Welcome back to the 2nd edition of our “Invasion” series of articles. We left off on the eve of King Of The Ring, where WCW were issued with an ultimatum: win King Of The Ring or vanish. However, if they did win then Nitro would be revived in place of Smackdown. King Of The Ring is set up into a 4 man competition. DDP, the last man standing for WCW, has been drawn against the Undertaker while the Big Show has been drawn against a mystery second man promised by Ric Flair, the “owner” of WCW.

Now that the recaps done, we go to the King Of The Ring PPV and the immediate aftermath.

King Of The Ring

The event begins with JR hyping the event, and that no-one knows who WCW’s second man is going to be. He says that Ric Flair is NOT at the arena, so there is no way of it being him. They cut to a satellite interview early in the show, where Flair says that WCW’s second man will be there, and that he has complete confidence in him.

DDP V Undertaker

As you can maybe predict, this is only going one way. DDP would be entering the match beaten and battered, but would give as good as he got against Taker. Eventually, Taker would take a strong upper hand and mercilessly beat DDP to teach him and WCW a lesson. The match is stopped on a TKO, as DDP is unable to continue and would be stretchered from the ring.

Other Semi-Final

The Big Show comes out. No-one appears. Big Show calls for the bell to be called, saying that Flair was lying and there is no second man for WCW. The lights go out for a second. When they’re back up, there’s a familiar looking guy decked entirely in black standing behind Big Show. Sting is the second man! Sting hits the Scorpion Deathdrop on a totally unaware Big Show, getting the 1-2-3 and sealing his progression to the King Of The Ring finals against the Undertaker. Initially I’d ideally have liked for Sting to have rappelled down in the darkness, but on further thoughts given the obvious sensitivities in the WWF regarding rappelling this is perhaps a no go. I’m sure we could sort something out to achieve the desired effect, even if Sting had to come out from under the ring and be there in the darkness.

King Of The Ring: Final

Main event time. Given Taker’s brutal beat down of DDP and Sting’s stunning debut, we’ve got a clash of the titan’s for the future of WCW. The match is an extremely close affair, with the sense that it really could go one way or the other. Sting kicks out of the Last Ride and the Tombstone, while Taker kicks out of the Scorpion Deathdrop and escaped the Scorpion Deathlock. Eventually, Sting hits the Stinger Splash followed by the Deathdrop. Sting wins 1-2-3. As a consequence, Sting has proved himself once again and saved WCW in the process. In the process, Sting becomes The King Of The Ring 2001.

On Raw the next day, we see the aftermath of King Of The Ring. The show opens with Ric Flair celebrating. Vince comes out and says that as much as he hates to say it, he signed a contract and Nitro will be back on this Thursday in place of Smackdown. Ric Flair brings out the entire WCW roster to celebrate. The guys we’re using at the start to revive WCW on TV are Buff Bagwell, Rey Mysterio,  Chris Kanyon, Billy Kidman, Rick Steiner, Chuck Palumbo, Sean O’Haire, Konnan, Bam Bam, Chris Candido, Stevie Ray & Shane Helms along with all the names previously mentioned (DDP, Sting, Flair, Steiner, Double J, Booker T & Lance Storm). NB: From now on, PPV’s will be split. 50% will be WWF matches and 50% will be WCW, but we’ll be keeping the WWF PPVs, but WCW will have a presence on the shows.

On the first episode of WWF/WCW Nitro we see Ric Flair come out with the rest of the WCW roster. He brings out the saviour of the company, Sting, to a hero’s welcome. As a reward for saving the company, Ric Flair awards Sting a WCW Heavyweight title match at the next PPV. DDP comes out.  He’s still pretty banged up, but he accuses Sting of letting the side down. DDP says it’s ridiculous that Sting gets awarded a title match while he’s been dragging himself around in agony all week. He wants to know where he was when himself, Steiner, Storm et al were getting the shit kicked out of them by the WWF. Sting says that DDP is right that he should’ve been there. DDP says that isn’t good enough, and leaves.

At the next Raw, Vince announces that he’s got some good news. He’s interrupted by the owner of WCW, Ric Flair. Flair says that he knows what his news is, and he congratulates him. However, Flair says he’s got something he wants to announce himself. He announces that WCW has bought the remnants of ECW. Vince goes ballistic; he says that he had the deal done. Paul Heyman comes from ringside, and tells Vince that Flair offered more money that would totally clear his debts after ECW and that he couldn’t refuse. Vince fires Heyman on the spot for stabbing him in the back. Heyman pleads with Flair for a job, Flair says that he’s sorry but that he can’t do that, leaving Paul Heyman to be escorted from the premises swearing revenge on both WCW and the WWF.

The reasoning for incorporating ECW into WCW is that it bulks up WCW’s roster. RVD, Jerry Lynn, Steve Corino, Nova and a few others would be relatively strong additions to the WCW roster and allow it to stand along as an “independent” promotion without having to draft guys over from the WWF.

This is ground zero for the angle with the revival of Nitro, so we’re going to move a bit more quickly now. There’s going to be a few important notes on a few angles, as well as detailing for now.

Sting wins the WCW Title from Booker T and DDP demands a title shot . Booker claims his rematch first, Sting retains. DDP would finally claim his WCW match as no.1 contender after Sting has dealt with Booker T. After a hell of a match between DDP and Sting, DDP would pin Sting to become WCW champion. The roster comes out to celebrate with DDP, leaving Sting isolated having had the WCW roster turn their back on him after he saved the company. Sting doesn’t even take his option of a  rematch. In Nitro, DDP pays him respect and apologises for being a little harsh towards him. Sting replies that it’s obvious that he’s not wanted by the wrestlers or by the fans and subsequently disappears. This would lead to a return to his silent “Crow” like gimmick and an eventual return to hanging out in the rafters…on Raw.

On that note, that wraps up this week’s edition of “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Russo.” Next time out we’ll be looking at the run to the Royal Rumble and the event itself. When I said that we’d be a bit more quickly now that we’ve got the bases put in place I wasn’t joking! Anyway, I look forward to seeing you again next week and that you’ll join us for our look at our alternative to the 2002 Royal Rumble.

Ta Ta For Now!

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