Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the ongoingly zombified Cewsh Reviews. This week your intrepid Cewsh Reviews team has battled the plague to be here today, and Vice’s romantic evening with a champion pig and the Midgar Zolom resulted in his having a sickness that could be best described as “fucking insane”. Despite this, however, he has manned up to give you some sweet review loving, and I got over my stubbed toe (it was the pinky toe!) to do the same. Which is good, because this week we’re tackling a doozy, as we travel back in time to the year 2001 to cast our judgment on WWE’s Invasion.
When the natural invasion of WCW and ECW began, the entire wrestling world was buzzing with the possibilities inherent. Goldberg/Austin? Flair/Rock? Funaki/Lodi? The possibilities seemed endless. Then, when the smoke cleared, things hadn’t gone exactly the way that people wanted, and to this day the whole thing is thought of as one of the biggest failures in the history of professional wrestling. All the critics have had their say for years. Now its time to shine a light on the truth about Invasion.
So without any further ado, let’s do a motherfucking review!
Cewsh: Vice told me while we were watching this video that the guy in charge of production for TNA, Dave Sahadi, was in charge of this stuff for WWE during this era. Watching this video, its clear that that is the case, because this is basically a TNA video, except done incredibly, incredibly well. Its epic, it sells the whole angle as the world’s biggest deal, and having Roosevelt talk about war over the images of the invasion is surprisingly effective.
So yeah, great stuff here. Things like this kind of slipped through the cracks when I watched it years ago because there was so much going on all the time, but it has to be said. WWE has had a solid hold on this for years now.
Vice: This is how wrestling should look. The arena, the set, the ring.. everything just looks right. It’s got a perfect mix of elegance and grunge, unlike the bullshit sets of today that are way too tacky and clean looking. Simple can indeed be better.
Cewsh: We kick off the show with invaders Lance Storm and Mike Awesome standing in the ring. Storm then proceeds to cut a short promo, including the classic line “If I can be serious for a minute”, before he is cut off by a rosy cheeked Edge and Christian making their way to the ring. Its worth mentioning that Lance Storm was a dramatically underrated promo during this era, and unfortunately has to go down in history as one of the more interesting “Might Have Beens” in WWE history. Its also worth mentioning that his haircut frightens children and bruises fruit.
The match gets going, and the crowd is into it from the very beginning. Storm bounces all over the ring with both Edge and Christian, and basically looks like a potential superstar, until he tags in Mike Awesome who, at this point in his career, looks like a potential doorstop. Edge and Christian, for their part, give the WCW team most of the offense in this match, and its clearly intended to try them out and highlight them. Still though, as I watch it, I find myself consistently paying attention to Edge even when he’s not in the ring. I know that hindsight is 20/20, but looking at it here, the man is so, so clearly a star waiting to happen that its amazing it took him so long to get there. Christian, on the other hand, doesn’t really even look noteworthy in any significant way, making his transformation as he got older all the more astonishing. He should have been Jannetty, but he turned out to be Scott Steiner. Insane.
As the match draws to a close, all 4 men are flying all around the ring hitting finishers and all sorts of shenanigans. As Edge goes charging at Storm, he accidentally knocks Christian off the apron. Unfazed, the match continues, and Edge tries to spear everything in sight, but after taking a wicked superkick from Storm while pushing Christian out of the path of it, Awesome tries to hoist him up for the Awesome Bomb, leaving him open for Christian to nail Awesome with a spear, allowing Edge to crawl on top for the duke.
This was a solid match, and a strong opener, but without question the best part of this match for me is that even though the Invasion thing is going on, this match still doesn’t lose sight of the very heated rivalry that Edge and Christian had had simmering. The were a few moments in this match where it became as much about watching them interact, as it was about the WWE vs. the WCW guys, and it added a welcome bit of context to sort of a singularly focused show. Good stuff from everyone involved. Except Mike Awesome. May he job in peace.
75 out of 100
Vice: Lance Storm starts the show off with a promo. Had I not sat the last review out, and had this not been a show I’d love to see, then I probably would have just said “The show starts off with Lance Storm on the mic. 10/10.” and left my entire review at that. But, well, I’m going to be typing a lot more. But, let’s just say that the show has started off as a 10/10 and hopefully they can keep this momentum up.
Great opening match here, with WCW looking really damn good against one of WWE’s top tag teams in Edge and Christian. It’s amazing how much more awesome Christian became the second he chopped his hair, so it was kind of fun going back and seeing him in his long haired… glory. Edge was Edge. Storm had a fire under his ass, actually socking people left and right and making sure all his kicks connected with oomph. Lance isn’t the best worker in the world, but from a technical standpoint he’s absolutely great. Mike Awesome surprised me as well. I’ve liked bits and pieces of him here and there, but never thought much of him. I still don’t think a ton of him, but he really brought it this night, I’d say.
Good work from everybody. If the crowd was any hotter, the sprinklers would turn on.
Cewsh: Vince is backstage dancing up a storm to celebrate his team tying the score at 1-1 for the night (Chavo Guerrero beat Scotty 2 Hotty on Sunday Night Heat before the show). William Regal (still the Commissioner) comes in to let him know that Steve Austin is here, and much ado is made about Steve being the “Old Stone Cold”, conceivably meaning he found his dentures and will be stunning anyone who skateboards on the sidewalk in front of his house. The idea behind this whole thing was that Austin was fresh off of his heel turn where he was a lackey to Vince, and that Vince, fearing destruction, tried to force him to become his old self, the man that Vince needs to defend his company. Austin refused, and, feeling rejected by Vince, sat out and watched as WCW and ECW swept through the company. Finally Austin could stands no more, and came back to take his rightful place leading the WWE against the invaders.
What could possibly go wrong?
Cewsh: Okay, go ahead and get the laughter out of your system right now.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Doop, doop, doo.
All done? Alright, let’s get into this.
The first thing to understand is that this entire show is built ENTIRELY on a platform of WCW/ECW against the WWE. Everyone from the women, to the staff, to the wrestlers are feuding, so this match actually makes some sense in that context. The second thing to understand is that this crowd fucking HATES Nick Patrick and fucking LOVES Earl Hebner. I don’t know where they are, but the crowd is so hot for this match is feels like Rock/Austin. That, plus Mick being here for no good reason (they say he’s unbiased, but doesn’t he hate WCW?) really gives this match an unbelievably big match feel for a match between two old men who are not in any way professional wrestlers.
I was ready to mock the ever loving shit out of this travesty. I wanted to show you pictures and gifs to show you how ridiculous this was and how stupid WWE was for ever doing it. Unfortunately, its not that simple. For one thing, this is actually not a bad match. In fact, its pretty good. The refs stick to what they do best, which is taking enormous bumps and punching each other in the face, and the crowd is into it so much, that an absurd concept quickly transforms itself into one helluva fun match to watch. That, in addition to the refs for each side at ringside like lumberjacks, makes it easy to entertain us without exposing the refs for their enormous flaws.
This isn’t a long match. Just long enough, until Heber hits Patrick with the best Burning Lariat this side of Kobashi and picks up a second straight win for the WWE. Of course, Patrick doesn’t like this much, especially since Foley threw his WCW buddies out of the arena. Foley considers his complaint, and then forces him to gag on his flaccid, white crotch puppet.
Ah the wonders of my youth.
76 out of 100
Vice: For a match featuring two refs, this was far, far, far better than it had any right to be. It sure as hell isn’t Beulah/Fonzie, but wasn’t awful at all like it should have been. Kind of exposing though, seeing two refs completely wail on each other without selling much at all. You know.. ‘cause normally a gust of wind or a drop of saliva will knock them into a coma. But I guess refs are weak, thus they can hit each other all day long.
Personally, I’d change the finish a bit. Hebner totally should have locked the sharpshooter in and called for the bell. I mean.. come on now. It’s Earl Hebner.
Also, Nick Patrick is the best bumper ever. They’re so hilarious.
Cewsh: In hyping us for the Inaugural Brawl main event, they shows us some of the things that hyped the show in recent weeks. Like Diamond Dallas Page kidnapping Austin’s wife Debra, causing Austin to steal a limo and speed after him. Which is unnecessary since Page apparently just leaves Debra on the street corner (wink wink) and wanders off. Then, backstage, Debra and The Undertaker’s wife, Sarah, commiserate on how they’re both uglier than the woman Page had sex with for years (his ex wife Kimberly), and wonder why they’re on the show.
Or something. There was a lot of nattering on. If you expect me to listen to the inane ramblings of people’s wives, they at least need to be attractive, okay? Or they could at least have brought me some booze. Sheesh. I’m not running a charity here.
Cewsh: Alright, boys and girls, let’s have a talk.
When most people talk about what a failure the Invasion angle was, very often what they’re talking about is one of two things. The first is that since the big stars of WCW weren’t involved, the whole thing had no credibility and fell a little flat for them, as it was missing the dream match element that they had been anticipating. This camp of people are entirely reasonable, and I can see exactly where they are coming from.
The second train of thought is that WWE squashed WCW, and they should have put the WCW guys over and made them look like equals. Now on the surface this seems like a good point too, until you realize that what it actually means is that you would be having Sean O’Haire and Chuck Palumbo winning a match on this PPV. Consider that for a moment. When WCW closed, these two gentlemen were considered the top tag team in the company. Then they come over to WWE for this show, and they aren’t even good enough that they should reasonably be beating the A.P.fuckingA. who aren’t even the best tag team in any room that they walk into. So while there are many things that could be laid at the feet of the Invasion angle for why it was bad, please, in the future, spare me from any argument that says that Chuck Palumbo and Sean O’Haire should ever win any matches. Ever.
As for the match itself, well, imagine watching something and then falling asleep. Then imagine trying to watching it again with the same result. Then imagine finally drinking a ton of caffine, staring at the screen, and forcing yourself to watch it all the way through, and then your grandmother dies of cancer.
It’s kind of like that.
56 out of 100
Vice: I’ve always liked O’Haire. Yeah his WWE run was very close to abysmal, but I’m still a fan of the guy. Good look, lovely intensity to him (probably because he is legitimately crazy and angry), slick moves.. all that. It’s a shame he put on like 80 pounds of fat, tried actual competition, got knocked out in 5 seconds, and then beat up like seven women. But hey, nobody is perfect.
Decent match. APA is obviously the better team here, but I was a bit disappointed to see them get the win here. Yeah, I said it.
Cewsh: Vince is backstage again with Chris Jericho, and Jericho is bitching about how shitty WCW was and how crazy and fat Paul Heyman is. Its probably more entertaining the way he says it. Then Vince says his catchphrase. I know I’m supposed to be buying into this show as the ultimate confrontation between the two companies, but it would really help if Vince would stop making me spit soda through my nose.
Then we switch over to the WCW locker room where Shane, Stephanie, and Paul are yelling a lot, and Billy Kidman is just kind of standing there. Then Kidman delivers an inspirational speech, and by “speech” I mean “sentence”, and by “inspirational” I mean “terribly acted”, and off he goes to his match, leaving the leaders of his faction to reflect on the wisdom of his words.
Cewsh: Oh my god, I forgot all about X-Pac’s music. Its done by Uncle fucking Cracker. Its simultaneously the best and worst thing ever made. I have helpfully provided you with it so that you can traverse the dusty trails of immortality with it, or simply really annoy your co workers. Be careful, though. The actual video for the song may be mistaken for gay porn by anyone catching a quick glimpse.
Never say that we aren’t concerned for your well being.
This match is great. These two have great chemistry right off the bat, and X-Pac especially is one of the most underrated wrestlers there has ever been. He has the crowd eating out of his hand in moments, booing him to death, despite cheering him on his way out thanks to his being a WWE guy. X-Pac basically transforms Kidman into a great looking face in one match here, which is one helluva feat considering that nobody from that faction had gotten anything but violent hate from the WWE heavy crowd up until this match.
These guys have a helluva match, punctuated by some great athletic moves by Kidman, and some wonderful heel work by X-Pac. This one is a lost gem from this show, as it was basically overshadowed by another match between high fliers later on, but we’ll get to that one later. X-Pac was fantastic, is the lesson you should take from this. When WWE lost him, it was a much bigger blow than anyone appreciated at the time. Oh, and Kidamn was fun before he got fat. Sigh.
80 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Vice: Man I miss really old school Kidman. This is not him, though. This is when he first started plumping up, getting a bulbous Daniels-esque ass, and not being as smooth as he was. He’s still fun, but I miss the scrawny shithead in the wifebeater. He was one of my absolute favorites.
I liked X-Pac growing up, but haven’t seen much of him at all since growing a beard and becoming a wise viewer of wrestling from a work rate standpoint, so this was definitely interesting. If his work here, both in ring and character, was a typical night out.. then holy fuck X-Pac is great. I heart him a lot after this match.
This match was really fun. Good pacing, lovely work from both guys and some good action. Kidman hits a shooting star press for the win. What a cool move that was back in the day before everyone did it. I was so happy to see a replay that was entirely in slow motion. None of this shit where it’s amazingly slow motion right until the point of contact and then immediately goes full speed. That’s just silly and annoying. This was good. Though in slow motion, you could see Kidman needing to slightly spin to the side as he went for the jump. It got a lot worse later on as he got fatter and dumber. It was sad seeing it because it shows that this was the beginning of the end for that move of his.
Cewsh: DDP kicks off this segment by talking about how he’s all about stalking women like Sara and Debra, and then, conceivably in a room not too far away, Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler have an animated conversation where they grope themselves and each other and talk about how they wish they could go naked instead of having a bra and panties match. They do this in what is possibly the most over the top softcore porn-esque way possible.
Ahem, listen. I’m not overly attracted to either of these women, and this segment is ridiculous in every possible way. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go take a cold shower and have some private time. Not necessarily in that order.
Cewsh: Unfortunately for these two guys, they have to follow that last segment, and choose to do so by having a very, very average match.
Its important to remember that this was during the time where Raven was motivated, clean, talented, and dedicated, and despite this, enjoyed the single worst push of his professional career, whereas William Regal was still kind of awkward in the ring and had trouble meshing with people, and was enjoying, nonetheless, the most attention he ever got. Wrestling is a weird place sometimes.
As I said, this match is everything you would expect from these two. Slow paced, awkward, and a clash of styles. Tazz runs in towards then end and suplexs Regal, helping Raven win, but it doesn’t seem like a surprise, and the crowd could give less than a shit. With all of the fun and games to be had on this show, this is like the part where you have to hear the rules of the fun park before you’re allowed to play.
67 out of 100
Vice: This was a fairly good match, but something about it was incredibly awkward.
I forgot how dorky Regal used to be. He’s so amazing these days with the longer hair, the black attire, wrist tape.. just so awesome. Back then, not so much.
Cewsh: Vinny Mac tries his wacky inspirational jive talking on The Undertaker and Kane. It, um, well it falls a little short of inspiring them. Unless the intention was to inspire them to choke Vince out, make growling noises and march out looking perturbed.
I mean it might have been the intention. But think about how often in your life you provoke 7 foot tall bikers to choke you. If your answer is “often” then we probably shouldn’t send you a Lifetime Subscriber card.
Cewsh: Here we have an excellent exhibition of 6 men with nothing to do, and no reason to be here other than to fill the space and remind people that they exist. None of them have any storylines going into this match, none of them have any momentum, and not one of them even has a reasonable gimmick at this point, including Show, who is taking the time to moonlight as a lounge singer with some slicked back hair and an arrogant saunter.
WCW wins this one, giving another point to the WCW/ECW team, but its done in such a flukey, backhanded way that they don’t gain any credibility from the win. Hugh Morrus gets knocked out, but Stasiak hits a move out of nowhere on Gunn, and Morrus throws an arm over him. The Big Show chokeslams everyone and wanders off.
No offense meant to the WWE, but I’m fairly sure I’ve taken shits that involved more thought and preplanning than this did. And that’s probably too much information.
69 out of 100
Vice: I thought this match was an absolute mess. It had fun moments and some good work here and there, but it felt very flat to me for the most part. It was an odd mix of talent that needed more Bob Backlund. Though to be fair, every match could use some more Bob Backlund, even when Bob Backlunn is in the match. Who wouldn’t want to see Bob Backlund vs. Bob Backlund? Or Bob Backlund & Bob Backlund vs. Bob Backlund & Bob Backlund?
Now name all the presidents.
Cewsh: Joining the ranks of the mid show filler is this little gem, between Tajiri, who at this point was basically a rookie in the WWE, and Tazz, who at this point was pretty much an afterthought in every possible way. They have themselves a perfectly fine match, that highlights Tajiri and makes him look great and exciting and super talented, as we know him to be today.
Instead of discussing this match at length (assuming its even possible to do that), let me shift topics for a second. I’ve made a big deal out of the fact that I started watching wrestling in the early 90s and stopped in 1996, and then picked it back up in late 2000, effectively missing the entire Attitude Era. I didn’t know what WCW was until I moved my fandom to the internet in late 2002ish, and didn’t have any fucking idea at all as to the significance of the Monday Night Wars until years after the fact. Why am I telling you this? Because when I watch this match, and indeed most of these matches, I’m watching through the eyes of a young man who had no idea who Tazz was. No idea who Lance Storm was. Hell, I had no idea who Diamond Dallas Page was, except from vaguely recognizing him. Probably from some commercial somewhere.
As a result of this, when people complained about WCW and ECW guys not getting a fair shake, I was befuddled, because to me they were complete nobodies debuting and feuding with the real stars, and while it was exciting to see new guys show up in high profile ways, I certainly never expected them to stand a chance against my beloved WWE. Even as we watch this show here now, I can’t help but feel that way more than a little bit still. People wanted dream matches, and the ultimate confrontation between the companies, but I just wanted all these new assholes to go away so that I could watch Chris Jericho.
Weird right? No wonder my perspective is so different to this day. As for the match that I completely neglected to talk about? Well, it was…
70 out of 100
Vice: As this match started, it hit me: I really haven’t seen much of Tazz in the ring. I’ve seen a few of his WWE matches and a couple matches from his ECW days, but not nearly as many total matches as I probably should have seen. He’s pretty cool though, even though I don’t think he’s a very good worker. Suplexes are always fun. Tajiri is fun too.
The Tarantula is such a cool move, and while I’m glad we got to see it fairly often (though only for like three seconds at a time), I don’t recall it getting the attention it should have. It’s a shame Tajiri couldn’t speak English. He could have petitioned for no DQ matches so he could tarantula more people. Silly Japanese people.
The match was pretty fun, though I didn’t think there was a heck of a lot to it. It was kind of an interesting match, with both of them being big ECW names and all that stuff.
I miss Tajiri now.
Cewsh: Matt and Jeff Hardy are backstage talking about Jeff’s match with Rob Van Dam later, when RVD comes out of absolutely nowhere and destroys Matt with a chair. He stays long enough to tell Jeff that he’s next before strolling off as Jeff, like any good brother, just stands there and watches him go. Eventually he is moved to offer the word “Dammit” to show the depths of his pain for his brother’s misfortune.
Heh, he ran a meth lab later. Wacky ol’ Jeff.
Cewsh: In one of the most ridiculous set ups imaginable, Hardcore Holly is at WWE New York (remember that?), signing autographs when some kid shows up to get one dressed in a WCW shirt. A shirt which, I will remind you, is sold BY THE WWE. Holly proceeds to mock him, embarrass him, and literally rip his shirt directly off of his body before sending him fleeing to the nearest psychiatrist.
Imagine that event taking place in real life for a minute. Holly would be fired and sued so fast that the lawyers wouldn’t even take the time to put pants on before getting to the court room. Here he sits down calmly and goes back to signing autographs. Insane.
Cewsh: Of all the matches tonight, this is the one that could truly be called a dream match.
This was the WWE’s first introduction to Rob Van Dam, ECW’s golden child, so while he is greeted with absolute silence as he enters, that fact is quickly rectified. Up against him is a young, motivated Jeff Hardy who still had the speed and recklessness that he lacked in his later days. As a result, what we have is a perfect storm of two athletic, crazy bastards whom the fans go nuts for, fucking each other up for a title that automatically means that there will be no rules. Shit yeah, baby.
The match starts off hot, with these two chain wrestling, neither man getting the upper hand. They trade moves for awhile, as the crowd oohs and awes, before Van Dam brings them to their feet with the Rolling Thunder, starting a sheer volume from the crowd the would not dissipate for the remainder of the match. From there its just move after move, with Van Dam mirroring Hardy’s every move, clearly having him very well scouted. Finally, though, Jeff Hardy gets back into the match by hitting a move I never thought I’d see. Van Dam is on the ring apron, and Hardy sunset flips him from inside of the ring, trying to powerbomb him to the floor. Which of course never, ever works. Except that this time not only does it work, but Van Dam gets slammed into the floor so hard that his head bounces off the ground like a goddamn basketball.
Not to be outdone by that, Hardy takes this opportunity to get out one of his stupidly big fucking ladders. Unfortunately for Mr. Hardy, he climbs all the way to the top, only for Van Dam to tip it over, sending Hardy crashing down, unprotected, to the concrete below. Somehow still able to continue, Hardy reverses a chair shot, and drives Van Dam up the ramp to the entrance, and turns his back on Van Dam. Big mistake. Hardy turns right into an ENORMOUS Van Daminator that knocks Jeff into orbit and puts RVD in the drivers seat yet again. To this day, that is one of my favorite spots in wrestling history right there. Just absolutely incredible.
Still needing a pinfall, Van Dam rolls Hardy into the ring, but Hardy fights back yet again, nailing a DDT on Van Dam that spikes RVD right on his head, folding him up like an accordion. Jeff takes this chance to go for the knockout blow, the Swanton Bomb, but just in time RVD rolls out of the way, leaving Hardy wide open for the WWE introduction of the Five Star Frog Splash. Picture perfect. 1…2…3! New champion!
There really aren’t words for how awesome this feud was and is, and this is the match that introduced the idea to us. Van Dam at this time was just a breath of fresh air that blasted out of left field to capture the hearts of pretty much every single wrestling fan in existence. The man was a star from the second his music hit for the very first time, and here he and Jeff pulled the best out of each other, putting on the most entertaining spotfest you could ever hope to see.
At least, until their next one.
89 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Vice: Now this was a fucking match. Holy egads. Heading into Invasion, knowing RVD and Hardy were going to go at it, I thought it was the ladder match I’ve seen 10 times. So I wasn’t entirely thrilled to see it agaaaaaaain, even though that match is ridiculous. So when I realized that it wasn’t a ladder match, it hit me that this had not been seen by me before. I was happy.
RVD was truly amazing here with his character work. Like, that damn good. Whether he was amping his character up or legitimately on top of the world because the fans were giving him god-like cheers and chants, but he was fantastic. He’d hit a massive move, and he’d grin like a fucktard as the crowd went bananas. He was just having so much fun. This is definitely one of his best performances, in my opinion. Fuck I miss RVD. He is great.
Jeff was great here too, being the plucky daredevil who takes quite a beating, but also hands a very nice one out.
This match was just all kinds of exciting fun. Not a ton of story. Or selling. Or anything, aside from lots of AWESOME. And flips. And kicks. And RVD being RVD and Hardy being Hardy. This is one of those matches you shouldn’t question, like a drunk hot girl ready to fellate you.
Cewsh: Not only is Kurt Angle in this segment with a full (well mostly) head of hair, but he becomes the first man I can ever recall who gets to say the word “shit” on a WWE show, which seems to startle Vince as much as it did me. I don’t know if it makes him seem like a badass or anything, but hey, at least he got away with it.
Vice: This is why WWE being PG fucking SUCKS. Yes it’s degrading to the women and you can’t take it seriously when the women then try to actually wrestle an “important” match later, but.. you have women trying to undress other women. WOMEN.. undressing other WOMEN.
FOR. THE. WIN.
My favorite part of all of this was actually during the post-match celebrations. Trish almost walks backwards off the stage, but both her and Lita realize what’s going on at the same time, and Trish does not end up dead. They play it off well, but it is kind of funny how close Trish came to DYING.
50 out of 100
Cewsh: We get glimpses into both team’s locker rooms prior to the big match. The WCW/ECW locker room has a bunch of motherfuckers jumping around and yelling up a storm. Stephanie is shrilling, Shane is motivating, and Heyman is doing something that involves more than the usual about of spitting. The team is crazy hyped and ready for war. Then we get a glimpse into the WWE locker room where Austin is just kind of chilling. At least until Vince gets up in his ass, causing Austin to blow up on him, tell Vince he’s ready to kick some ass, and marches off to war.
That ominous feeling is still there though. There’s a feeling of wrongness in the air. I’ve got a baaaaaad feeling about this.
Cewsh: Holy shit, how epic can one match get?
I mean, it even has Rhyno.
In all seriousness, despite the relative unevenness of the teams at first glance, this thing has such a big fight feel attached to it, that its dripping from the ceilings. The owners come out first, with Shane out first, followed by Stephanie and Heyman, and finally by Vince. Then the wrestlers for each team come out one by one, alternating one at a time, and by the time we get to Austin, the crowd is at a fever pitch. You can say whatever you want about this main event being lopsided and unfair, but apparently the crowd didn’t get the memo, but the arena is so electric you could fire up a goddamn blender just by sticking your finger in your ear. Everyone gets to the ring, and immediately this match breaks down into a huge clusterfuck brawl.
It would be completely impossible for me to document all of the action here, in this 30 minute plus match full of organized chaos, but I’ll do my best. After rolling Rhyno into the ring to start the match, Austin knocks ten types of hell out of Rhyno (squee), before tagging in Jericho, who gets his own shit in, before ultimately being worn down by the combined efforts of the entire WCW/ECW team. As the minutes tick by, all the members of each team get their moves in, as both teams try to stick and move and give everyone a chance to lead the team, with Kurt Angle especially coming off as a total world ending badass who fucks up anyone who comes within reach of him. In fact, the only person who doesn’t wreck any havoc after the initial outburst is Steve Austin, who gets knocked off of the apron and twists his knee, though he muscles through it, obviously being saved for the mega hot tag.
This structured arrangement isn’t destined to last, however, and eventually this whole thing dissolves yet again into an enormous brawl, with all the guys fighting all over ringside. Kane chokeslams D’Von Dudley through an announce table, Bubba and Rhyno put Kane through the OTHER announce table, Jericho splashes Rhyno right through a table set up at ringside, and now the numbers for both teams have been thinned dramatically. Meanwhile, inside the ring, Booker T and Kurt Angle are the legal men, which isn’t exactly stopping rampant double teaming from cropping up all over the place.
Finally, though, Kurt fights back and starts going to town, beating the holy hell out of everyone still in the ring with him, before the ref gets knocked out. Vince grabs the WWE title belt, but Shane smacks him right in the face with it. Shane goes for Kurt as well, but Kurt belly to belly suplexs him right out of the ring, and Booker T turns directly into an Angle Slam. Angle has this match won! Its over! Booker T is tapping! Austin rolls in the referee! AND THEN AUSTIN GIVES THE STONE COLD STUNNER TO KURT ANGLE. Austin then rolls Booker T on top of Angle and 1…NO…2…NO…3! Stone Cold Steve Austin just sold out the WWE! The Alliance has triumphed, and the crown jewel of WWE has switched sides! The WWE Champion is in the employ of WCW! FUCKING FUCK!
This was everything it ever could have been and more. Everyone on both sides looked like a million bucks, the match felt like the world’s biggest deal, and the turning of Stone Cold Steve Austin was handled so masterfully, I’m shocked its not still talked about to this day. They spend weeks turning his whiny pussy heel character into a badass face again, only to swerve us in the most satisfying way possible, and have Austin turn his back on WWE and the fans. It was a perfect moment in wrestling time. The fans were SO into Angle, and they were SO desperate to see WWE win, and they were SO sure that Austin was on their side, that when he hit that Stunner, the place went nuclear. I have never, and likely will never hear heel heat like that if I live a million years.
Just a great match, with the perfect ending, to cap a triumphant show. Its all here. Everything great about wrestling, in one match. Unbelievable.
91 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Vice: There were a lot of parts in this match where I was a bit bored, or found myself not caring a heck of a lot, but was still entertaining. People brought their game for the most part, even RHYNO. Yes, he was quite watchable here. Kurt Angle was on fire in this match. Dear holy fuck was the man tearing it up nasty throughout the entire match. I still love 2009 baldy Kurt, but I’d love to have 2001 Kurt magically come back. So good. Everything was just so crisp, smooth, and awesome.
The final 5 minutes or so of this match were absolutely incredible with shit hitting the fan left and right. It just felt so epic and made the previous 20-30 minutes (however long this match was) feel like a bloody formality. Everything was built up so well and came together so perfectly. I shouted out a quick little “OOOHHHHH!” when Austin beat the shit out of Angle. It was so cool.
My history from this whole time period is so hazy that I seriously had no idea how the match was going to end, so I was definitely shocked to see Stone Cold betray Team WWF, even though I knew he led the Alliance, etc. etc. – just didn’t know exactly how it happened, that’s all. It’s fun being able to be surprised by a match that happened while I was in high school.
The post-match stuff was spectacularly legendary. Like, holy crap. Man I need to go back and watch more 2001. And seriously, fuck the current product. They can have awesome moments like this one, but they just don’t have the same feel at all. Too fucking staged.
Cewsh: When we first decided to review this show, I wasn’t sure what to think. I hadn’t seen any of it in nearly a decade, and this is the centerpiece of possibly the most maligned feud in the history of professional wrestling. When the smoke clears, though, what you really have staring you in the face is entertainment in its purest form, with the backdrop of a feud so huge and so amazing in scope, that everything associated with it turns to gold.
This isn’t the highest score a show has ever gotten. Not even close. But read between the lines. This angle was truly a success. Whatever happened before this and whatever happened after it, this show was a complete and total success in every way.
So let’s see, so far we’ve covered 4 shows from the past that are among the most controversial that ever occurred. We judged Wrestlemania 14 to be an overrated mess. We judged Starrcade 97 to be a great show, with a main event that doesn’t in any way deserve all the shit it gets. We debunked the myth of the “Golden Era” of TNA, by exposing Bound For Glory 2005 as a deeply, deeply flawed show and product. Now, today, we reveal the Invasion for what it well and truly was. One of the funnest periods in wrestling history.
Vice: Overall I had a lot of fun with this show. This is what wrestling should be like.
Alright, that’ll do it for us this time boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed this gif filled stroll down memory lane with us, as we explored our teenage hood again, with significantly less puberty this time around. We’ve put the beast of the Invasion to bed as much as it is possible to in one review, but you never can tell, we might just come back for more. For now though, we’re shifting gears for a minute to a hirtherto unexplored region of the world, as we head on down to…Michigan? That’s the best we could do for a vacation? Alright then, Michigan it is, as we review IWF’s Ground Zero 2009 show. Its a small Michigan indy, and a request from our very own Sparky, who even sent us a real DVD and everything, making him our coolest fan, and making us feel like legitimate reviewers. What will it be like to see an indy show not booked by Gabe or Ian? We’re incredibly eager to find out. Until then, as always, keep reading, and be good to one another.