Executive Editor Michael Melchor debuts a new column covering the things he’s loved about pro wrestling, beginning with invasion stories.
By Michael Melchor, Executive Editor
There is plenty to dislike about pro wrestling right now. And I damn-near wrote about it this week, when I realized:
I didn’t want to sink into the same mud of complaining, griping and trying to read Vince McMahon’s mind that many others are playing in right now. Not when there are many other things going on in wrestling that I actually enjoy right now.
So I decided to take that into overdrive with a recurring piece about my favorite things in wrestling. Ever.
Please note that I say my favorite and not the best. The “Top 5 Whatever Ever” lists are subjective and open to debate. The difference here is, this is only my opinion on my favorites. Your mileage may vary, card subject to change, you know how this works.
I decided to start by expanding on a recent discussion I had with our Editor-In-Chief and my partner-in-crime, Ryan K Boman. I’d been thinking about “invasion” stories and which ones I thought were the most satisfying. I have to go back on my word for a minute, though, because we’re starting out with my least favorite and working our way up to goodness:
The WCW (+ ECW) Invasion of the WWF
There’s all sorts of reasons why the WCW (+ ECW) invasion of the WWF failed miserably. Do we really have to discuss them here? I didn’t think so, either. Especially not when the graphic from the final meeting between the warring factions above pretty much tells the story for me.
Now, on to our Honorable Mentions:
The stories of ICW vs CWA, UWF vs NJPW and ECW vs USWA were all groundbreaking stories involving warring companies for different reasons. The only reason they didn’t crack the Fave Five list is because I’ve only seen bits and pieces and haven’t been able to experience them in full. With the right collections, this list could certainly change. But for now, Fave Five list of Invasion Stories stands as follows:
05. The Bullet Club
Whether the “Bullet Club” technically counts as an “invasion” can be debated, but not the brilliant idea of an all-gaijin stable in a company that prides itself on tradition and honor like New Japan Pro Wrestling. Finn Balor (the former Prince Devitt) let his frustration boil to the point that he’d persuaded others – Bad Luck Fale, Karl Anderson and Tama Tonga – to take what they felt was theirs. The result was an excitement that swallowed New Japan and led to another resurgence of the company.
We all know how the Club exploded from there. So much so that several members outgrew taking over a promotion and formed one of their own. In many respects, though, the Club still goes on as what could be considered a shell of its former self – much like the next item up for bids…
04. The nWo
Similar to the WCW (+ ECW) invasion of the WWF, not much has to be said about the impact the nWo had on all of wrestling. The most famous invasion story to this day began in earnest with a shocking betrayal by one of the most beloved heroes in the sport. From there, the New World Order gave World Championship Wrestling hell for a number of years in its bid to take over Ted Turner’s baby.
So why does the nWo rank this low? A couple reasons. As heralded as the overall storyline and initial execution, the opposite could be said of what was supposed to have been the final encounter in the war – the match between Sting and “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan. But it didn’t end there. Soon, even the invading faction had an invading faction (one that Sting himself joined). There then was nWo 2000. Again, all things that speak for themselves.
#NIXON was a rag-tag group of journeyman who had given their all to wrestling – in particular, Absolute Intense Wrestling – only to see the powerbrokers overlook them in favor of “bigger stars.” Rather than just continue to play the game, Chris Dickinson, Rickey Shane Page, Eric Ryan, and Bobby Beverly took it upon themselves to turn AIW upside down in their bid to seize their own power.
The story of #NIXON was brief but violent. As Dickinson left AIW and “The Duke” took his place early on, the chaos of independent wrestling would take its toll on the story early on. The conviction of the performers involved and the intensity of the battles they had with the AIW faithful such as Tim Donst, Eddie Kingston, BJ Whitmer and Colin Delany earns this story its high marks.
02. CZW vs. RoH
It was the perfect clash of companies with opposing philosophies. The spirit of competition represented by Ring of Honor versus the wanton violence of Combat Zone Wrestling. Legends such as Jim Cornette and modern superstars on their way up such as Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe, Cesaro and Kassius Ohno played key roles in a well mapped-out battle.
Popular thinking would dictate that politics had to have affected the outcome. That there would be no clear winner of this battle. Yet, at RIng of Honor “Death before Dishonor IV,” Team ROH (Ace Steel, Adam Pearce, BJ Whitmer, Bryan Danielson, Homicide & Samoa Joe w/ JJ Dillon) met Team CZW (Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, Eddie Kingston, Nate Webb & Necro Butcher) in CZW’s signature “Cage of Death” – and beat them, signifying the end of a complete, satisfying invasion story.
01. The BDK
An invasion that had been planned for eighteen months came to a head on November 22, 2009 at CHIKARA’s “Three Fisted Tales.” It was at the end of that event that – even though the powers-that-be at CHIKARA would hate me using this language – all hell broke loose.
What are some of your favorite invasion stories? Got any ideas for future “Fave Five” lists? Let us know on social media: