SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestling
   Thu, November 13, 2003



News & Rumours
Bios
Obits
Canadian Hall of Fame
WrestleMania 30
WrestleMania 30 photos
Video
Movie Database
Minority Mat Report
Columnists
Features
Results Archive
PPV Reviews
SLAM! Wrestling store
On Facebook
On Twitter
Send Feedback




Photo Galleries

WWE Survivor Series


House of Hardcore VII


Signmania VIII


Beulah McGillicutty


Big Event 7 fan fest


Raw in Buffalo


SHIMMER tapings







SCOREBOARD
PHOTO GALLERY
VIDEO GALLERY
COMMENT





Recent arrivals didn't save InVasion
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


'Hollywood' Hogan versus The Rock at WrestleMania. (Photo: Mark O'Neill, Toronto Sun)


With the failure of the ECW/WCW invasion angle, it's hard to imagine just how much better the angle could have been had the right people been brought in.

Since the demise of the feud, a number of former WCW and ECW employees have been brought in to the WWE. In fact, 16 WCW and ECW wrestlers and personalities have been introduced, including five WCW Heavyweight champions, two WCW cruiserweight champions, a key player in the Monday Night Wars and other talent.

Let's take a look now, at who has signed with WWE since the InVasion:

Bill Goldberg - Debuting in WWE only a short time ago, Goldberg has been one of the hottest commodities in the ring. As one of the short-listed men who WWE fans truly wanted to see in a WWE ring, Goldberg started off hot against The Rock, but cooled slightly when the RAW braintrusts put him in neutral for a short time. A feud with Chris Jericho eventually transitioned him to a title feud with Triple H, which he won. Goldberg has since held the title, fighting through a hot bounty-hunter angle, and now working against Evolution. He's easily been the best addition WWE has made.

Dawn Marie - Dawn came into WWE very subtley, appearing one show as a would-be assistant to Vince McMahon, but quickly moving into a bizarre love angle with Torrie Wilson and her father. The angle carried through months on television, but only served to turn fans away from the brunette who was arguably the most popular lady in ECW. She was put in less than entertaining scenes with Al, and following his "death", she has only re-appreared for "contests". She has, on occasion, wrestled on Velocity, but her Smackdown! placement has not helped her career.

Eric Bischoff - If Bischoff has had any success in WWE, it's been because of his own ability to get over with the fans. Vince McMahon has ensured that Bischoff has been humiliated time and time again, with scenes with Mae Young and throwing up on screen. Bischoff, to his credit, has done an amazing job as GM. He's maintained a heel, hard-ass persona throughout his time, always doing what he could with what was given to him. His promos on RAW continue to be stellar, and most of the time not long-winded speeches that others on WWE TV (read: McMahon, any) have been known for. You have to praise Bischoff for also working so well with the men he let go from his company. One would think that he would not get along with the likes of Jericho and Steve Austin, but the chemistry between Bischoff and others has been nothing short of remarkable.

Ernest 'The Cat' Miller - Miller spent time as an announcer on Velocity, unsuccessfully. Now he looks primed to re-enter the ring, and there are hopes that the connection he had with WCW fans at the end of the company's run can be re-ignited.

Hulk Hogan - Where to begin? Hogan was the top name from the nWo "invasion". While he was brought in as a feel, fans quickly turned Hogan face, culminating at WM18 in Toronto. WWE responded by putting the title belt on Hogan soon after, but Hogan's stay at the top wasn't an extended one. The pops soon started to die down, and Hogan was teamed with Edge. The combination gave Hogan a bit more juice while giving Edge a star-quality rub. The two would win the tag team titles, but the duo would be split soon afterward. Soon after, Hogan would go on hiatus after a brutal loss to Brock Lesnar. All the while, seeds were being planted for an "ultimate showdown" with Vince McMahon. This match would take place at Wrestlemania 19, following a second Rock/Hogan match a month earlier, and Hogan would come out on top. Soon after the match though, Hogan would be fired, only to re-appear as Mr. America, a gimmick that spelled the end of Hogan's end in WWE. Though he would try to help Zack Gowen get over, the push would fail, and Hogan soon left WWE. Since his final departure, Hogan has gone to Japan and been successful there. He was scheduled to face Jeff Jarrett at NWA-TNA's big November PPV, but an injury has caused the match to be delayed. Hogan's future, at this point, is up in the air, as TNA awaits the Hulkster's recovery from surgery.

Jamie Noble - Noble, more than anybody in the post-InVasion era, has seen ups and downs. His debut feud against The Hurricane was as hot as anything, and his trailer-trash gimmick along with Nidia, worked. After winning the title, however, Noble was the champion for a long time, mainly because the Cruiserweight division was given little time on regular WWE TV. After dropping the belt to Billy Kidman, Noble was almost completely relegated to Velocity, until a bizarre love-angle with Torrie Wilson and Billy Gunn brought Noble back to the bright lights of regular television. Since then, Noble has been inserted into a hot feud with one-time ally Tajiri. The fans are getting behind Noble, and it looks like he'll have another successful run near the top of the cruisers again.

Jimmy Yang - Yang, after going around the indies and a stint in Japan, is back in North America full-time as one of Tajiri's mob men. His teaming with Sakoda looks to have a lot of potential, and the former Yung Dragon has a big upside.

Johnny Stamboli - Stamboli started out his WWE career on the RAW roster, mainly in the Hardcore division, including a stint as the Hardcore champ. After the elimination of the belt, however, Stamboli became stagnant on RAW's roster, and soon was relegated to HeAT. Stamboli, however, saw the bright lights of weekly television again, however, as a member of the Full Blooded Italians. Reprising a similar role he had while in WCW, Stamboli now is part of an Italian mob-type group with Nunzio and Chuck Palumbo. While the group has not been on Smackdown! on a consistent basis in some time, Stamboli looks to have cemented himself a good spot in WWE.

Kevin Nash - Considered by many to be too old and broken down, Nash proved his critics… right. Nash re-debuted in the WWF with the nWo, and almost immediately got himself on the injured list. Upon his return, his first match back, 10 seconds into said match, Nash would tear his quadriceps muscle, and be sent back to the shelf. Earlier this year, Nash returned, and was put into a title feud with Triple H, that went nowhere. Now, Nash has been working on the Punisher movie, where he has apparently injured himself again. With his contract expiring in February, it's a safe bet that Nash will not be with WWE much longer, but could pop up in a place like TNA.

Nunzio - Known as Little Guido Ameritato in ECW, Nunzio was initially introduced as Jamie Noble's cousin before branching out as the head of the Full Blooded Italians. The group started out strong, becoming hitmen for hire. Contract squabbles with member Chuck Palumbo, however, have lead to fewer appearances by the group, though Nunzio has performed recently on his own in the Cruiserweight division.

Rey Mysterio Jr. - Mysterio's first order of business in WWE was re-acquiring his mask, which became the centerpiece for his pre-debut promo spots. Rey has arguably been the most successful of the WCWites on Smackdown! His high-flying luchadore style caught the eyes of fans immediately, and have kept him at the top. He was a part of the "Smackdown! Six" that entertained crowrds week-in and week-out in 2002. He would tag up with Edge and win the titles, in the meantime pulling out superhuman moves. Lately, Mysterio has taken his act to the Cruiserweight division, where he has dominated. He defeated Matt Hardy for the title in what many consider a contender for TV match of the year, and had impressive showings against many, including Tajiri. Though he'd lose the belt to Tajiri later on, Mysterio has kept a huge fanbase and remains one of the most popular attractions for the Smackdown! brand.

Ric Flair - Flair was brought back to the WWF nearly immediately at the end of the InVasion. Flair would become co-owner of the WWF with Vince McMahon, and the two had a few memorable moments together, including "Slick Ric" hugging Vinnie Mac in his first show. At the time of the brand split, Flair would head up RAW, mainly feuding with Steve Austin, including a big match against Stone Cold, until Austin left the company. Flair would not last as owner, and lost his stake in the company to McMahon. He then became a more active wrestler, first backing Triple H, then Batista, and slowly forming Revolution with the two and Randy Orton. Through everything, Flair has maintained professionalism, cut classic promos and had great bouts on RAW.

Scott Hall - Hall entered the WWF after months of speculation that the nWo would be coming to the company. Unfortunately, the group did not have the impact many thought they would. Hall's top moment in the WWF was a Wrestlemania match against Steve Austin, though many saw this as lame-duck and would've preferred to see Austin face Hulk Hogan. Soon after 'Mania, Hall was released due to more alcohol-related problems. He found a new home for a brief period of time with the newly founded NWA-TNA, but left after a short time. He has not been heard from (at least in terms of ring work), in a few months.

Scott Steiner - Arguably the hottest commodity at the end of WCW, Steiner arrived in WWE in late 2002 with a busload of hype and potential. Unfortunately, a few matches into his second stint with WWE (his first coming with brother Rick in the early 1990s), Steiner showed how deteriorated he was as he blew up in title matches against Triple H. Steiner was squickly sent down the card, failing to make it as a babyface. An extended run with Test, and even the partnering with Stacy Kiebler didn't generate any babyface heat for Scottie, and a short time ago he was turned heel. Thus far the heel work has been acceptable, but his character isn't as sharply defined as it was in WCW.

Shannon Moore - Moore entered WWE as a hot cruiserweight star, impressing a lot of fans with his high-flying offence. It wasn't until a "pairing" with Matt Hardy that Shannon really took off. His tag-team matches with the sensi of Mattitude, along with their backstage skits, gave Moore a strong character to go with some top-rated matches. Unfortunately, it looks like the duo may be split with Hardy heading to RAW. Hopefully this does not mean more Velocity days for Moore though, who would be a perfect Cruiserweight champion.

Ultimo Dragon - Dragon was given much the same promotion prior to his arrival that Mysterio was. Known worldwide, Dragon received big pops immediately, even when he went through some dark matches prior to his debut. His first match was a hot one. Despite having a severe arm injury that ultimately led to his dismissal from WCW, Dragon showed no ill effects, putting on a hot match with Moore. For some reason, however, Dragon would soon be relegated to Velocity. He would continue to have incredible matches, however, against other cruiserweights and indie wrestlers such as Joey Mathews on the weekend show. Recently, however, Dragon has been brought back to Smackdown!, looking to build an angle with Tajiri and his mafia men. Hopefully it will mean more of Dragon on the show.

Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! Wrestling since 2000. To view more articles by Jon, visit his website at www.jonwaldman.com.