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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

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Retrospective: WCW Stars in WWE (Post Invasion)

By @__Doug___

WWE has had a history of taking guys from WCW and making them into stars, or in some cases, sustain their star power. This wasn’t the case with guys that came in during the Invasion (which was awful, but that will be a different article for a different day). Today I’m focusing on main event guys that came in during and after Invasion from WCW.



Booker T was the most successful crossover from WCW. While it didn’t start off on the greatest of terms with the Buff Bagwell match, he was the only person to actually come out of WCW and was able to last. Yeah, he didn’t look great against any WWF star during the Invasion, but that was the point. After that trainwreck, he did produce some entertaining bits with Stone Cold in a grocery store and a church. The Edge feud for WM was just a bit boring in a meh card. After temporarily joining the NWO, he enjoyed a career renaissance while teaming with Goldust and produced one of the few watchable things on Monday Night Raw during that time. The tag team did win gold and in the process, got fans behind him far enough to where once he lost the tag titles, he was able to go for the WHC. The feud was blatantly racist and HHH was just damn near unwatchable coming off of the Steiner feud (which I’ll address later on). There was zero legitimate reason why Triple H should have won, but he did. He did this despite the Harlem Hangover and HHH taking forever to pin him after a Pedigree. Later on, Booker did win the IC Title in a decent feud with Christian and traded the belt with him. RVD became his new partner in a forgettable run as tag champs even defending them at Mania. A trade to Smackdown did rejuvenate his career and had a solid best of 5 series with an up and coming John Cena despite losing. Later on, he had a few championship matches against JBL and fought valiantly in a losing effort. Skipping past the disturbing Kurt Angle feud and we reach Booker vs Chris Benoit in a best of 7 feud for the US Title, which was a throwback to WCW, but this time had the inclusion of Randy Orton and Orlando Jordan. He did win the best of 7 series, but would lose the belt back to that man later on. Skipping the Boogeyman feud, because I’ll skip anything Boogeyman related, we get into the King Booker Era, where he won the KOTR and feuded with Bobby Lashley for the US Title, which he lost, but eventually he accomplished something bigger and won the WHC from Rey Mysterio. After engaging in a feud with Batista, eventually losing to him, it was the beginning of the end. It was a good run for Booker, becoming a World Champ and one of the most popular guys in the company. Shame the same didn’t happen to the other guys.


Diamond Dallas Page’s run was met with mixed emotions. He came in with the worst possible storyline with him being the stalker of Undertaker’s wife Sara. Not really the best use of a star that fans actually cared about during the whole angle. The feud between him and Undertaker was just flat out awful to watch and ended up sullying him. On top of that, instead of being a participant in the 5 on 5 Survivor Series match, he ended up being part of a battle royal, where he was eliminated fairly early. The lone bright spot during his tenure was a run with the European Championship. Injuries ended up shortening DDP’s run, which should have ended sooner if we knew this was how it was going to turn out.


The NWO shouldn’t have been brought to the WWE. Even the reasoning behind bringing them back was very dumb regarding the fact that Vince wanted to poison the company. While the group did start off pretty well with a debut at No Way Out, it started to fizzle out fairly quickly. Hogan vs Rock was the only thing we got out of it (and should have main evented WM 18 instead of HHH/Jericho where Chris was just a second string player). Fans still wanted to cheer Hogan, which led to a face turn (probably the only smart decision in all of this). Hall vs Austin, which was the other marquee NWO match, wasn’t good. After that, they started to add in other members such as X-Pac, Booker T, Shawn Michaels, and Big Show during various stages, but it was too late and the group rightfully disbanded.

While Hall and Nash were failures for different reasons (Hall for demons, Nash for injuries), Hogan actually had a solid run back with the company this time around. While he was clearly past his prime, fans were still behind him and he ended up winning the WWE Title from HHH and also formed a team with Edge winning the Tag Team titles as well. From there, the wheels fell off fairly quickly. Between losing to Lesnar and Rock to put them over, the McMahon match and “Mr. America”, the ending was not pretty.



The only thing that they did right during Scott Steiner’s tenure was giving him a mic. Everything else was a trainwreck. Having him be a face was not a great idea since he’s a natural heel and that feud with Triple H was absolutely awful.  Between a weirdly shaped Triple H, a Steiner with zero cardio, and terrible gimmick contests, this was destined to be awful. The company must have not watched WCW during the dying days, because no reason exists where Steiner should be in the ring more than 5 minutes. Also he had a debate about the Iraq War, which I’ll let you look up at your own leisure for those soundbites. The last notable feud he had was the feud with Test, which again was a terrible idea as neither of these guys can be a face convincingly and the on and off again treatment of Stacy. This was a big flop.



The debut of Sting during Survivor Series 2014 actually fit very well with the character with him fixing the wrong that was The Authority (while it did get reversed a few weeks later, point stands). The fact that he couldn’t win at Wrestlemania was saddening since it should have ended HHH’s reign of terror. His run came to a premature end with an injury and a loss to Seth Rollins, and while that outcome was expected, it is disappointing to see him go out that way.



Ric Flair had moderate success in his return to the company. After the whole bad idea of co-owners ended as well as his match with Taker, he found his stride with Evolution. He became a Tag-Team champion with Batista and held the belts for a little bit. When Evolution officially ended, he was able to win the IC Title and had a decent feud with HHH. After that feud and dropping the title, things started to unravel until his career was put on the line. His career ended with a loss to HBK in a great match and a proper sendoff as well. His most recent return of being Charlotte’s manager was a little bit hit or miss, but it’s something. Overall I’d categorize his return as a success.



Goldberg was just bad, very very bad. His early feuds with Rock and Jericho were fillers and ended up trying to build Goldberg into a credible threat. Goldberg ran through everyone not named Kevin Nash in the Chamber up until HHH hit him with a Sledgehammer and pinned him. This was a letdown for the fans, despite him winning the belt later on. After that said feud, we have the other trainwreck known as the Lesnar feud, and while I do give them credit for building the feud for a while, these two did not click at all and were disinterested, just like the crowd was and both left with barely any sadness from the fans.

In conclusion, more of these guys are misses than hits. Some were due to age, some were due to injuries, and most were due to bad decisions by creative and the higher ups. Booker was the only one to have sustained success and even his track record had question marks. Compare this to the guys Vince was able to get before Invasion and see the difference. In the end, pettiness wins out.

-Doug

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