Monday Night Raw – July 2, 2001 – Why The Invasion Died

Monday Night Raw
Date: July 2, 2001
Location: Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, Washington
Commentators: Jim Ross, Paul Heyman

Back to 2001 and we’re on the road to Fully Loaded, but that name isn’t going to stick. This show is famous for one reason: it’s the show where there’s a WCW segment, in that Booker T defends the WCW Championship against Buff Bagwell. It’s also known as the segment that basically killed the original Invasion plans. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of the Invasion. On Smackdown, the whole Fully Loaded PPV has been changed to Invasion and will be WCW vs. WWF. This is set to Rey Mysterio’s WCW music.

Theme song.

Vince talks about how everything here is leading up to July 22. WCW is going to die at the Invasion. How can you compare the two companies? It’s like comparing Washington state to Washington DC. The nation’s decisions are made in DC and here, all you have are apples. But if you insist, let’s compare Booker T to Austin. Booker is a sneak, Austin is a man among men.

Cue….Angle? Kurt says he had to come out here because Vince’s words inspired him. Not only does Booker lack integrity, he also lacks intelligence and intensity. Kurt shows clips of Booker outsmarting Austin and beating him up. Booker did it on Smackdown also, which Kurt says made Austin look like a jackass. Here’s Austin with a rebuttal. Angle promises that he’ll protect Austin from Booker. Austin says that’ll be hard with Austin’s boot in him.

Austin thinks the problem is Kurt Angle. He and Vince don’t need him and Angle is getting in between their partnership. Austin calls Angle a jackass. “No I’m a hero!” “Jackass.” “Hero!” This goes on for a few moments until Vince tells them to just fight. Angle is ready to go and then Austin hugs Vince. Austin and Angle shove each other and here’s Shane. “So let me get this straight. We have the WWF Champion and an Olympic gold medalist competing for hugs?”

Shane says tonight it’s about the Invasion and about Invasion, how about an Inaugural Brawl, as in a massive tag match. Shane somehow has the power to make the main event on the show tonight, so he makes Booker vs. Buff.

The APA are watching a clip of Shane running away last week. They want to know who let them in and who Shane was talking to on the phone. They think there’s a mole in the yard.

Intercontinental Title: Albert vs. Undertaker

Uh….sure. I mean the match makes sense, but Undertaker challenging for the IC Title? Page cost Kane the title on Smackdown with the worst Diamond Cutter I can ever remember. I watched the clip and though it was Austin stunning him. They slug it out to start (shocking) but a charging Taker is caught in the corner for a bearhug. A bicycle kick puts Taker down but he comes back with the clothesline and chokeslam but Page runs in with a chair shot to draw the DQ.

Rating: D. This was nothing and very boring while it lasted. Page running in might as well have been on a big sign because it was very clear that was the ending after they showed the clip from Smackdown. Taker was really getting bad at this point and would get even worse for the next year or so.

Page Diamond Cuts him post match and leaves, but Sara goes after him. Kane sneaks up on DDP and the beating begins. He throws Page in to Taker but Albert saves. Page runs and Kane knocks Albert to the floor.

Torrie Wilson debuts on Raw. She was on Smackdown so this isn’t her full on debut. She’s looking for Vince, which probably explains why she debuted in a bra.

Crash vs. Molly Holly

Jackie is with crash to annoy me. Molly starts with ranas and a victory roll for two. Jackie tries her up because she has to annoy people every now and then. Crash suplexes Molly when Spike gets up for a distraction. Jackie puts Molly on the top but Molly hits a quick Molly Go Round for the pin. Too short to rate but all things considered it wasn’t bad.

Jackie beats up Crash for no apparent reason.

Vince, Austin, Angle and Debra are in the back. Angle and Austin almost get into it again when Torrie comes in. Kurt tries to hit on her but Vince is like down boy. She wants to talk to Vince in private. Austin needs a hug before Vince leaves. This is hilarious. Austin and Angle get in an argument over why Vince left. They determine it was Debra’s fault and Austin agrees.

We get a video from Smackdown where O’Haire and Palumbo interfered and were destroyed as a punishment.

Christian is looking at the KOTR trophy and talks about how he could have won if the brackets had switched. Edge is still uncomfortable but Christian has a Light Heavyweight Title match so he has to go get ready.

Regal advises Tajiri on how to watch out for the Worm, complete with a brief demonstration. The Dudleys come in and want to know why they’re facing Jericho. This somehow goes into a big rant about Winston Churchill. When the Dudleys have no idea what he’s going on about, he says just put Jericho through a table. They leave and Tajiri is still trying to get the Worm down. The wrestling and stories may have been hit or miss, but the comedy at this time was great.

Hardcore Holly says he isn’t the mole. Holly suggests to figure out who wasn’t there when they beat up Palumbo and O’Haire.

Vince and Torrie are in the shower (clothed) and are having a business meeting. She offers to do anything to get to the top of the WWF. Sex is implied. Austin comes in and demands an explanation for why they’re in the shower. “Uh…..sometimes there’s no other place to do business besides the shower.” Austin is totally cool with this and wants to talk about Invasion, but he’ll go get coffee first. This is comedy that I can’t do justice.

Tajiri vs. Scotty 2 Hotty

Scotty takes him down almost immediately and they go to the apron where Tajiri kicks him upside the head. There’s the Tarantula and the fans are way into this. A rana is countered into a sitout powerbomb by Scotty. Here comes the Worm, but Tajiri mists him and the Buzzsaw Kick ends it. Tajiri was awesome but he needed his music to really hit his stride.

Vince and Torrie go to a mop closet. HE’S A MULTIMILLIONAIRE!!! GET A FREAKING HOTEL ROOM!!! Angle comes in and points out that they’re in a mop closet. Vince looks like he wants to kill him. “Hey Torrie, have you seen my gold medals?”

Booker T and Test meet and Booker asks if Test might join WCW. Test implies he could and might take the title. It’s about the money though.

Dudley Boys vs. Chris Jericho

The Dudleys pound him down in the corner so Jericho has to use speed to have a chance. They finally get down to one Dudley in the ring at a time. D-Von starts us off but Bubba comes in quickly. There’s a double flapjack to take Jericho down and set for a double superbomb off the middle rope but Jericho escapes and slams Bubba off the top. The Dudleys get back up and Bubba is knocked to the floor via the springboard dropkick. D-Von gets caught in the Walls but Bubba pulls the referee out. Bubba loads up a table but Spike runs in and Dudley Dogs him to give Jericho the opening for a Lionsault for the pin.

Rating: C-. Not bad here but did we really need Spike? Well to be fair they needed to make sure that the champions keep their credibility, but Spike still felt like overkill. It’s not a bad match and is a nice breath of air from the Vince is a horny old man thing going on tonight, but it just kind of came and went.

Torrie and Vince are in the bathroom now. Hey Vince: YOUR COMPANY IS BEING INVADED BY YOUR GREATEST RIVAL! Torrie doesn’t like Vince’s cologne and a flush is heard. It’s Saturn. This is so stupid.

Benoit had neck surgery last week so here’s a video about it. He’ll be out about a year.

Light Heavyweight Title: Christian vs. X-Pac

Christian works on the arm and powerslams Pac down. Pac jumps back up and pounds him down. Off to a quick chinlock followed by a spinwheel kick for two. Bronco Buster is broken up by a spinwheel kick by Christian. Pac misses a kick as well and Christian hits a gutbuster. Edge and Justin both get up on the apron and after Edge knocks him down, he tries to throw in the title. Edge intercepts it and knocks Justin down but Pac gets it and a shot with it ends Christian.

Rating: D+. Nothing to see here at all. The Light Heavyweight Title never really did anything for me and that’s mainly because there wasn’t much to it. It was more about matches between guys that were light heavyweights instead of a match like you would see in WCW. That’s kind of a problem but smaller guys don’t draw right?

The APA think it was Test. They ask a referee where he is and are told he was last seen talking to Booker T.

Taz is at WWF New York and doesn’t want to talk. We get a clip from Thursday where Tazz demanded an apology from Austin about Austin beating up Austin so Austin was mauled.

Rhyno vs. Test

Gee, I wonder what’s going to happen here. Rhyno pounds Test into the corner very quickly because he’s mad about the Hardcore Title being lost. The APA brings out the group that beat up O’Haire and Palumbo on Thursday. A big boot gets two for Test. Pumphandle slam is countered and another big boot breaks up a Gore attempt. The guys on the floor distract the referee so Bradshaw clotheslines Test and the Gore gets the pin. This was nothing.

Test gets a big beatdown post match. Bradshaw kills him with a powerbomb.

Big Show/Trish Stratus vs. Lita/Matt Hardy

The guys start and Show shoves him into the corner. Trish comes in to try to pick the bones but Matt is like blonde woman please and brings in Lita. Trish is really bad at this point so Lita runs her over. Lita goes up but Show pushes him out of the way. The rana attempt doesn’t go that well so Matt tries to make a save. Show clotheslines Matt outside and Jeff’s barricade run totally fails. Trish gets caught in the Tree of Woe so Lita and Matt hit a double DDT on Show. Twist and Litasault beat Trish.

Rating: D-. With girls like Trish and Lita out there you can’t call it a failure but was there ANY point to this? Again, THE COMPANY IS BEING INVADED BY THE GUYS THAT ALMOST PUT THEM OUT OF BUSINESS. Why in the world are guys like Matt and Jeff not calling out any two WCW guys while Big Show is leveling a small city?

Show yells at Trish so Jeff hits a missile dropkick to save him.

Vince and Torrie are in the hall and Vince FINALLY comes up with the idea of DOING IT LATER TONIGHT. Torrie suggests a location she thinks will work so let’s go there now.

Shane runs into Buff, who says he relies on skill rather than luck.

The APA celebrates getting rid of Test when Sgt. Slaughter comes in and says he’s here to help find the mole. He was with Test watching old tapes of the Alley Fight back in 81. Watch that match. Seriously, stop reading this and go watch that match. It’s way more entertaining.

We officially turn things over to WCW, as in their graphics, their ring skirts, their announces (Arn Anderson and Scott Hudson) and their ring announcer named Stacy Keibler. Here’s Shane before the match to introduce everyone I just said. You can literally see the fans walking out. This is where everything began falling apart. Regal comes out as this is already being booed out of the building. He and Tajiri are getting rid of Shane and he’s ok with that.

Hudson says Buff is challenging for the WWF Title after the break. I think you can see where this is going to go from here.

WCW World Title: Booker T vs. Buff Bagwell

Hudson screws up AGAIN, saying Booker is the current TV Champion rather than the US Champion along with world champion. You can actually see the people walking out. The fans IMMEDIATELY start changing BS and the upper level is blacked out so we can’t see them leaving. Buff takes over and does his strut as EVEN MORE people leave.

Buff hooks a chinlock and the remaining people boo. Now they chant THIS MATCH SUCKS. Buff starts glaring at the crowd, basically turning heel mid match. Booker comes back with a side kick and forearm that misses but gets two anyway. Axe kick, Spinarooni, Austin and Angle FINALLY come in for the DQ.

Rating: F. I’m going to go into a much longer explanation of why this was an abomination later, but for now we’ll go with this: if the company has to black out the upper deck because your match made that many fans leave, your match is a failure. Again, we’ll get back to this later.

Bagwell, Austin and Angle beat down Booker. They knock him up the aisle, but enough of this FIRST TIME EVER stuff for world titles and invasions. TO THE LAUNDRY ROOM!

Torrie and Vince are flirting and Vince takes his clothes off. Vince makes VERY disturbing noises and Torrie takes his pants off. He has his eyes clothes and turns around, presumably sans clothes, and it’s Linda waiting on him. CUE SITCOM MUSIC!!!

Oh and the WWF and WCW Champions are still brawling. Good thing we had enough time to get back to this. Austin and Angle throw him out the door and then throw Bagwell out also. Buff never had another match and I’ll explain why now.

Overall Rating: F-. This was one of the biggest disasters I’ve seen in a very long time. First and foremost as I’ve said, THE WCW IS INVADING. WHY ARE WE WASTING TIME WITH ALL THESE POINTLESS MATCHES??? I’ll give you an answer to that right now: why should the WWF care? See, there’s this misconception out there that thinks that the Invasion was about WCW vs. WWF in a battle for the ages for all supremacy. There’s one major problem with that: we’ve had that battle.

Think about it. WCW has already lost. They’re out of business. WCW got so horrible for the last few years that no one paying attention or with a brain would suggest that WCW was any real threat to the WWF. On top of that, this is the best WCW has got? They have their champion Booker T and then……who? The tag champions were destroyed so it’s not them. Mike Awesome I guess? As in That 70s Guy? WWF has Angle and Austin and Jericho and Undertaker and Kane and we’re worried about That 70s Guy? Oh and DDP, the guy that Taker destroys whenever they’re in the ring together. Yeah how about that guy.

WCW has been made to look awful and we’re what, a month into this? Also, who in the world am I supposed to cheer for? I don’t think even they know. Third, this show wasn’t about the Invasion. It was about Vince trying to get laid and not having the common sense to GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. Why in the world would I want to watch this? Where’s Flair or Goldberg or Sting or Steiner or ANYBODY OTHER THAN THESE CLOWNS?

On top of all that, think about the fans leaving tonight. Can you blame them? They didn’t buy a ticket to see Buff Bagwell (who was fired for how bad his match was) vs. Booker T. They bought a ticket to see Monday Night Raw, the flagship show of the biggest wrestling company in the world. How would you feel if you were at Raw and the main event was for the OVW Title? In essence that’s what this was: a match for a title that means absolutely nothing in the WWE.

Finally, the McMahons. The Invasion was about Vince vs. Shane (and Stephanie who we’ll get to next week). It was never about WWF vs. WCW. It was about Vince McMahon and the battles he had with his children and nothing else. Why would you want to see that for 5 months? In short, no one did because they wanted to see the big names of WCW against the big names of the WWF (which could have gone on for YEARS and drawn millions and millions and MILLIONS of dollars).

Instead, we would wind up with one or two big name WCW guys and the rest was about Vince, Shane and WWF guys. This isn’t an invasion. This is the other company saying LOOK WHAT WE DID to try to get attention. There’s one problem with that: there is no other company. There’s WWF and the WCW is out of business. Why should I buy them as a threat when they spent the last three years getting killed? No one did and the Invasion failed. It would get a charge up next week, but this version of it has completely failed.

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11 Responses

  1. Gunther_224 says:

    No, hari. Just no. Rewatch that match, it’s one of the worst to ever air on RAW and one of the only matches ever that was so bad they fired one of the talents the next day.

  2. hari says:

    Come on, the bagwell booker t match isn’t as bad as you all say.The crowd would have booed it even if it was a 4 star match. They booed it for many different reasons and match quality is the least important of them all.

  3. Heyo says:

    I’ve heard some people label this the worst Raw of all time. Would you agree with that?

  4. Wayne says:

    Well, EVERYTHING you said during the overall rating was 100 percent correct. I agree with every point you made regarding the UTTER FAILURE that was the invasion. My God that was some of the worst wrestling TV I’ve ever seen. I’ll never forget that trainwreck that was the Booker vs. Bagwell match, which bored the hell out of me at the time, and I was NOT happy with that ending with Torrie, Vince, and Linda at the end.This invasion was missing some of the bigger names from WCW, but that’s another story for another day. This invasion only gets worse from here, as we’ll see.

  5. Eric says:

    Dude, you always talk about how bad the Invasion was. I think all of us would be interested to hear how you would have booked an “invasion”. Basically, go from WCW being bought and book us for a couple of years to make millions like you say. That would be a very interesting piece to read.

    • Thomas Hall says:

      I’m AWFUL at fantasy booking. I can throw up a few ideas if there’s a demand for it and I’ll probably get carried away and go into detail, but take note: this is definitely not my thing.

      • dude_d_dude says:

        How on earth could you be awful at it lol you know like every storyline like ever involving every wrestler ever. If anything you’d probably make a heck of a lot more sense than us.

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