Mike Reviews – WWF InVasion 2001 (22/07/2001)

Good Day, You Magnificent Beasts!

Seeing as we’re nearly twenty years to the day of this bad boy happening, why don’t we review it? It wouldn’t shock me if Scott decides to review this one as well due to the anniversary and all, but I’m writing this about a month or so in advance so that means I win I guess?

Anyway, for those who were lucky enough to have missed this pretty rubbish era in WWF history, Vince McMahon finally achieved his dream of conquering American Pro-Wrestling once and for all (Or so we thought) with the deaths of both WCW and ECW in the first Quarter of 2001.

Not only did Vince win the war, but he also got to buy WCW for a comparatively paltry sum and was all geared to bring in WCW as an invading force so he could finally deliver the big WWF Vs WCW feud that wrestling fans had been fantasising about for years.

Of course the feud hit a snag right from the off, as Vince not only couldn’t find a TV channel that would be prepared to give his new wCw brand a broadcast deal, but the fans also rejected any suggestion that the wCw guys might actually be sympathetic babyfaces, infamously booing both Booker T and Buff Bagwell out of the arena when the two had a disastrous “guest match” on an episode of Raw.

As a result of this, Vince got cold feet and decided to start booking wCw as a straight up Heel faction, and then went and gave them a putty patrol by bringing ECW back from the dead and teaming them up into a mega group known as “The Alliance”.

This didn’t work either.

What also didn’t help was that the WWF teased their fans with Stone Cold Steve Austin going back to the cool babyface character he used to play, and fans got suitably jazzed for it, all for it to end up being a SWERVE, which served to just agitate their onions even more.

So yeah, this whole period was one big fat DUD and the WWF brought it to a merciful end at Survivor Series 2001.

However, the initial InVasion pay per view was a gigantic success from a buy rate perspective and had a couple of hot matches on it, so this shouldn’t be too bad of a re-watch. Indeed, the one positive thing you can say about the whole Invasion storyline was that there was some genuinely great level wrestling going on, especially at the top of the card.

This is probably the moment where I’m supposed to “re-book” the whole thing, but to be honest I’m not going to bother. Instead, I suggest you go check out Jed Shaffer’s excellent “Re-Writing The Book” over on Wrestlecrap.com, as he tackled this subject and came up with a genuinely fantastic storyline, which not only stuck within the same parameters the WWF had to bide by at the time but also ended up finding interesting roles for the likes of Dean Malenko, Raven and Mike Awesome.

Indeed, I can’t think of anyone who writes a better Raven then Shaffer does. Sometimes I think Shaffer writes the Raven character better than even Scott Levy does. The way he gets his voice down in promo segments is unreal. Of course in real life his idea probably wouldn’t have worked as it involved a lot of established WWF guys actually making the Invaders look good, which was never going to happen, but I still think that overall it’s the best stab anyone has taken at trying to make this thing work and it’s a genuine “page turner” for good measure.

I’m watching the Silver Vision “Tagged Classics” version of the show, so if what I’m seeing is different from the WWF Network cut then that’s why.

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What the World Was Watching: WWF Prime Time Wrestling – April 16, 1990

Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan host tonight’s broadcast.

Jake Roberts’ squash from Wrestling Challenge airs.

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The SmarK Rant for WWF Wrestling Challenge – 01.17.87

The SmarK Rant for WWF Wrestling Challenge – 01.17.87

I find it continually fascinating that this show, which should fall into the wheelhouse of everyone reading, just doesn’t do very well in engagement or views, but WWF Superstars in 1993 knocks it out of the park every time.  Do I need more Finnish recipe jokes here?

Taped from Hershey, PA

Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan

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What the World Was Watching: The Wrestling Summit (Special Column)

As noted in prior columns, this show was a joint effort by the WWF, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and All Japan Pro Wrestling.  The WWF was looking to expand its global presence while New Japan and All Japan felt threatened by Akira Maeda’s shoot-like Universal Wrestling Federation, which drew a 50,000 person crowd to the Tokyo Dome for a big show in November 1989.  To counter them, New Japan and All Japan worked together on a supershow at the Tokyo Dome on February 10.  Then, they built on that effort by partnering with the WWF for another big card in Tokyo on April 13 that was named The Wrestling Summit.  According tothehistoryofwwe.com, the show drew a crowd of 53,742.

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What the World Was Watching: WWF Wrestling Challenge – April 15, 1990

Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan do commentary for this show, kicking off a new round of television tapings from Syracuse, New York.  According to thehistoryofwwe.com, these tapings took place on April 3.

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What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – April 14, 1990

Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura are in the booth, and they are taped from Glen Falls, New York.  According to thehistoryofwwe.com, these tapings took place on April 4.

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The SmarK Rant for WWF Superstars – 12.04.93

The SmarK Rant for WWF Superstars – 12.04.93

Taped from Delhi, NY

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Stan Lane, and they’re in the CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, HO HO HO, says Vince in a voice like if you programmed an artificial intelligence construct who had never experienced Christmas before and told it to simulate jolliness and good will towards men. Terrifying.

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What the World Was Watching: WWF Prime Time Wrestling – April 9, 1990

Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are tonight’s studio hosts.  Monsoon asks Heenan if the Heenan Family is seeing growing defections.  Heenan is aghast at what happened with Andre the Giant at WrestleMania, opining that the big man cannot take directions.  Monsoon makes a good point that Heenan failed to help get Andre out of the ropes at WrestleMania, thereby costing his team the WWF Tag Team Championship.

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What the World Was Watching: WWF Wrestling Challenge – April 8, 1990

With Tony Schiavone gone, Wrestling Challenge sees an announcing shakeup with Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan now calling the action.  They are commentating matches at the end of the taping cycle in San Francisco.

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The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 05.27.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 05.27.96

Anyone have experience with the Amazon Fire TV?  I know they don’t have WWE Network on it yet, but apparently it’s a lot more powerful than the Roku Streaming Stick that has been steadily flaking on me for the past year now and it’s not like I have any shortage of devices that can access the Network anyway.  The other problem is that they don’t technically ship to Canada, but there’s ways around that as well.   (Of course, a few years later and not only does the Amazon Fire Stick ship to Canada but I have a couple of them and an Amazon Fire HD tablet as well.  Still no WWE Network app up here, though.)  

Live (THANK GOD!) from Fayetteville, NC

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

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What the World Was Watching: WWF Prime Time Wrestling – April 2, 1990

Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are manning the studio.  Monsoon announces that the Ultimate Warrior is the new WWF Champion, and adds that Hulkamania has now achieved immortality.  Heenan challenges the Warrior to put the title on the line against an undetermined member of the Heenan Family.

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What the World Was Watching: WrestleMania VI

Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura are in the booth and they are live from Toronto, Ontario, Canada in what will be Ventura’s last appearance calling a WWF pay-per-view.  According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the show drew a sellout crowd of 67,678, a new attendance record for the venue.  It drew a buyrate of 3.8 (an estimated 550,000 purchases).  This was a decline from the 5.9 buyrate of WrestleMania V, but this can be attributed to more homes getting pay-per-view access by 1990, thereby messing with the buyrate average.

Robert Goulet sings the Canadian National Anthem.  According to Bruce Prichard, Goulet was picked for this spot because he badly botched signing “The Star Spangled Banner” several years earlier and this was a chance for him to redeem himself in front of a live crowd.  The WWF put the lyrics on the Skydome’s video screen to ease Goulet’s nerves.  And if you watch his body language during the performance, he goes from a bad of nerves to a guy having the time of his life halfway through.  His wife, who watched backstage, cried her eyes out after he nailed the song.

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What the World Was Watching: WWF Wrestling Challenge – April 1, 1990

Tony Schiavone and Gorilla Monsoon are calling the action and they are still in San Francisco, California.

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What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – March 31, 1990

Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura are in the booth, and they remain taped from Sacramento, California.  On the eve of WrestleMania VI, Ventura is dressed in Ultimate Warrior face paint and t-shirt and a Hulk Hogan hat.  When McMahon asks for a prediction, Ventura says the bout is a tossup.

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