On This Day: July 2, 2001 – Booker T vs. Buff Bagwell On Raw

On This Day, July 2, 2001, WWE presented the first WCW match since the company’s cancellation. In the main event, Booker T defeated Buff Bagwell via disqualification to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. This match would go down as one of the worst in wrestling history. WWE even wrote an article back in 2013 calling it “The most awkward match ever.” Join us today to recap this… interesting contest.

To call what was supposed to be the relaunch of WCW a disaster would be greatly underselling it. The match just seemed to be the wrong choice at the wrong time. Then, in many fans’ eyes, it was still WWE vs. WCW. That’s how producers were trying to portray it. WWE officials were attempting to see if any of the WCW performers were better than their own. But for the crowd, it didn’t matter. The individuals that they had been jeering for years were now performing on there lawn – and like an old man whose heart froze years ago – this crowd was not happy.

The match itself seemed clunky. There was very little flow to get it lifted off the ground. Booker T is in the WWE Hall of Fame for a reason, and it shows as he tries to carry the performance. He would later say in multiple interviews that he knew Bagwell wasn’t ready for the moment. Buff didn’t seem conditioned physically or mentally. The spotlight was on him brighter than ever before. As soon as the match began, the capacity crowd in Washington State’s Tacoma Dome completely lost interest. After a few minutes of exchanges and the crowd chanting “boring”, Booker T hit his signature “Axe Kick.” The crowd finally erupted when “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Kurt Angle came out to attack Booker T. The show closed with Angle, Austin, and Buff destroying Booker Backstage. Then, Buff gets the same treatment, as the WWE talent turned on him and throw him out of the building.

This match was supposed to the beginning of something bigger for the WCW brand in WWE. The plan was to have a third show based around the former company. Kind of like what we would see with ECW years later. They certainly tried to sell WCW to the fans. Producers put their logo at the corner of the screen. The arena was filled with their emblem, and they even replaced the commentary team. However, it just wasn’t enough to get to the next level.

For years fans dreamed of matches featuring Goldberg, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Sting. We wanted to see the best against the best. Instead, we got Buff Bagwell. Yikes. That’s why it was the beginning of the end for WWE’s WCW On This Day.

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