Thursday, July 19, 2012

Raw Memories: #5 May God Have Mercy on Our WWF Souls!

Raw Memory #5:
Shane & Stephanie take over
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I know it's easy to criticize the way Vince McMahon and company booked the WCW and ECW "invasion" angles.  I've talked about it before.  But one of the most memorable nights during that time period came in July 2001.

Shane McMahon was the "owner" of WCW at the time.  During the course of the show, Kane and Chris Jericho were in a match against Lance Storm and Mike Awesome when the WWF stars were attacked by ECW notables Rob Van Dam and Tommy Dreamer.  WWF guys like Taz, the Dudleys, and Raven came down to make the save, but it was a set up. Paul Heyman left the commentary desk to announce that ECW was back and several former members of the roster hit the ring.

Now through the night, fans were lead to believe that ECW was there to fight both WCW and WWF.  Even though the WWF guys didn't get along with WCW stars, the two teams attempted to put their differences aside and unit.  It worked briefly.  But eventually things came to a head again and when Shane explained to Vince that ECW had a new owner, Vince nearly lost it.  You see, more of his flesh and blood was out to get him.  Stephanie McMahon sauntered past daddy and joined the WCW and ECW guys and gals in the ring forming the Alliance.

Jim Ross was solo on commentary for the match and most of the night.  His colleague, Heyman, was busy with the storyline in the ring.  This was the time when Jerry Lawler was away from the WWE.  So the emotion that JR puts into the announcing comes through and helps illustrate the dire straights that the WWF was facing.  The show ends with him uttering the famous phrase "May God have mercy on our WWF souls!"  I don't know why but that quote has stuck with me and really punctuated the helplessness JR and the other WWF stars were feeling at the time.  For a period of time it felt like WCW and ECW might actually get one up on Vince and company.  Unfortunately that quote and JR's telling of the story is one of the few highlights of the whole "invasion" angle in my view.

Honorable Mention:
Edge says goodbye
Honorable Mention: The end to one of the greatest careers in the history of the WWE came on April 11, 2011 when the Rated R Superstar said goodbye to wrestling.  Edge's retirement wasn't a total surprise to me, as I figured he'd start winding down his career.  I think what shocked me was how quickly it was over.  Literally, eight days prior he was defending the world heavyweight title (successfully too) against Alberto Del Rio.  As far as I can remember I think Edge is the first reigning World heavyweight champion to retire.

Edge gave an emotional and honest account of why he was hanging up the boots.  It's something that I respect.  I enjoyed the Edge character, especially when he was a heel and teaming with Christian.  But he was one of those guys who fans really got to see grow and evolve into one of the company's all time greats.

It was bitter sweet seeing him go.  He's a great performer on one hand, but on the other Edge's retirement opened the door for others waiting for a chance in the spotlight.  I think it's fair to say that in 2011 CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Mark Henry climbed up the food chain in the WWE hierarchy.  Plus Christian finally got (a brief) run as the world champion.

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