Many sites have a match of the week but ours is a little different. These matches are the ones that are fun to watch… in the non-traditional way.
This week, we’ve chosen Booker T vs. Buff Bagwell from the July 2nd, 2001 episode of RAW. This was the first WCW match on RAW after WWE purchased the WCW. Many says this match is the reason why WWE decided to end the concept of WCW shortly. Members of the site @TimWelcomed, @typicalROHfan and @TomBlackett give their (lack of) expertise on the action.
Part 1: WCW Monday Night Raw
Arn Anderson as a commentator is… well, something different, I guess. I don’t know if anyone has ever said this but there were a few different ways they could have handled having the WCW name that would have been way better. We did get this match out of them doing it this way though so there is that.
The first introduction we get to WCW is Scott Hudson botching by saying Buff Bagwell is going for the “WWF Championship” against Booker T. In retrospect going with Stacy Keibler as ring announcer and Hudson & Arn Anderson as the commentators was not the best decision at all. (Sorry, Arn. You still have the best Spinebuster ever.)
Here comes Buff Bagwell in an airbrushed top hat and the theme song “Buff Daddy.” WCW never had a chance.
As a die-hard WWF fan, I’d been conditioned to believe that WCW was a backwards company of has-beens and losers and I’d be mad to watch it. On this fateful night in 2001, Buff Bagwell and Booker T proved me wrong; it was much, much worse.
Scott Hudson and Double A, Arn Anderson are here to call one of the weirdest matches ever. “WCW is back in business!” Oh, okay! Stacy Keibler is ring announcer, and she’s… sort of competent? Definitely not good, but she manages to say the words at a pitch that’s almost audible to humans. Buff’s theme song is pretty incredible. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.
Part 2: Buff is the Stuff
The match begins with some lazy back and forth. There is definitely sound coming from the audience. It’s the sound of indifference. Booker T falls down after kicking Bagwell. Cesaro can keep his balance after doing the big swing on someone for minutes but Booker T can’t stay up after one spin kick. I’m going to take this time to say that I do like the WCW referee shirts.
Bagwell’s neckbreaker is the first move to make it seem like these two have any amount of chemistry together. The crowd has turned from indifferent to surly and just overall mean by this point in the match. There is a dropkick or some sort of lunging kick Booker T does that does not connect with Bagwell, but the force of the wind from it knocks Bagwell down.
Between Nick Patrick’s polo shirt and Buff Bagwell’s wrestling, things get ugly fast as the fans turn on this match. Poor Booker T. At least he went on to have a successful career in WWE after this debacle. My god I haven’t watched a match where a crowd turned on it this badly since… well a few days ago at the Royal Rumble. This is just really uncomfortable!
Fun fact: Buff Bagwell once claimed soldiers in war would hang Buff’s 8×10’s on their walls and touch it before battle. He seriously said that. Look it up.
The crowd reactions are something special. Everyone seems angry and there’s an undercurrent of boos that you don’t usually hear outside of WWE’s most recent PPV. The guys… I mean, I would say that they do their best, but I’m not sure if anything Buff Bagwell does in 2001 can be qualified as his ‘best’. They fall over a little, WRESTLING HAPPENS and it’s really not very good!
Buff does a little dancing, which sparks the crowd into a ‘boring’ chant (I think – there’s so much unhappy noise that it’s difficult to really make out what they’re saying). Scott Hudson tells us that we’re seeing “the best that WCW has to offer”, which is an unfortunate thing to say.
Part 3: NEVER AGAIN
This horrendous bout of boredom was spiced up with a run-in from Austin and Kurt Angle. They are on Bagwell’s side because they share a not-so-known-about love of salt water taffy. They are in a club and everything. That’s all I can divulge about this insider information at this time.
They continue to beat up Booker T. Austin makes this whole thing feel racist. Is this racist? I’m just going to bet that this is racist. The match goes away. They literally all just kind of walk back to the back and it is over. I’m done.
Kurt Angle and Steve Austin attack Booker ending the match in a no contest. Buff helps them in attacking his fellow WCW roster member. It’s all really weird and confusing.
Austin is the bad guy for beating up Booker T here but later in the month, he was the bad guy again this time for helping Booker T and WCW. I’ve been dumbed down by the PG Era that I can’t understand early ’00s wrestling. Help!!! Forget the Attitude Era; bring back the Invasion Era!
Austin and Angle burst out from the back and now the crowd are happy! The two of them help Buff work over Booker, and while Double A rambles on about prison and Scott Hudson demands to know “WHAT TYPE OF ALLEGIANCE IS THERE BETWEEN KURT ANGLE, STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN THE WWF CHAMPION AND BUFF BAGWELL?” Sadly, this question would never be answered.
They brawl to the top of the ramp and to the back, we get a tantalising shot of Vince creeping on Torrie Wilson and WE’RE OUTTA TIME FOLKS, TUNE INTO WCW NEVER AGAIN.