The Invasion angle was the battle of ratings during what was dubbed the Monday Night Wars. The two biggest wrestling companies in the world at that time, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) were directly up against each other with Monday night programming.
What ensued was some of the best and most captivating television wrestling fans have ever seen. Constant storyline swerves, the introduction of cross-promotional talent and the regularity of true babyface victories made it arguably the best time to be a wrestling fan.
However, when the real life battle stopped perceptions began to slowly change.
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This real life ratings battle eventually boiled over, with Vince McMahon purchasing WCW, virtually buying his own competition. Not only did he own the product, but WCW superstars had nowhere else to go but to him and the WWE.
WWE then made the conscious decision to bring the angle to our televisions screen with the introduction of many WCW talent to the WWE roster and the storyline that Shane McMahon owned WCW.
The storyline had the potential to be the greatest angle ever seen in professional wrestling, but critics have argued that its play-out was lacklustre due to WWE being unable at the time to payout the top WCW talent contracts that were owned by AOL Time Warner. Also, the introduction of ECW superstars to create ‘The Alliance’ had mixed reviews, with many of their best talents already debuting in WWE the year before when the company went bankrupt.
Wrestling at the time was the best it has ever been, and this was the type of storyline fans had dreamt of forever. However, what fans really wanted was the big stars like Goldberg, Sting, Hulk Hogan etc. to come over to lead the charge rather than an up and comer like Booker T. Booker did the best he could do in the situation he was faced with, but at the end of the days fans really did just wanted to see Rock vs Hogan and The Undertaker vs Sting.
It was a time where the traditional storyline of a babyface gets knocked down then enacts some revenge on who did him wrong; thus, the babyface coming out on top and good defeating evil. In the way WWE sold the storyline, it was WCW as the bad guys and it was WWE being the all-conquering babyfaces even though we all knew that WWE had done wrong and taken virtually away the wrestlers jobs.
If this angle ran in today’s wrestling climate/world climate it would have to be the other way around. Across the globe, the rate of unemployment continues to rise, so with a powerful billionaire buying and taking away the jobs of these WCW employees, the fan base would feel more inclined to support them.
Even though ‘invading’ another company by force may be seen as ethically the wrong thing to do, no doubt today's wrestling fan base would rather cheer the guys doing that and boo the other guys.
The Invasion also took part in the Attitude Era where programming wasn’t PG like it is today, so elements of violence ECW added to the storyline would have to be extinguished.
Another criticism that came from the Invasion storyline was when WWE creative decided to turn Stone Cold heel in a time where all fans wanted was top babyfaces. In today’s wrestling climate, such a drastic shift in character and persona would be met with open arms.
In conclusion, if the invasion storyline took place in today’s wrestling climate you would have to sell WCW as the good guys fighting for their jobs and that the heel superstars would have to come out on top due to how today’s current fan base thinks. In the end, WWE would still conquer The Alliance, but the angle and The Alliance would be remembered more fondly than they are today.
Do you have fond memories of the Invasion angle? Let us know why you were on the side of either the WWE or WCW in the comments sections.