Vince Russo suggested a reboot of the WCW Invasion to WWE’s Vince McMahon in 2002
- Vince Russo returned to WWE in 2002
- Shane, Vince and Russo were the main actors
The collapse and subsequent takeover of World Championship Wrestling saw many talent and personnel changes. Vince McMahon brought a number of promising wrestlers such as Booker T and DDP, but the popular performers chose to stay home for the time being. Old staff and faces returned to work for McMahon, but somewhere, lost in the mess, was Vince Russo.
Russo had built a solid reputation and was already one of the most polarizing figures in wrestling history. According to many people, Russo was the sole reason for WCW’s demise and initially Vince McMahon chose not to sign him. However, in 2002, WWE approached Russo with a deal and he was hired as a creative consultant.
Vince Russo returned to WWE in 2002
Just two weeks later, he was removed from the creative team and offered another role, an advisory stay-at-home advisor. Russo said after speaking to Stephanie McMahon over the phone, he felt disrespected and declined WWE’s offer.
The idea that led to his being removed from the active creative team was a proposed Invasion Angle reboot. The Invading Angel ran for months in 2001, culminating in Survivor Series 2001 where The Rock quieted the invading force by defeating Austin in the traditional Survivor Series elimination match. Overall, the angle wasn’t too well received, but wrestling fans got a lot of iconic moments, so while the saga was disappointing, it wasn’t a total failure.
Vince Russo suggested a second invasion, and while this has been known for some time, the exact details of Vic Venom have never really been revealed. A few years ago, Russo revealed what he was up to on his own show Truth and Consequences, and it went something like this….
The reboot invasion was supposed to revolve around Eric Bischoff, former WCW President and rival of Vince McMahon. Russo made it clear that he never got along with Bischoff personally, but in terms of entertainment, he considered Bischoff one of the best performers of all time. Yes, he said that.
Exaggeration aside, Eric Bischoff was brought into WWE by Vince McMahon solely for the purpose of live television humiliation. McMahon would put Bischoff through hell every week, but the former WCW President would endure the humiliation and slowly but surely earn Vince McMahon’s respect and become his right-hand man. Russo mentioned that this would be a ploy by Bischoff to get close to McMahon and that’s where Shane McMahon comes in.
As posited by Russo, Shane McMahon would “smell a rat” and warn his father that Eric Bischoff was working with him, but Vince would dismiss the idea, accusing his own son of being jealous. This would create a rift between father and son and Bischoff would win more for chairman of WWE.
Bischoff would then suggest bringing in former WCW talent and McMahon would sign them all, which would result in WCW wrestlers becoming part of the active roster. Bischoff would then begin an acquisition within the company and McMahon would approach Shane.
Shane, Vince and Russo were the main actors
Father and son would be at each other’s throats and Bischoff would take over the company. Russo had built the entire idea around the Vince, Shane, and Bischoff dynamic, and at first glance this seems like a decent idea, barring one major problem.
Shane McMahon was the guy who started the invasion in the first place! The idea was proposed in June 2002 and the completion of the first invasion arc took place in November 2001, not even a year ago. Shane was the biggest villain in the company just a few months ago and suddenly, not even a year later, he was the shunned savior of the same organization he wanted to destroy? The fans wouldn’t believe it and booking the angle would be an insult to viewers’ intelligence.
To be fair, Vince Russo wanted the big WCW stars to participate and by the summer of 2002 most of them were in WWE, but in the world of wrestling timing is everything and Russo proposed this idea at the worst possible time.
More importantly, given the enormity of the plot, a concept like an ad invasion is done once in a decade. If WWE pulled off two invasion angles in a single year, we’d still mock them to this day.