November 6, 2003
Reliving the InVasion, two years later
By JON WALDMAN - SLAM! Wrestling
Survivor Series 2003 will commemorate the two-year anniversary of the finale of one of the most anticipated, yet biggest bomb angles in wrestling history: The WCW/ECW InVasion.
When Vince purchased WCW in March 2001, he also picked up the contracts of several member of the WCW roster, and later added a couple ECW wrestlers to the mix.
While the InVasion angle has been dead and buried for quite some time, the talent that was brought in has had varying levels of success. Let\'s take a look back at the WCW/ECW wrestlers, valets, announcers and referees, and how their careers have progressed since the InVasion began. (And when you\'re done reading, follow the links to archived interviews with many of the stars.)
Arn Anderson - Brought in as an announcer for WCW wrestling matches, Arn has become a road agent after a brief stint on camera with Ric Flair when he was general manager. The "highlight" of Arn\'s time on WWE TV was being peed on by Steve Austin.
Kidman - Kidman was one half of the WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team
champions with Rey Mysterio Jr. when WCW folded. When he came into WWE,
he immediately won the cruiserweight title from Gregory Helms. Since
then, he\'s been WWE Cruiserwieght champion on a couple occasions, but
has yet to really catch on with the WWE crowd, who only pops for his
Shooting Star Press.
Booker T - One of the most successful recruits from WCW, Booker T entered WWE as the WCW Heavyweight and US champion after beating Scott Steiner on the last Nitro. After handing the US title to Kanyon, Booker T lost the World title to Kurt Angle. Shortly after re-gaining the title, Booker lost it to Rock at Summerslam \'01. Since then, Booker T has held the WWF/E tag titles on several occasions with partners including Test and Goldust. He also won the Intercontinental title earlier this year, but lost it to Christian. Booker has been consistently over with the fans, especially thanks to his back-stage skits with Goldust and the Spin-a-roonie. He was in the World title hunt, culminating with a match against champion Triple H at Wrestlemania 19.
Buff Bagwell - What could have been. Buff was considered to be one of the guys who would make an impact in WWE upon his arrival. Instead, he was (literally) shown the door after his opening match with Booker T. Since then, Buff has been relegated to the indie circuit, including Major League Wrestling. Many still see Bagwell as blacklisted in the wrestling industry.
Charles Robinson - One of two WCW referees that have found a permanent home in WWE, Robinson has quietly become one of the best-known refs in the WWE system. Robinson\'s best days in WCW were as Ric Flair\'s personal referee, but has not had an angle in WWE yet.
Chavo Guererro Jr.- Chavito\'s WWE career didn\'t start off well, as he was barely even a blip on the screen during the early days of the InVasion. After the angle ended, Chavo spent time as a Tough Enough trainer. Following Tough Enough III, Guererro began a short stint in the cruiserweight division before finding A permanent home in the tag-team ranks with uncle Eddie Guererro. The two have won the Smackdown! tag titles on numerous occasions.
Chuck Palumbo - Palumbo entered the InVasion as a WCW tag-team champion with Sean O\'Haire. Soon after their debut, however, the two lost the titles to The Undertaker and Kane. Following the conclusion of the angle, Palumbo was inserted into an ambiguous tag-team with Billy Gunn, soon to be followed with a manager, Rico. The two had success and won the belts on two occasions. The pinnacle of the angle was a gay wedding ceremony, revealed to be a publicity stunt set up by Rico. The two then battled Three Minute Warning in a rare Smackdown! vs. RAW match. Soon after, however, Gunn was injured. After a brief solo stint, Palumbo was introduced as a member of the Full Blooded Italians with Johnny Stamboli and Nunzio.
Diamond Dallas Page - After igniting the InVasion angle after being revealed as The Undertaker\'s wife Sara\'s stalker, DDP\'s WWE career went straight downhill. After defeating the Acolytes for the WWE tag team titles, the team lost those belts in a unification match with the Undertaker and Kane at Survivor Series \'01. Soon after, DDP began a stint in a motivational speaker role, reflecting his real-life side career. He won the WWE European title, only to lose it to Christian. DDP retired soon after, and has not maintained a role with WWE.
Hugh Morrus - Morrus\'s career in WWE can be considered lackluster at best. At one point, along with Chavo Guererro Jr., Morrus became a "free agent" in the InVasion angle. After the angle ended, Morrus began a stint as a Tough Enough trainer, returning soon after under his real name, Bill DeMott. Morrus had a brief push, but not an effective one. After years of injuries, DeMott is considering retirement and is working as a commentator on Velocity.
Hurricane - Entering the InVasion, Hurricane was the WCW Cruiserweight champion, and was known as Gregory Helms. In his first match, he lost said title to Billy Kidman, and went on quite a losing streak. After having no direction for a while, a heart-to-heart with Steve Austin inspired Helms to go under the mask and become a superhero, The Hurricane. Soon after his transformation, Hurricane found a sidekick in Molly Holly, who stayed with the superhero past the InVasion. Hurricane soon became a star in the Cruiserweight division and had a couple title runs before being sent to the RAW brand. The most noteworthy accomplishment there was a series of hilarious vignettes with The Rock and a tag-title reign with Kane. Lately, Hurricane has been training Rosey to become a superhero, and has maintained a good comedic role.
Kanyon - Shortly after the InVasion began, Kanyon was given the WCW US title by Booker T and Stephanie McMahon, but lost it a couple short months later to Tajiri. A WWF tag-title victory with partner DDP would be the last gold Kanyon would have. Kanyon returned earlier this year after being out for quite some time, but aside from one Smackdown! appearance, he has been relegated to Velocity.
Lance Storm - Storm was the first WCW wrestler to appear on WWF TV. After the InVasion was in full force, Storm became Intercontinental champion, eventually dropping the belt to Edge. Following the InVasion, Storm earned his way back onto the WWE roster, and ended up becoming a successful tag-team wrestler. After starting the "Un-Americans" group, Storm won the titles with Christian, and later William Regal. With Regal going down to injury, Storm acquired a new partner in Sean Morley. The two, however, weren\'t as successful, and after losing the belts, Storm squandered between HeAT appearances and the occasional RAW segment. A promo by Steve Austin declared Storm boring, and after some tutelage by Goldust, Storm has been re-ignited as a RAW regular.
Mark Jindrak - Almost as soon as the InVasion began, Jindrak was went down to the HWA. He only recently "debuted" on RAW as a tag team with Garrison Cade. Jindrak had a couple of appearances on HeAT and Velocity prior to his RAW debut, but nothing of note. Jindrak and Cade have become one of the most promising tag teams on RAW and are currently learing a lot by being in the ring with Ric Flair on a regular basis.
Mike Awesome - After winning the WWF Hardcore title in his very first WWF appearance, Mike Awesome became just another face in the InVasion. Injuries forced Awesome to the sidelines, and by the time he re-debuted on Velocity he was meaningless to the WWF. Awesome made a couple appearances on NWA-TNA, but much of his time has been spent in Japan.
Nick Patrick - Patrick, like Robinson, has had his best days angle-wise behind him. His only competitive bout was against Earl Hebner during the InVasion angle, but otherwise has been kept silent as a ref on Smackdown!
Rob Van Dam - RVD was inserted into the InVasion angle when ECW was re-formed. He was arguably the fan-favourite during the entire angle, earning chants and applause wherever he went. Mid-way through the angle, RVD won the Hardcore Title from Jeff Hardy, and was part of the winner-take-all Survivor Series match that concluded the InVasion. Since then RVD has held the Intercontinental belt on a few occasions, and at times looked like he was going to be the Heavyweight champion. However, politics have kept RVD down. RVD has had a series of memorable matches with the likes of Hardy, Chris Jericho, Eddy Guererro and Christian. He also partnered with Kane to win the tag titles, but became the "Big Red Machine\'s" victim after he was forced to unmask. RVD\'s popularity has not ceased, and he remains one of the top attractions on RAW week in and week out. The current holder of the IC title looks to be one of the top stars in wrestling, no matter where he goes.
Scott Hudson - While many pegged him as one of the next WWF announcers, Hudson soon found himself out of the Fed shortly after he debuted. Hudson has since been seen as a backstage interviewer with NWA-TNA, and seems to have found a permanent home with the group.
Sean O\'Haire - At the conclusion of WCW, O\'Haire was being called one of the future stars of wrestling. Upon his arrival to the WWF, however, O\'Haire was toned down. He was a WCW tag-team champion with Chuck Palumbo, but was soon sent to OVW for "WWF training". He made sporadic appearances on HeAT and Velocity before he was to be introduced to the main roster with a series of vignettes. Fans heavily anticipated the debut, but soon O\'Haire was partnered with Roddy Piper. After Piper was let go from WWE, O\'Haire was sent back down to Velocity, and has not been on that show on a regular basis.
Shawn Stasiak - Stasiak never caught on in WWE. Everywhere he went, fans always chanted "Meat", one of his former personas in the WWF. Stasiak became a bad comedy character in the InVasion, and was later given a spaced-out gimmick; literally. He began to refer to himself being from Planet Stasiak, and after a few matches on Heat, was let go by WWE. His name hasn\'t been heard much in wrestling circles since he was let go by WWE. He is currently living in Texas, studying to be a chiropractor.
Stacy Kiebler - Stacy was brought in as one of two WCW "divas" and made an immediate impact. Kiebler has seldom been anything but a valet in WWE, having managed several wrestlers such as Scott Steiner, Test and the Dudley Boyz. She\'s been one of the hottest commodities in WWE, however, and even had a spread in Stuff, a sister publication of Maxim.
Tommy Dreamer - Dreamer\'s highpoints in the WWF consisted of joining the InVasion in a hot segment, and being the last WWF Hardcore champion. Otherwise, Dreamer has been on and off WWE TV. His longer runs on RAW included an unusual gimmick where he would eat just about anything, and a mini-feud with Christopher Nowinski. Dreamer\'s outlook doesn\'t look to bright, but it is likely he will become a road agent for WWE following his retirement.
Torrie Wilson - Poor Torrie Wilson; the girl has been put in one humiliating angle after another since she debuted in WWE. Her first night saw her in less-than-appealing scenes with Vince McMahon, she was in a twisted angle with Dawn Marie that started out as being lesbian-driven and ended with her father passing away after a honeymoon night with his brunette bride, as well as being part of a bizarre four-way angle with Billy Gunn, Jamie Noble and Nidia. In between this, she has been forced to wrestle in just about every substance known to man, while managing the likes of Tajiri, Billy Kidman, Gunn and others. Somehow, however, Wilson has been able to become the most popular "diva" on Smackdown, and was also a Playboy Playmate. Her success outside the ring cannot be attributed to anything she does between the ropes, because one would think that higher-ups are trying to quelch whatever heat Wilson has.
Which WCW talent has been the most successful since entering WWE? E-mail Jon Waldman to cast your vote.
Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! Wrestling since 2000. Look for
Part Two of the WCW/ECW InVasion in the coming weeks, where Waldman will
take a look at the former WCW/ECW stars that have debuted in the WWF/E
since the InVasion ended.