As a nerd of many, MANY thing, there are occasions when I become annoyed when things happen that just make absolutely no sense, appear to be disrespectful to a product, and seem to slight my intelligence and the intelligence of others who share similar passions. That said, in early 2001 when AOL Time Warner felt that they no longer wanted professional wrestling on the TNT and TBS networks and essentially cancelled ALL WCW programming, they sold it off to Vince McMahon and the WWF for only $3 million dollars. This effectively ended the long era of a wrestling promotion that created moments and memories to fan for multiple generations. You’d think with that type of legacy that that this promotion would get the memorable, nice, respectful, appropriate and FINAL sendoff. But no. It didn’t. And it still bugs me to this day. There were a few problems that prevented that sendoff, and here are some:
1) All of WCW’s top talent had not been signed with WCW, but with AOL Time Warner (which didn’t immediately transfer to WWF).
So during the course of the Invasion — ugh — storyline, WWF couldn’t use Scott Steiner, Jeff Jarrett, Ric Flair, Goldberg or Sting, and were left with Sean O’Haire, Chuck Palumbo, Shawn Stasiak, Buff Bagwell, Hugh Morrus, and the barely ANYONE from WCW glory days of 1996-1998.
2) The WCW/ECW Alliance Storyline itself.
It’s ABSOLUTELY NO SECRET how that was going to end. Despite the WCW mid-carders teaming with former ECW talent, and being aligned with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Kurt Angle, it still didn’t exactly say “WCW” when looking at the crowd in that stable, plus — and a huge shocker /sarcasm — by the end of Survivor Series 2002, the storyline was over as the WCW/ECW Alliance had been defeated and disbanded.
3) The “Too Late for the Invasion Storyline” Arrivals
What they Alliance — ugh — storyline COULD HAVE NEEDED were the likes of Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Ric Flair, but AFTER that storyline ended, THAT’S when major WCW talent started showing up in the WWF, as Ric Flair showed up the NIGHT AFTER Survivor Series, and in February of the following year (a meme THREE months later), the nWo (“Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) arrived. Then Eric Bischoff showed up to run Monday Night Raw that Spring.
4) The Name Change and Brand Extension
Due to losing a controversial lawsuit from the World Wildlife Fund for Nature in May 2002, the World Wrestling Federation was forced to change their name to World Wrestling Entertainment. Then the roster was split in 2002 between a RAW roster and a SmackDown roster to accommodate the new influx of talent, with each show having it’s own championship titles and belts. This could have been an opportunity to have RAW be a WWE show and SmackDown to be the WCW show. However, ECW got the rehash opportunity in 2006 and WWE ran with that for a few years.
Despite the problems that plagued the promotion, it provided many memories and was a major contributor to the legacy of professional wrestling across the world. WCW deserved a better sendoff, and hopefully the opportunity is still there.