Amazing, isn’t it?
Amazing that in the FIFTEEN YEARS since it first happened, I have never inducted this match. You’d think I would have done so – after all, this match was the single 15 minute segment that effectively killed any hope or prayer of WCW actually being used by the WWF following the buyout. But I never have dove into this train wreck.
Any guesses as to why?
Look, I know why I’ve never covered it here. I got so angry at the time it happened that I honestly never wanted to relive it. Obviously I saw it live, and yes, I went over it several times as Bryan and I were penning The Death of WCW. And each time, my frustration with Vince and Co. hit the roof. Seriously, was it that hard to see that every single thing that happened on this Raw made it impossible for this match to be anything but the death knell for WCW?
How did this historic night begin? With a recap of the great days of WCW? A video package detailing the legacy of the WCW championship?
Of course not.
It began with Mr. WCW himself, Shane McMahon.
TO BE FAIR…Shane was the storyline owner of the company, and was threatening to bring WCW back and make it a true competitor once again to the WWF. In and of itself that’s a pretty stupid idea, but hey, if you want to trot him out to the ring as the face of the company, fine. However, when you have him make a stupid, seemingly random announcement about how Booker T is going to be facing Buff Bagwell in the main event, you kinda should expect some boos.
Which is exactly they got.
And honestly, how could the company have imagined they’d get anything else? Booker may have been a good guy in WCW, but he’d been attacking WWF guys and thus in a lot of ways that made him a defacto heel. Bagwell, of course, was a complete heel. So you have what amounts to a heel vs. heel match to kick off the all new WCW.
And WCW, as everyone in the crowd knew, were a bunch of losers. Not only had they lost the Monday Night Wars, since they had “invaded” the WWF, they were pummeled at nearly every turn. The week before, WCW tag team champions Chuck Palumbo and Sean O’ Haire hit the ring on Smackdown…
…and were more or less immediately laid out by fearsome main eventers such as AL SNOW.
Then there was DDP! He showed up and entered into a feud with the Undertaker. Ok, now that guy IS obviously the cream of the crop in the WWF. But you know who isn’t a top level WWF superstar?
Taker’s wife Sara…who pummeled Page with a kick right to the diamond vault.
Heck, even guys like Test, who had the audacity to TALK to WCW guys…
…were destroyed by the likes of Bob Holly and Meng.
This happened over and over on a show that was supposed to RELAUNCH WCW!
Every single WCW personality was made to look like a complete idiot.
And it wasn’t the WCW champion.
It wasn’t the WCW tag team champions.
It wasn’t the US champion.
Nope, it was…
And why wasn’t she made to look stupid?
Because she desperately wanted to become a WWF superstar.
And like any other red blooded woman, she had the hots for Vince McMahon of course!
So we entered into a show long storyline wherein she and Vince attempted to hook up in various erotic locations such as a shower…
…and a broom closet. But before Torrie could satisfy her primal urges with the manliest man of all men, the pair was continually interrupted by the likes of…
…Kurt Angle, who asks Torrie if she’d like to see him gold medals…
…and Perry Saturn, who just took a dump.
Apparently with Moppy in the stall.
This – THIS – is what the WWF presented to get you interested in their brand new organization.
And amazingly it gets worse.
So the commentary team for Raw at this time would have been Jim Ross and Paul Heyman. Yes, that Paul Heyman, of “Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman” fame. But these two are NOT going to be the ones calling the WCW main event. In fact, they don’t even WANT to call the main event as it’s obviously going to suck. Paul even goes so far as to say, “Don’t blame me and don’t blame the WWF for what happens next.”
I’m not making this up.
Shane comes down to the ring looking like a man walking the final mile. I mean, honestly, look at the poor guy – he must be staring at his chyron, with three WCW logos slapped near his name in a manner so haphazard it has me flashing back to my days with an Atari 800 and Print Shop.
So Shane welcomes everyone to WCW and the mere mention of those three letters has the crowd already booing. Oh boy.
But hey, no worries! Let’s just send out the smoke show with the 42″ legs!
Stacy Keibler is here!
Unfortunately she has to announce the referee for some reason.
And it’s Nick Patrick, so she is is also booed.
And really, NICK PATRICK? The guy that botched the Starrcade 97 “fast count” with Sting and Hogan and was also a heel ref for a good chunk of Nitro‘s glory era? Who thought THAT was a good idea?
So the match gets underwa…no, of course it doesn’t. See Shane is out there representing WCW. And since he is affiliated with WCW, that means he, too, must be humiliated!
Consider that – even a MCMAHON isn’t safe from the stench of WCW!
So he is thrown out of the building, and he doesn’t even fight it. He notes that WCW will be all about the superstars, not authority figures.
Any of that crap sound familiar?
Yep – the same drivel he now babbles out every week on Smackdown! No joke, it’s basically WORD FOR WORD what he said about WCW sixteen years ago. As Arn Anderson babbles on about this being bigger than “D-Day or the moon landing” (!!!!!), Scott Hudson even throws in a “what’s best for business” just to seal the deal!!
Finally, the match gets started, and it’s…you know, not terrible or anything. I’ll even go so far as to say it’s fine. Like if there were two WWF guys out there, no one I think would have even noticed. But then Buff does a little dance, and the crowd starts to get a tad antsy. In his effort to calm the crowd, Bagwell kicks into high gear…
…with the lightest chin lock you ever did see.
And you can imagine the reaction to that.
Obviously sensing a backlash is coming, Buff smoothly transitions from the chin lock…
…to this equally comfortable looking maneuver.
To Bagwell’s credit, the booing stops.
Unfortunately, it is replaced by rather loud chants of “THIS MATCH SUCKS!”
Booker takes control and hits some clotheslines and an axe kick, followed up by a spinarooni, which actually does get a slightly, somewhat, vaguely less negative reaction from the crowd.
But the most positive reaction of the bout?
Actually, the ONLY positive reaction of the bout?
That would be when Stone Cold Steve Austin and Kurt Angle showed up and beat the crap out of Booker.
They’re from the WWF, you see. And Booker?
Yeah. Stinky old WCW.
But hey, enough of that! Let’s get backstage and see what the real star of the show, VINCE MCMAHON, is up to!
Why by golly, he’s in a laundry room with Torrie, removing his wedding ring so he can get down to some funky bidness! In fact, let’s ratchet it up (down? you tell me) several million notches as we get the most Skinemax-tastic dialogue you ever did hear.
Vince is so unbelievably awesomely sexy that Torrie can’t help but rip his clothes off. She then tells him to close his eyes as she has a big surprise for him!
I had posted this image as the GIF of the Week a couple days ago. It garnered this response in our super secret area where we stash all those:
Thanks, Thomas. That’s something I’ll never get past.
As Vince waddles off with his pants around his ankles, he goes into an admittedly fantastic tirade about how Linda really should have trusted him. Won’t lie, that was funny stuff.
Not quite so humorous was the VERY end of the show.
This was when we got to see Austin, Angle, and Buff beat Booker all the way through the back of the arena and throw him out the door, treating him, and thus WCW as a whole, like a complete pile of garbage.
But hey, wait a minute!
Wasn’t Bagwell a WCW guy?
You bet he was!
So out with the other trash he goes.
So Austin and Angle, from the WWF, literally close the door on WCW as the copyright notice appears on screen to end the show.
And now I’m all angered up again.
Thanks a lot, Vince.