Bet you're sick of stuff regarding the Invasion now, but it still seems to be a popular topic on the BLOG!~! so here goes….
One thing nobody's neccessarily brought up yet and just a thought – was the 'Invasion' really neccessary in the first place? Think about it like this – WCW had lost all credibility with wrestling fans by the point that Vince bought them out, right? So realistically, turning the whole shebang into "two separate companies" was never going to work – look at the reaction it got in Tacoma when they did 'WCW' at the end of the show with Bagwell vs. Booker, and that was really before they'd totally botched the angle (outside of DDP….). And really, was it "WWF vs. WCW" that the fans were clamouring for, or was it more stuff like Rock vs. Hogan, Austin vs. Goldberg, just as matches?
Basically what I'm getting at is this – would it have been smarter to just bring the big stars from WCW in as their own acts – essentially like how Goldberg and Steiner were eventually brought aboard – just to run dream matches that way, rather than even making use of WCW as a company? That way none of the younger wrestlers (O'Haire, Palumbo, Lance Storm, et al) would've had the WCW stigma attached to them like they did post-Invasion, and natural babyfaces like DDP and Van Dam could've just played those roles without being shoehorned into heeldom due to their WCW links. So basically, it's an injection of talent to freshen up the roster, rather than an 'Invasion'. Think of the buyout as bringing in more wrestlers rather than the tainted WCW name.
This worked well for UFC in bringing the PRIDE stars across, did it not? Some fans wanted a UFC vs. PRIDE type thing there but in reality UFC probably drew more by establishing guys like Rampage and Wanderlei as stars in their own right and by running the dream matches that the fans had wanted for years anyway (well, most of the time…). I dunno, just some food for thought.
Yeah, but that's apples and oranges. PRIDE had zero value except for the talent, whereas WCW's only value was the name. While freshening up the roster also could have worked as a strategy, clearly the MONEY ($$$$$$$$$$!) was in pulling the trigger on the one feud that fans had been waiting for 20+ years to happen: WWF v. WCW itself. Guys like DDP and Van Dam were useful as new uppercard players, yeah, but the only storyline that the fans wanted to see was them invading from another promotion. It was a rare case where the fans were almost literally trying to give the promotion their money and only needed the slightest excuse.