Diese Woche vor 12 Jahren versuchte die WWE ein Experiment: Erstmals in der Geschichte von Monday Night RAW wurde der Main-Event von zwei WCWlern (Booker T und Buff Bagwell), mit WCW-Kommentatoren (Scott Hudson und Arn Anderson) und WCW Logo gehalten. Das Resultat: Eines der schlimmsten Main-Events der RAW-Geschichte, mit Zuschauern, die es mit "Boring"-Rufen u.a. quittierten.
WWE.com blickt auf das Match zurück und lässt Protagonist Booker T, neben Jim Ross und Steve Austin zu Wort kommen. Buff Bagwell hat man wohl ebenfalls kontaktiert, allerdings keine Antwort erhalten.
As soon as the match began, the capacity crowd in Washington State’s Tacoma Dome instantly lost interest.
“We went out there and, of course, it was very, very awkward,” Booker said. “It was the first time I ever got the ‘boring’ chant and I was taken aback.”
But why wasn’t the crowd of more than 20,000 fans interested in witnessing such an historic moment? Perhaps it was because these were WWE fans, not WCW fans.
“I think the fans were looking at us as the invaders, as the bad guys,” Booker theorized. “They didn’t like the south, as far as what WCW represented. It was only fitting for them to support the WWE guys over the WCW guys.”
“Why wouldn’t you perceive them to be the villains?” Ross questioned. “They were playing for the other team.”
With the audience turned against him, Booker had the unenviable task of putting on a good match while trying to get a WWE crowd on his side — all while standing in a WCW ring.
“I was just trying to get as much as I could out of Buff,” the then-WCW Champion recalled. “I did the best that I possibly could, but I was pretty much on my own. I’ve known Bagwell for years. I knew him when he was a bright-eyed kid, excited about the [wrestling] business when he first got in. All the way back to when he was The Handsome Stranger in the Global Wrestling Federation, but he wasn’t capable of putting on a good enough match to impress anybody that night.”
WWEClassics.com attempted to reach Mr. Bagwell for this story, but the former five-time WCW Tag Team Champion declined to comment.
Das Match war das Anfang vom endgültigen Ende für WCW unter dem Banner der WWE. Ursprünglich Pläne sahen vor, "WCW" als eigenen Brand zu etablieren und das Roster in WWE und WCW zu splitten, wie man es später in RAW und SmackDown! machte. Dabei sollte laut Torch RAW tatsächlich "WCW" werden:
After the Invasion PPV, the plan is for Linda McMahon to announce that the co-existence of the WWF and WCW on the same programs cannot continue. The chaos between the two sides will have become too disruptive, therefore she will be making WWF Raw a WCW program.
Warum man damals nicht die großen Hochkaräter der WCW präsentierte, erklärt Ross auch:
“We couldn’t get Sting, Goldberg, [Rey] Mysterio, [Scott] Hall and [Kevin] Nash. Their contracts were guaranteed,” Ross explained. “Their contracts were ridiculous. They were outrageous. They were great for the talent, but horrible for the company. We interviewed virtually everyone else on their roster to see who had an interest in coming to work for WWE. Some we were successful at hiring, some we didn’t want to hire and some weren’t interested.”
Wer weiß wie die WWE-Geschichte heute aussähe, hätten Booker und Buff ein MOTY-ähnliches Kaliber zu Stande gebracht und die Fans von den Stühlen gerissen. Stattdessen wurden die "WCW"-Pläne genauso schnell beendet, wie Buff Bagwells WWE-Karriere.
(Q: PWTorch, wwe.com)