Raw is WCW: The most awkward match ever

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July 03, 2013

In one corner, an eventual WWE Hall of Famer, multi-time World Champion and one of the most dynamic stars in wrestling at the time. In the other, a 10-year veteran of the ring with a stellar physique and tremendous promise to perform consistently in main events. At stake was the WCW Championship, one of the richest prizes in the history of the medium, which, for the first time, was being defended on WWE programming. It seems historic, and it certainly still is, but perhaps not in the way it was originally intended.

View rare photos of WCW matches on WWE programming in July 2001

“That match stands out for all the wrong reasons,” Jim Ross told WWEClassics.com. “It was abnormally bad and seemingly ill-timed.”

There are a number of theories as to what went wrong on the night WCW took over Raw and Booker T faced Buff Bagwell in the main event, but one fact remains clear — it was a tremendous mistake.

“I knew that Buff wasn’t prepared for that stage,” Booker T said. “But I still had a job to do and that was to represent WCW.”

Visit Booker T's WWE Hall of Fame profile

Three months prior, the Monday Night War had come to an end when WWE purchased World Championship Wrestling. In the ensuing weeks, the stars of WCW, including Lance StormDiamond Dallas Page and Mike Awesome, began to appear on WWE television. On the July 2, 2001, edition of Raw, Shane McMahon announced that – for the first time ever – the main event of the evening would belong to WCW.

“That night was a test to see if WCW guys were better than WWE guys,” Booker said. “It was WCW versus WWE. That’s what that night was really all about, first and foremost.”

When it came time for the show’s final match to take place, WCW’s bright crimson logo sat at the bottom corner of the television screen and emblazoned the TitanTron and surrounding monitors, the ring skirt was replaced with a WCW-branded version, a WCW referee became the on-duty official, WCW's Stacy Keibler became the ring announcer and a WCW commentary team – Arn Anderson and Scott Hudson – took J.R. and Paul Heyman’s spot at ringside. Ross knew it wasn’t the best idea.

“I have a lot of respect for Scott Hudson, but he was a part-time guy,” J.R. said. “Arn was not an experienced broadcaster. He was one of the most talented guys ever in the business in a variety of ways, but he’d be the first to tell you that broadcasting was not one of them.”

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