Rick_City Rebooks the Invasion, Part 2

If you missed part one, good for you. But it's available here anyway. Also, please check out the alternate rebooking by @johndospassos2, available here.

We left off with the end of the Invasion PPV on July 22nd, 2001. Chris Jericho has just cost Team WWF the match and, as a result, WCW now controls the first hour on Monday nights.

July 23rd, 2001: The Return of Monday Nitro

The show is designed to look as much like the old Nitros as possible. ^ That's the logo for the show and that's the logo WCW uses in this entire storyline. The logo that closed WCW was terrible and the WWF version was bad as well. That's the classic WCW logo and that's the one we're using.

Anyway, Scott Hudson welcomes us to Nitro and Shane McMahon in in the ring. He announces that tonight is a very special night and that WCW will be crowning a new champion to celebrate the return of Nitro. Booker T has relinquished his United States title and a four man tournament will happen tonight to name a new champion. Lance Storm will face Chavo Guerrero and Mike Awesome will face Chris Kanyon. The winners will battle in the main event to crown the new United States Champion.

Shane then introduces "tonight's guest of honor" Chris Jericho, who comes out to his old WCW theme. Shane welcomes Jericho to WCW, but Jericho says that he's not returning to WCW. He doesn't know why he had that old theme, but he does know that he didn't leave the WWF last night. All he did was show Vince McMahon exactly how valuable he is. What Vince doesn't understand is being a "loyal WWF superstar" doesn't mean following Vince's orders. It means busting your ass in the ring every night and putting on a show. It means working every day to become the best. And that's what he does. He hit Steve Austin with that chair last night to show Vince exactly how valuable he is. He saved WWF several times last night but, when it came down to it, he knew Vince wouldn't appreciate his hard work. Vince never does. So he took out Austin to show the world exactly how important he is.

Jericho leaves the ring. As he does, Shane says "Hey, if you ever change your mind, you have my number."

As for the tournament, Lance Storm meets Chris Kanyon in the final and Storm wins the US title.

Then the show transitions over to Raw after Nitro ends. We get the standard WWF logos and JR and Paul Heyman in the booth. It's treated like Raw and Nitro are separate shows with separate themes, etc. They just happen to take place on the same night, from the same arena, back-to-back.

The mood on Raw is sour. They lost an hour of TV and they lost a huge match. Vince is out and he's enraged. He berates Jericho for several minutes. He then says "I heard your little speech on Nitro tonight where you claimed to be important. But you're nothing without me. Vince McMahon and the WWF made you who you are today. Guys like you and Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, William Regal, and everyone else from WCW were all nobodies until Vince McMahon and the WWF made you stars!"

Jericho then comes out, with his WWF theme and entrance. Before he can say a word, he's attacked from behind by the Undertaker and Kane. With McMahon barking orders, the Brothers of Destruction brutalize Jericho. Dean Malenko comes out to try to stop the beating, but the APA, Holly Cousins, Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, etc. stop him. 

As the beating continues for an uncomfortably long time, various former WCW talents try to interject as well, but guys like Regal, Saturn, etc. are all stopped by the WWF forces. Finally the Big Show steps out and he's stopped as well. Vince cuts in and says "No, you let him through. Get in the ring, Big Show."

Big Show enters the ring and Vince says "Remember how you told me before that you were 100% loyal to WWF? Prove it." He points to the beaten and bloody Jericho. "Prove your loyalty dammit or YOU'RE FIRED! Do you want to end up back in WCW pretending to be Andre's son!?"

Big Show hesitates, but he eventually grabs Jericho and chokeslams him. Vince smiles. "Let this be an example to anyone who betrays the WWF."

Otherwise, it's a standard episode of Raw. The only catch is no former WCW guys are booked.

The next week (July 30th) Jericho returns to Nitro, this time as a member of the WCW roster. Dean Malenko is with him. It's announced that Vince McMahon is temporarily allowing anyone who isn't loyal to the WWF to break their contracts and join WCW. Over the next few weeks, some former WCW guys like Perry Saturn, Haku, Jacqueline, Raven, and William Regal leave their WWF contracts to rejoin WCW.

The point of doing this is to strengthen the WCW roster in a realistic way. After all, why would anyone actually leave the much more powerful WWF to join WCW? They wouldn't. But, tn this storyline, Vince is actively trying to hurt the careers of former WCW guys by not booking them and attacking them, so they leave. Plus, this method keeps WCW looking like WCW. Having WCW include Christian, Test, Kurt Angle and Steve Austin doesn't feel right. But it feels more like WCW when it's guys like Jericho and Malenko who were in WCW when it was at its peak.

Over the next few weeks, Shane McMahon continues to pitch WCW as a place where "talent matters" to contrast with the WWF that is increasingly becoming a paranoid Vince McMahon's play thing. This strategy also separates the two companies from one another: WCW is more of an in-ring talent company while WWF is home to "Superstars." WCW wrestlers are called "wrestlers."

Anyway, on the July 30th Nitro, Diamond Dallas Page ends the show with a victory and he then cuts a promo. Standard stuff. However, Nitro "goes over its time limit" and the show is cut right at 10pm for Raw. The last thing the audience hears DDP say is "DDP is the people's champ!"

When Raw starts, it's revealed that DDP is still in the ring, despite WWF security trying to get him out. Then: "If ya smelllllll..............................." and the Rock returns to WWF! He cuts off DDP in the ring: 

"Excuse me, did the Rock just hear you call yourself 'the people's champ'?"
"Yeah, DDP is..."

The Rock then cuts a promo on how HE is the people's champ and how he is back from suspension and how he is here to save "the millions... and millions of The Rock's fans" from the tyranny of Vince McMahon. He runs down McMahon and tells him that he's screwing this up. He's letting Shane and WCW get the best of him. DDP tries to cut him off, and he's hit with a Rock Bottom for his efforts. Security then drags DDP out of the ring.

Other than that interaction, WCW and WWF guys don't really interact much for the next while. Nitro is its own show, Raw and Smackdown are their own shows. WCW titles are defended on WCW shows by WCW stars against WCW stars and the same for WWF titles. 

Elix Skipper and Mike Awesome hold the WWF tag team titles, but never defend them. Vince won't allow a WWF title on a WCW show and Shane won't allow his wrestlers to go on a WCW show. Lawyers are involved but nothing is settled. Skipper and Awesome still appear, but they can't show the WWF titles on WCW TV or mention that they are WWF tag team champions. WWF pretends that their own tag team titles don't exist for a while.

When SummerSlam rolls around on August 19, 2001, it's a WWF show. That means no WCW stars and no WCW titles. The exceptions are that Elix Skipper and Mike Awesome must defend their WWF tag team titles (the lawyers worked something out), that The Rock demands to face DDP, and that Vince and Austin accept a challenge from Booker T.

That means we get the WWF Champion versus the WCW Champion for the first time live at SummerSlam. It's a non-title "special challenge" match.

On the show, Skipper and Awesome are defeated for the WWF tag titles by the Undertaker and Kane. The Rock beats DDP cleanly in a good match. This gets the Rock into Vince McMahon's good graces and, despite that the Rock still has personal issues with Vince, he puts them aside for the sake of the company.

In the main event, Booker T and Steve Austin fight to a draw when both WWF and WCW guys interfere and the match is thrown out. The show ends with a giant WCW versus WWF brawl and JR screaming.

Yes, these results make the WWF look strong, but it needs to look strong. WCW also needs to look strong. They're new separate companies that can both be made strong without destroying or belittling one of them.

For the next couple months, things continue like this. WCW has one hour on Monday for Nitro, WWF has one hour on Monday for Raw and two hours on Thursday for Smackdown! Smackdown! starts to become a more important show for the WWF since it's longer and has no competition. 

WWF and WCW occasionally take verbal shots at one another, but that's it. Outside the initial five or six guys who "defected" back to WCW, no one else leaves. There's basically no interaction between the two companies.

However, Vince is often heard venting and ranting about how pissed off he is that he had to give half of Raw away to WCW, and Shane is often heard wishing that he could have the other hour. By the time Survivor Series happens on November 18, 2001, Vince and Shane meet to settle the terms of a match. Vince McMahon wants the first hour of Raw back. Shane agrees to another Team WCW versus Team WWF match where WWF can win back their show, if Vince will meet his terms. He knows that Vince will never bet Raw again, especially after what happened last time, but maybe he'll bet something else: Vengeance. 

If Team WCW wins, WWF Vengeance will become a WCW Pay-Per-View event. Vince agrees.

At Survivor Series, there are finally a couple WCW versus WWF matches and WCW talent and titles are allowed to appear. Vince brashly allows this as a "farewell to WCW, which will die when Nitro dies."

There are no title matches between WCW and WWF competitors, however, so no championships switch companies. However, there is a "Special Challenge Match" where five other WWF stars take on five other WCW wrestlers. On the line is a shot at one of the other promotion's titles (excluding the World Titles). 

That match is:

Team WWF (Edge, Christian, Rhyno, Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy) 
Team WCW (Mike Awesome, Chris Kanyon, Perry Saturn, William Regal & Raven)

Team WCW wins when Team WWF can't get along. William Regal records the final elimination in the match, giving him the title shot. He will end up challenging for the WWF European Title on Raw the next night and defeating Test for that belt. Regal is upset that a non-European is besmirching the belt and he brings it to WCW to "defend its honour." It becomes the WCW European Title (for at least the time being) because WWF has too many titles. It's never a major title, just a thing that Regal cares about.

The main event is:

Team WWF (Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, The Rock, The Undertaker & Kane) 
Team WCW (Booker T, Diamond Dallas Page, Lance Storm, Chris Jericho & Dean Malenko)

It's a tough, back-and-forth match. The final two competitors for each team are Austin & Rock versus Booker T & DDP. Thanks to miscommunication, the Rock ends up hitting Austin by accident, allowing a DDP roll-up. 

The Rock then manages to eliminate DDP, but Booker T gets him by surprise and he wins the match for Team WCW. Yes, relatively cleanly and, yes, WWF loses both matches and both losses are due to "miscommunication." This is to show that WCW, as the underdog, is more unified on "on the same page" than the WWF is, as it is being run by an increasingly erratic Vince McMahon. 

The win means that WCW is returning to pay-per-view for the first time since March 2001. 

The next night, Nitro and Raw are live from Charlotte, North Carolina. Nitro opens with the return of Ric Flair. The crowd goes nuts. Then he announces that, on December 9, 2001, WCW will return to pay-per-view.... for Starrcade. 

Stay tuned for Part Three.

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