On This Day: July 22, 2001 – The Invasion Angle Begins

WWE presented Invasion from the Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. 17,964 were in attendance, with a staggering 775,000 homes purchasing the event on PPV. The 775,000 home buys, more than some Wrestlemania events, is the most for any non-Wrestlemania event in company history, and with the launch of WWE Network back in 2014, the mark will likely never be broken.

The majority of the show had WWE superstars taking on a conglomerate of ECW and WCW superstars known at the time as the Coalition (later known as the Alliance), main-evented by “The Inaugural Brawl,” a ten-man tag team match between the two squads. Booker T, Diamond Dallas Page, Rhyno, and The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) defeated Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, and Kane in the match.

The match began with Team WWE having the advantage as Austin dominated Rhyno. As the brawl continued, Team WCW/ECW gained the advantage after Page performed a hangman to The Undertaker. Each team would trade their best moves back and forth. There were wrestlers inside and outside of the ring. At one point, Kane choke-slammed D-von through the announce table, and Bubba and Rhyno then put Kane through another.

Eventually, the referee was knocked out, and everyone decided to get involved including, Shane and Vince! As the match began to come to a close, Vince tried to toss the championship belt to Kurt Angle, but Shane intercepted it and decided to use it on his dad. But he couldn’t hit Kurt. Angle cleared the ring and applied the Ankle Lock on Booker T. But out of nowhere, Steve Austin appeared again and threw the referee back in the ring. Austin turned on Team WWF by performing a Stone Cold Stunner to Angle. Booker then pinned Angle to win the match for Team WCW/ECW. After the match, Austin celebrated with Shane, Stephanie, and Heyman.

The Invasion storyline didn’t turn out as we all hoped. But it did start with a bang. As we saw some legendary superstars with roots in all three major companies battle it out On This Day, July 22, 2001.

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