JohnDosPassos2 Rebooks the Invasion, Part II

Me thinking about the Invasion

So back to the Invasion. If you haven't read my first piece, check it out here: JDP Part 1. Also, check out Rick's first entry Rick City 1 and his second Rick City 2

A few things out of the way first: my teaching semester has just started, so I no longer have the free time I once did, so my post will be even less specific on details than the previous one. Second, I'm also working on two other posts that should be up to the blog within the next week or so, and, as such, I'm hoping to get onto bigger and better things.

As the father of a 7-year old daughter, I know way too much about Rainbow Dash

So let's set the scene: it's the Raw after Survivor Series (question: should Survivor Series be italicized? I feel it should since it's a annual performance as opposed to a sketch or an episode of a television series. Screw it -- italics and don't @ me) and Vince comes out to the ring *partially* own up to the fact that Shane's WCW now controls Smackdown and that his organization lost a major event. He nevertheless reminds the audience that Raw is still the apex of wrestling shows when Shane's music hits; as Shane dances out toward the ring, Ric Flair enters the arena to a thunderous pop. The duo confront Vince and Shane laughs, but does not gloat at his father's loss. Shane begins to loosely outline what Smackdown will become: a show not based on the whims of a "tyrant," but a show built on talented wrestlers and gritty narratives and with his new GM Ric Flair, Shane believes this can happen.

At this point, Vince interjects and reminds Shane that "sure, you can do that with all the 'talent' you have in WCW" (Vince will also uses airquotes because pro wrestling NEEDS more air quotes). Ric Flair then grabs the mic and mentions that he knows a few good lawyers (Woo!) and they (Woo!) have informed him that a few wrestlers are willing to join them and others are willing to negotiate their contracts to exclusively appear on Smackdown; this later group will be revealed at a date very, very soon (Woo!). Despite this, Vince decries the new Smackdown and says the audience that they should feel free to watch "HACKDOWN" if any one is dumb enough to do so.

Writer's note: I spent ten minutes thinking of Hackdown. I suck.

As Shane and Ric leave the ring, Shane pauses and says "Actually Dad, a few of those wrestlers will make their allegiances felt tonight. Oh and one more thing: a few of my guys are coming for a few of your company's belts in the not too distant future."

As the night wears on, a few matches are scheduled, but nothing of note really happens until the end of the night: first, Raven interferes in a match between Tommy Dreamer and William Regal, and just beats the snot out of Dreamer. As Raven stands over Dreamer, he smiles at Regal and they leave the ring and head out past the ramp, appearing to head out of the arena. Second, in a tag-team matchup against the Dudley Boys, the Hardy Boys want a rematch for the titles (just the WWE Tag Titles) as they feel the referee did a fast-count (or Brother Nero appeared or something). But as the match starts, it's clear the Hardys are no match for the Dudleys and the brothers are beaten senseless in the ring. Bubba Ray then grabs the mic and cuts and hot promo on the audience, saying everyone in North Carolina is an in-bred --- well, just imagine a Dudley promo from ECW. They suddenly leave the ring, but head out through the crowd, taking the Tag Team belts with them. Somewhere in-between those matches, Test comes out and cuts a promo decrying the WWE's kayfabe treatment of him, ranging from working with Albert to being mocked by the HHH-Stephanie wedding. He drops the mic and leaves the arena. It is clear Shane and Ric have recruited some members.

On the next Smackdown, Shane and Ric open the show with a few announcements. Shane says that while WCW was a successful company, it's name does not resonate with wider audiences. Shane then says that he's rebranding Smackdown and WCW as National Championship Wrestling Smackdown. He declares that the "NCW will be not only be more entertaining than the WWE, but will be better than the WWE." He then formally announces his newest hires: Regal, Raven, Test, and the Dudleys who still hold the tag team belts. Shane declares that NCW will hold a tournament to determine which wrestlers for the US Championship (the one belt held over from WCW) and to be the number one contender for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble.

Side note: one thing that I think was overly complicated about the Invasion in general was the moves to unify titles and have competing titles. In my timeline, I've simplified that as much as possible. I'm open to having one major title (Intercontinental on Raw; US Championship on Smackdown) on each show, sorta like the NL and AL Championships. Otherwise, the shows share the titles, including the WWE Championship will be shared by the promotions.

Meanwhile on WWE television, Vince has become obsessed with defeating NCW; he's also paranoid about which of his stars might defect next to NCW. When he's not encouraging his wrestlers to compete harder against each other, he's also continually challenging their loyalties and creating an organization rife with suspicion among the wrestlers. The Hardy Brothers begin doubting one another; Kane and the Big Show undermine one another; Jericho and Rock start to blame one another for the inability of Raw to be a stable show. Similar things happen on the NCW show, but Shane does not aggravate those disputes; instead, wrestler rivalries begin to develop organically from competing for the US Championship and from holdover issues from the WCW days. The primary rivalry is between DDP and Booker T for the right to be the number one contender (more of a face versus face dynamic given their history fighting for Shane at Survivor Series) and Lance Storm vs Billy Kidman for the US Championship - which Storm wins on the final NCW Smackdown of the year.

For the sake of simplicity (and fatigue on my part), I'm keeping the outcomes of Vengeance 2001 nearly intact. Jericho still defeats Stone Cold for the WWE Championship, but there's no unification of the titles. But I'm also adding matches featuring DDP vs Booker T for the number one contender's spot - which Booker T wins - and a second match with Lance Storm facing a mystery opponent for the US Championship. And that man walks to the ring wearing an NCW shirt: Rob Van Dam. RVD defeats Storm for the title and then attacks his former ECW colleague rather savagely after the match, cementing him as a heel as he moves to his new show.

Post Vengeance, Ric Flair begins to figure more prominently in NCW programming; he's a GM and while he sets matches from week to week, he also begins mentoring wrestlers and encouraging them to "be the man" in every way. He suggests to a few wrestlers that they should get in the face of their competition and show them "who's the man." On the following Raw, during a match between Austin, the Rock, and Angle to determine who should get the right to challenge Jericho for the championship, Near the end of the match when everyone is fatigued, Booker T enters the ring and lays waste to the three men. He then turns to the camera and demands a championship match between he and Jericho and the Royal Rumble. 

On the next Smackdown, Vince appears and confronts Shane and Flair about Booker T's interference; the two men say that they had no control over their wrestler and when Booker T comes down to present his case, the Rock, Angle, and Stone Cold either appear in the arena or on the teletron and plead their case. It's at this point that Shane posits an idea: since there are two competing  divisions or leagues within the WWE, it only seems fair to have a neutral commissioner someone that doesn't really care for either organization and as such can call things down the middle. Vince and son agree to decide upon a manager and reveal him on the next Raw. But as Flair leaves the ring, he turns to Vince and warns him "Son, you ain't seen nothing yet ---- Wooo!"

And the new Commissioner is? Paul Heyman. He's a guy with legit gripes (both real and in kayfabe) about both WCW / NCW and the WWE. And let's face facts: in sports, commissioners are not supposed to be popular and you can cultivate that by having him becoming a heelish commissioner (or a face - he'll be cheered to death in Philly and New York no matter what). And Heyman declares that all four men will have to get their title show the hard way: the winner of the Royal Rumble gets to face Jericho at WM and each man will be the first four entrants into the Rumble.

(I sorta borrowed this idea from an episode of WhatCulture WWE, but it's a good one).

At the Rumble, RVD retains his title in a rematch against Lance Storm, while the Dudley Boys defeat the Hardys in a rematch of their previous bouts. In the Rumble, all four men enter the ring first and beat the living snot out of each other and continue to do so as other men enter and lose. As your personal favorite wrestler is tossed out the ring, we are nearly left with the original 4 wrestlers: Angle, Austin, the Rock, and Booker T. I should say that almost all the wrestlers who enter the ring are not really threats per se -- you might have a Kane and the Undertaker --- but most of the entrants are definite midcarders. As such, audiences get the sense that number 30 will be another pushover and why wouldn't the win go to one of these guys who's been in the ring the whole time???

And then number 30: HHH.

Oh hey there
Oh sure, he came back in January 2002 on a RAW, but admit that was a missed opportunity. And when HHH enters the ring, he takes advantage of the tired men and quickly takes the win. And we can presume even in this scenario, he'll get a huge pop and even in the win he'll be treated as a face.

As HHH celebrates his win, Vince and Stephanie (in kayfabe, HHH and Steph are still married in this timeline) come to the ring to embrace their family member (are HHH and Steph married in real life by this point? Eh, I'm too lazy to look it up). As Steph moves to hug her "husband," HHH gives her the "one second" finger and turns his attention to Vince and moves to shake his hand. He then puts hits Vince and puts him into a Pedigree and knocks him out. As Steph runs to her dad, HHH smiles and points to the camera, points four fingers, and says "NCW -- Wooo!"

So that's my second part! Soon, I'll have part 3, but look for a review of a wrestling show over the weekend.

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