The popular choice for the worst booked angle in WWE history would have to be the WCW Invasion. Fans would hope for years that we would one day get the dream of a real storyline pitting WCW against WWE. The concept seemed impossible with neither company wanting to budge in helping the other during their bitter war. Both promotions would sabotage each other in signing talents, throwing very public insults and just trying to overall bury the competition. Things were very ugly until Vince McMahon finally won the war by purchasing a dying WCW in 2001. This gave us the WCW invasion we wanted for years but it wasn’t what anyone expected.
Most of the top stars from WCW were not even part of the storyline. The contract stipulations made it clear that the wrestlers would sit out longer to collect big money from AOL Time Warner rather than take a pay cut to work for WWE. These wrestlers almost all ended up coming to WWE once their contracts ran out, but they were missed desperately during the invasion. Booker T was the only established main eventer to make the jump to WWE with WCW. The rest of the roster featured younger prospects and unknown midcarders that held less instant credibility as a threat to the WWE brand.
The lack of big name talent on WCW’s side caused various WWE superstars to make the heel turn in joining WCW. Shane McMahon, Steve Austin and others served as the leaders of WCW rather than anyone actually associated with the company. This made the entire invasion look silly and it obviously suffered a horrible failure. The tremendous list of WCW wrestlers that weren’t a part of the storyline is staggering. Wrestling fans will always wonder just how different things could have gone if a few more stars were brought over. These are the top fifteen wrestlers that could have made a big impact in saving the 2001 WCW invasion from failure.
15. Scott Hall
The poetry of Scott Hall being the first man to appear on WWE television as part of the WCW invasion would have been perfect. Hall was dealing with his alcohol and drug addictions at the time and had a poor reputation following his demise in WCW, so it was a longshot. WWE eventually brought him in for just a few months after the Invasion ended with the New World Order, but it would have been better during the actual WWE vs. WCW storyline. Hall attacking WWE wrestlers and cutting a promo in the reverse fashion he did for his WCW debut could have set the tone for a great invasion angle with brilliant storytelling, This ultimately was not the case.
Sid has become one of the forgotten main event stars of the 90s. WWE rarely talks about him in historical documentaries or talking points but the big man was among the few to hold both the WWE and WCW World Titles during the Monday Night Wars. Sid also found himself in the main event of multiple WrestleMania events. He was a much bigger deal than you likely remember and he would have made a huge impact during the invasion. His powerful moves and intensity would’ve been ideal for the story of WCW taking the fight to the WWE. Sid was an intimidating badass and that was severely missed in the WCW talent signed for the invasion.
The depth of the WCW roster following the purchase from WWE was very weak. Aside from Booker T, the talent list was basically all undercard guys from the dying days rather than the stars associated with the WCW product. A couple of credible midcarders would have helped the cause and Konnan was among those names. Konnan never had the potential of guys like Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho or Rey Mysterio, but he was great competition for them in the midcard with that being his ceiling. His charismatic personality and good in-ring work could have been used to help make WCW look like a formidable threat to WWE.
12. Mr. Perfect
Many of the names associated with WCW provided no threat or value to the storyline because fans just didn’t care about the likes of Sean O’Haire, Chuck Palumbo and Chavo Guerrero. The past WWE stars that defected to WCW coming back at the top of the invading promotion were what was drastically missing from the story. Curt Hennig achieved his greatest fame in WWE as Mr. Perfect, but spent the majority of the Monday Night Wars in WCW. The stellar in-ring technician had the talent and name value to make an impact in helping add credibility to both WCW’s roster and the overall story. WWE ended up signing Perfect just two months after the invasion ended to make matters look worse regarding the angle.
11. Rey Mysterio
The argument can be made that Rey Mysterio was the most successful WWE signing of a talent that was made in WCW. Mysterio instantly connected with the audience and made WWE a great deal of money through merchandise. The unbelievable cruiserweight Superstar could have been a tremendous asset to the invasion. Fans would not have booed Mysterio at the time like they did most of the WCW stars, but that would have been a good thing. Rob Van Dam became a huge star due to being the only invasion babyface that fans fell in love with. The same would have taken place with Mysterio and the storyline would have had another dimension to it, something the story desperately needed.
10. Diamond Dallas Page
Diamond Dallas Page was indeed booked as part of the WCW invasion, but this wasn’t the same DDP we all knew and love. Page portrayed a completely new character of a heel stalking The Undertaker’s wife. The putrid writing killed any chances DDP had at succeeding in WWE and he quickly became an irrelevant midcarder. Page had a genuine connection with the WCW fans and he was their version of the people’s champion. WWE dropped the ball big time by not allowing DDP to make an impact on the roster by playing his usual character and wrestling the way he did in WCW. This was even more depressing than the other mistakes, as Page was right there and just used poorly.
9. Lex Luger
We all know the negatives to Lex Luger when it came to his wrestling career. His arrogance and one-dimensional skills presented Luger as a horrible person to deal with. It made sense why WWE refused to give him a look following the demise of WCW but he would have clearly made an impact. Luger was one of the legitimate WCW main eventers and fans viewed him more as a “WCW guy” than a WWE star. One of the biggest moments in WCW history saw Luger defeat Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Championship on Nitro. For all of Luger’s flaws, he was once perceived as a Superstar and that was desperately lacking during the WCW invasion.
8. Kevin Nash
The signing of Kevin Nash by WCW in the mid-90s may have been the most underrated one in starting the Monday Night Wars. Everyone remembers Scott Hall for his WCW debut unofficially starting the New World Order and Hulk Hogan joining was the biggest moment, but Nash was just as important to the original trio. WWE made Nash a champion before WCW swiped him away, but he never felt like a top tier main event star until his WCW run. His singles push with the Wolfpac in WCW made Nash a Superstar and his presence could have been pivotal in creating a realistic threat against WWE during the invasion.
7. Ric Flair
Ric Flair was already over the hill around the time WWE purchased WCW, but he had a few years of service left. No one was more synonymous with the WCW brand than Flair and Vince McMahon should have done everything in his power to make him a part of the invasion. Flair could have wrestled or played a general manager role similar to when he debuted literally the night after WWE officially defeated WCW in the invasion storyline. The star power problem could have been far less offensive if WWE secured just one or two legacy stars from WCW. Flair’s personality and reputation are things that the WCW squad lacked big time.
6. Scott Steiner
The later years of WCW were horrible, with very few things of note taking place. One of the rare stars worth keeping an eye on was Scott Steiner. Booker T and Steiner were the only two new stars making waves during the last year or two, but Steiner was not part of the invasion. His unpredictable personality and badass persona of Steiner could have seen him play a formidable leader of the WCW brand going at WWE. People often sleep on just how outstanding of a heel Steiner was for WCW as Big Poppa Pump and that should have carried over to WWE. The timing of coming in for the invasion angle could have provided far more entertaining television.
5. Randy Savage
There are many theories out there as to why things Randy Savage left WWE for WCW, but the only thing certain is there was a grudge on both sides. Savage felt disrespected by WWE and Vince McMahon unofficially blacklisted Savage from the company. The realism in play with Savage being one of the leaders of the invasion could have added a completely different dynamic in giving us the WWE vs. WCW war we desperately wanted for years. Savage was up there in age but still decent enough to wrestle the occasional match. Fans still cared about him and seeing Randy Savage in a WWE ring one more time would have been worth it.
4. Hulk Hogan
The biggest defection of the 90s occurred when Hulk Hogan left WWE for WCW. Everyone knows the introduction of the nWo, with Hogan turning heel for the first time, is what caused WCW to pass WWE for a few years. Hogan returning as the hated “Hollywood” Hogan leading WCW rather than just the New World Order could have led to massive success and lots more money. We got Hogan’s return months later against The Rock but that match could have been far more special if built up with the WWE vs. WCW storyline. Hogan facing Steve Austin for the first time may have also made sense and provided one of the most special matches in wrestling history.
Wrestling fans will always regret not getting to see Sting enter WWE during his prime. The iconic WCW legend never appeared in WWE until 2014 and we all missed out on many classic matches. Sting being the face of WCW could have given a realistic tale of a star representing the company that he gave his all to. WWE tried doing another WWE vs. WCW storyline for the Triple H vs. Sting WrestleMania 31 match, but it was too little, far too late. Sting coming to WWE for the invasion would have been the best timing and we may have actually gotten the dream match against The Undertaker we’ve always wanted.
2. Eric Bischoff
The biggest issue with the WCW invasion was a lack of purpose. Instead of the two biggest wrestling companies of all time finally going at it, the main story featured Shane McMahon buying WCW because he was mad at his father. The biggest wrestling war of all time devolved into another trivial chapter in the McMahon family drama. Eric Bischoff would have been the perfect man to lead the charge. The personal hatred between Vince McMahon and Bischoff during the Monday Night War added extra excitement that WWE didn’t capture with the storyline. Bischoff cutting promos on a weekly basis may have been great enough to solely make WCW a credible invasion group given the past. Instead, the company opted to bring him in following the invasion….
Bill Goldberg was the last mega-star made in WCW and the face of the franchise during its final two-to-three years. Every wrestling fan dreamed of the day Goldberg would face Steve Austin in a singles match. It never happened due to Goldberg making his WWE debut the month after Austin retired in 2003, but we desperately needed it during the invasion. The WCW vs. WWE war didn’t feature any of the cross promotional fantasy matchups we wanted for years, unless you longed for Booker T vs. The Rock. Goldberg being the leader of the WCW roster and finally getting the big match against Austin could have saved the failed angle.
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