The Monday Night Wars were arguably the most exciting time in history to be a wrestling fan. With two brilliant products to watch that were constantly trying to outdo each other, wrestling fans always had a great product to watch. Because of that, when Vince McMahon eventually won the war, buying out WCW, there was an air of disappointment as that competition had been killed. However, when one door closes another opens. The potential for countless dream matches between WCW and WWF wrestlers had everybody excited.
This created the infamous Invasion angle featuring both WCW and ECW. Realistically, it should have been the greatest wrestling storyline in history, one that could never be matched or topped and could have taken the industry to a brand new place. As we now know, that was far from the case, with the storyline falling flat in so many ways. With countless big names missing from the angle and poor booking decisions leading to many fans feeling let down by the Invasion.
It's a topic that has been covered countless times in a variety of ways. But there are still facts coming to light now from wrestlers discussing the storyline, that fans do not know about. Which is where this article steps in. Throughout this list, we will provide 20 facts you never knew about the disastrous WCW Invasion angle, so you can discuss how much you hated the whole thing with that much more knowledge moving forwards.
20 Rey Mysterio Was Too Popular
Throughout the Invasion angle, the WCW talent was positioned as a heel that the fans were (and did) expected to boo as they were deemed to be 'attacking' WWE and the company that the fans loved, even though the majority also watched WCW.
Because of this, WWE was hesitant to involve Rey Mysterio due to the potential they knew he had as a major babyface. The company knew that it was very unlikely fans would be willing to boo Mysterio, something that never happened throughout his career until he took the backlash from angry Daniel Bryan fans at the 2014 Royal Rumble. Due to that, the high-flying wrestler was kept out of the Invasion story, a decision that in the end worked out for the best, with Mysterio portrayed as the ultimate babyface during his career, earning WWE plenty of money from merchandise.
19 Stacy Keibler Was Secure
While Stacy Keibler didn't have a role in the invasion angle itself, during that time many WCW wrestlers were concerned about not being taken up by WWE for a contract, fearing for their jobs with no other big companies available to work for.
One name that never had to worry during that period was Stacy Keibler. That's right, amongst all the top tier talent that WCW had from Sting to Hulk Hogan, WWE was excited about signing Keibler. The company reached out to the Diva to ensure her that she had a job with WWE and not to worry about anything, which is good of them to do and great for Keibler, but surprising nonetheless.
18 WWE Tried To Relaunch WCW
A lot of people look at the Invasion angle as not just a failure, but a critical mistake on WWE's behalf, as ending WCW effectively ended any and all real competition that they had to make the product better. Many critics wanted to see WCW continue, but under WWE's leadership, allowing the talents involved to still have the competitiveness to outperform each other, making each show must see, and WWE actually did want the same.
According to many sources, WWE did plan on promoting WCW as a show, just as Raw or SmackDown, but because of how poor the show had become towards the end of its run, no TV networks were interested in taking a chance and the invasion was done instead to bring the talent into WWE's locker rooms.
17 Booker T Stood Up To WWE
One of the big problems with WCW's impact in WWE was the way that the talents were booked, with the vast majority of them being treated very poorly. DDP came in as a major star and was made to look ridiculous from the start as an example. That is why most of the big names who did come over didn't have the major impact that they should have done, yet Booker T certainly breaks that rule, and his work in WWE is arguably greater than anything he did prior to it.
One of the main reasons for this is that Booker T stood up to WWE's creative whenever a bad idea was sent his way, which is why he was booked as one of the biggest stars coming over during the Invasion, as he wouldn't stand for being treated poorly and it's fair to say it worked out well for him.
16 Changing Logo
Because of everything that was going on at the time, the fact that WWE decided to change the logo of WCW might have gone unnoticed by many fans, but that is what WWE decided to do, for some reason. Instead of sticking with what everybody knew and loved, WWE clearly had to make their mark on everything WCW related to prove that they had really taken over, and that is exactly what they did, all the way to the company logo.
While it wasn't a major change and didn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, as they did own the product, the fact the logo was made more like the WWF logo at that time just made everything blend into one, rather than making it feel like a real invasion.
15 Backstage Heat
In wrestling, the men and women involved often have to portray anger and hatred within the ring to each other, in order to convey a story to the fans, but backstage they will often be good friends. However, that wasn't the case during the Invasion angle, with the WCW talent having major backstage heat with a lot of the WWE wrestlers when they were originally brought over for the Invasion story.
DDP has spoken about this topic in interviews, claiming that they were treated like the enemy for a period of time, meaning that even though the Monday Night Wars were over, things were still very tense between the boys.
14 Invasion Angle Had Previously Been Discussed
Before the Invasion angle that all fans know and, well, love to hate, there was actually discussions to do an Invasion story already, between ECW (who would be involved in the eventual Invasion) and WCW.
Tod Gordon, Paul Heyman's business partner had discussed the idea with him and it appeared things would take place for a storyline invasion of WCW, using many of ECW's top stars to make the angle work. However, because Heyman felt like WCW was simply wanting to use his talent to make WCW a bigger product, he quickly ended the idea and cut ties with Gordon after feeling betrayed.
13 Sting Doesn't Regret Missing It
One man that almost never appeared in WWE was the Icon, Sting. Thankfully, the wrestling legend eventually caved and appeared in WWE and now sits in the Hall of Fame, and has admitted he loved working with the company.
Despite how much he enjoyed his WrestleMania appearance or being involved in the WWE Universe, Sting has admitted he never regrets not coming to WWE during the Invasion angle, or anytime after that. Sting has made it clear that he was fearful of what WWE would have done with his character had he jumped ship, and given how the Invasion was booked, perhaps he was correct.
12 WCW Matches Were Not Popular
WWE did try to make WCW stars standout on their own at times, putting on special 'WCW only matches,' but these were always rejected by fans, which meant that the Invasion angle had to take place.
The first match they showcased to fans was Booker T against Buff Bagwell, which could have been done intentionally, as Bagwell wasn't a particularly skilled wrestler and it was always going to be a poor match. WWE fans booed the entire thing out of the building and it was clear that WWE had to move in a new direction or risk the whole thing being a major flop.
11 Fans Turned Away
Initially, the idea of an Invasion angle between WCW and WWE was the coolest thing possible to wrestling fans, the story that everyone had wanted to see mixing all the best talent in the world at that time. However, that positivity quickly began to fade away the longer the ordeal dragged on, with WWE making mistake after mistake, with a lack of big names and injuries certainly playing a part in the problem.
Following WrestleMania X-Seven, ratings dropped, majorly, with fans showing that they had totally given up on the angle and what should have been the hottest time in wrestling history fell luke warm quickly.
10 DDP Wishes He wasn't Involved
Diamond Dallas Page was one of WCW's crowning jewels, a real main event star who helped carry the company and gained brilliant fan reactions. However, if you only saw him in WWE, you would never think of DDP as a top-tier talent.
DDP was brought in with a very strange stalker gimmick that nobody every really bought into and it didn't introduce DDP in the way a man of his talent deserved to be. Since retiring he has obviously discussed the story many times and has admitted he wished he walked away and said no to it. While people don't often come out and say the entire thing was terrible, the fact that a respected wrestler such as DDP wishes he wasn't involved the way he was should tell you that the angle wasn't great.
9 Vince McMahon Planned To Cheat
Vince McMahon has created some very strange ideas over the years and Dave Meltzer reported one very odd one that he originally wanted to do using WCW and ECW prior to the Invasion. With Shane in charge of WCW and Stephanie running ECW, Meltzer claims that Vince wanted to be caught cheating on his wife Linda McMahon, with none other than Torrie Wilson.
After seeing this, Linda would side with Shane and WCW, with the divorce seeing her take charge of Monday Nights, for WCW, while Smackdown would have been WWE's flagship show, yet for many reasons, this obviously never came to be.
8 The Push Of Jericho, Drink It In Man
Chris Jericho might well be one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, but at the start of the Invasion story, he was heading into things as an upper mid-card talent that had potential, nothing more and nothing less.
However, by the end of the whole thing, he was a major main event player who had become the first ever Undisputed Heavyweight Champion, starting what would prove to be an incredible journey in wrestling. With many big names injured or not available, such as The Rock who was filming a movie project, Jericho was able to step in and make the most of the opportunity to begin his climb to the very top of the mountain.
7 PPV Success
It's fair to say that the Invasion angle isn't one of the most fondly remembered in history, and while it certainly wasn't the worst of all time, many fans are more let down by what could have been had this been played out correctly.
Despite any negative complaints about the story and the lack of star power, it's fair to say that wrestling fans were interested in seeing what happened. Whether it was because it was the only show in town, or old WCW fans wanted to see their favorites again, people viewed. The WWF Invasion PPV still holds the record, to this day, for the most bought PPV in WWE history that is not a WrestleMania event, with an impressive 770,000 to its name, not too bad.
It is widely known that many of WCW's top stars chose not to come to WWE straight away after the company was bought by Vince McMahon, which is one of the main reasons that the Invasion angle was so poor, lacking the star power from WCW's side. However, while some names chose not to go to WWE, others were not invited, with WWE deciding to blacklist some talent for various reasons. Vince always puts business first and welcomed many names who had ditched WWE back, but others were simply not so lucky.
Jeff Jarrett was one name that WWE did not want to welcome back into the company, which might seem strange given that he was only ever a mid-card WWE talent. But the fact he once held up WWE for money is something that Vince never forgot.
5 Tony Schiavone Believes He Was Blacklisted
Speaking of being blacklisted, some talent, as mentioned in the previous entry, such as Jeff Jarrett and Vince Russo were blacklisted by WWE and were never invited to be part of the Invasion or any other storyline, others believe they were given the same treatment.
One man who thinks he was blacklisted was Tony Schiavone, who stated as such on Jim Ross' podcast. The man who was the voice of WCW in many ways was never given a shot by WWE, despite the fact they had Paul Heyman represent ECW on the commentary booth. Schiavone claimed during his interview with JR that he actually asked for a producers role within WWE and was simply told that they have nothing for another announcer and that was that.
4 War Games Plans
2017 officially saw the return of War Games with the excellent NXT match that blew fans away, reminding older fans how good the stipulation was and introducing newer viewers to a totally new concept.
But the idea to bring back War Games was one that NXT mastermind, Triple H has been cooking on since WCW was first bought by the company. The Game actually pitched the idea for a War Games match in WWE as soon as WCW was bought, knowing how good the stipulation was. Whether the match he suggested was actually between WWE and WCW remains unclear, but given the storyline, it would certainly have made sense to have done a War Games between them, perhaps making the angle slightly more memorable.
3 Making RVD A Star
Nowadays, thinking about the potential of someone like Rob Van Dam never being a major star in WWE is unthinkable given the legacy he had with the company and everything he achieved, yet that was a very real possibility when he first got involved in the Invasion angle.
RVD did not suit WWE's style and the company never saw him as a major main event talent, yet his involvement in the Invasion angle proved everybody wrong, with the ECW star being one of the standout performers throughout an underwhelming angle. A lot of fans now take RVD as a major star of WWE for granted, with a future Hall of Fame induction seemingly obvious for him, but they forget it was this angle that really allowed that to happen.
2 Boring Chants
When WWE boasts about the time when it bought WCW, and it does so at every available opportunity, they often show packages of the famous episode where Shane McMahon showed up at WCW and the simulcast between him and Vince McMahon, which started the Invasion angle.
This is built up in WWE folklore as a major moment in the story that wrestling fans loved being part of, and while it certainly was a unique story and did begin a major storyline in wrestling history, the fans in attendance at Raw certainly didn't enjoy it. Vince managed to waffle on so long during the segment that the fans in attendance actually began chanting 'boring' at the chairman, and while the magic of editing might have altered this in the history books, it remains a fact that it took place.
1 Shoot Promo
During the Invasion angle, Vince McMahon made the decision to inject ECW into the story in order to spice things up and help keep the angle alive, which it managed to do to an extent, creating some exciting content while also making things more confusing at the same time. However, one of the most enjoyable parts of the entire Invasion angle was the involvement of Paul Heyman. His genius and incredible ability on the microphone and at the commentary booth during that time really added to the entire story.
His famous promo to Vince McMahon on the pre-Survivor Series Smackdown is one that will always be remembered, but what many fans may not know is that the entire thing was a shoot. Heyman told Power Slam magazine that Vince's only request was to 'sell him some Survivor Series PPV's' and with the scathing lines that he dished out to him it's fair to say Paul.E did just that.