott Steiner Failed WWE Run
Outside of the big talents such as Hogan and the nWo, Scott Steiner was seen as a big capture from WCW once he eventually agreed to get on board. So big in fact that pretty much his first order of business upon his return to WWE was to feud with Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship. It was plain to see during their rivalry that Steiner wasn't going to be the talent that WWE had hoped he would be for them.
Not long into his matches with The Game, Scott would be visibly out of breath and struggling to perform moves due to that. His battles with Triple H were the only high profile ones he had during his two-year stint with WWE. Like so many WCW alumni at the time, he gradually made his way down the card.
4 Sting Loses At WrestleMania 31
Many WCW talents held out on switching to WWE after it was purchased, but none longer than Sting managed. Many believed Sting's chance to compete in WWE had long passed, however in 2014, almost 14 years after WCW closed its doors, he finally arrived. His first match as a WWE Superstar took place at WrestleMania 31 against Triple H.
I remember watching the show and of all the matches on the card, it felt that was the only one I could 100% guarantee I knew who would win, Sting. Well, turns out I was wrong. Shockingly, Triple H defeated Sting on his maiden voyage in WWE. Clearly even after all this time, Vince still wants to make sure we all know exactly who won the Monday Night Wars.
3 Dusty Rhodes Wears Polka Dots
Despite the majority of the entries on this list, Vince's attempts at burying WCW pre-date him buying the company and even began before the Monday Night Wars. In 1989, the legendary Dusty Rhodes made the leap from WCW to WWE. Due to Rhodes' background with the enemy, he was given his now famous black and yellow polka dot gimmick. While never confirmed, it's widely assumed that Dusty was made to wear the polka dot outfit in an attempt to humiliate the former WCW star.
Well, consider it mission very much not accomplished. Dusty being the tremendous performer he was, embraced the new look and remained as popular as he ever was before stepping foot in WWE. Obviously you'd need a lot more than a colorful gimmick change to keep down someone like Dusty Rhodes.
2 The Undertaker And Sara Bury DDP
Upon his arrival in WWE, Diamond Dallas Page was given the tremendous honor of feuding with WWE legend and stalwart, The Undertaker. Well, on first appearance it seemed like an honor. It was actually a very strange and poorly thought out storyline that didn't reflect the talent that DDP was bringing to the table. The crux of it was that DDP was stalking Undertaker's then wife Sara.
The whole feud culminated in a match between the two where once The Deadman got his hands on DDP, it became an incredibly embarrassing bout for someone of Page's standards. Following his rivalry with The Undertaker, DDP's WWE career was pretty lackluster. He adopted a motivational speaker gimmick which never really took off, ironic really considering that's effectively what he's built his post wrestling career upon.
It's been said that Undertaker took offense to DDP wanting to plan their matches ahead of time and complained to Vince McMahon, which is why he was buried during his WWE run.
1 Gillberg Mocks Goldberg
While WWE had many on-screen personas that openly mocked rival talent on WCW as previously listed in this article, there are perhaps none quite as famous and memorable as Gillberg, portrayed by Duane Gill. At the height of WCW's success, Goldberg was a major star. So naturally, WWE wanted to mock him and they did so by creating a scrawny, insulting version of him. Basically a purposefully budget version of Bill.
Gillberg would have 'spraklers' in place of Goldberg's impressive pyro and regularly lose matches on Raw in a quick and shameful fashion. Despite Goldberg currently being a part of WWE, Gillberg returned to Raw a little over a month ago. Gill was brought out by Chris Jericho in an attempt to mock Goldberg and was quickly sent packing by an irate Kevin Owens.