Chuck Palumbo has given his thoughts on the infamous Buff Bagwell vs. Booker T match that took place on Raw as WCW stars began their invasion of the World Wrestling Federation after Vince McMahon bought his competition in 2001.
As the story has oft been told, the original idea when McMahon purchased WCW was to run WCW as its own brand with its own presentation. That was seemingly until WCW hosted its own WCW World Title match on Raw with Booker T defending his championship against Buff Bagwell.
Many have since attributed this match to changing McMahon’s mind on the whole planned story. One of the men that was part of that WCW roster that came to the WWF in 2001 was Chuck Palumbo. Palumbo along with Sean O’Haire were the last men to hold the WCW Tag Team Title in that company and brought the belts with them.
Speaking exclusively to Inside The Ropes’ Kenny McIntosh, Palumbo doesn’t necessarily agree that it was just the match between Booker and Buff that changed everything.
“I was there. I watched the match. Do I remember the match? No. I mean, let’s think about it, was the match really that bad, all in all? So was it really about that match? Or was it more about maybe some political issues with certain talents behind the scenes?”
“Bagwell… I don’t use wrestling terms often, but I’ll use it here. At the time, he had some, what we call “heat” – certain people didn’t like him. He was known to be a little over the top backstage and stuff like that. Was there maybe a little heat? Yeah. Was it maybe that there was an issue with some of the established WWF talent that was already there? Did he get buried to a point? You’ve got to think about it.”
“At the end of the day, was the match that bad? And if it was, was that the right way to go about it? This is wrestling, we can make it whatever we want. So there was stories, and I don’t get into these stories too often, but I did hear rumblings of, you know, he had heat because his mom was somehow involved backstage with some personal things. Who cares how he was?”
Chuck Palumbo then concluded by referencing some of Bagwell’s more recent issues and says despite the reputation he earned following his stint in WWF, ‘Buff The Stuff’ was a draw in WCW and he could’ve been for McMahon.
“Bagwell, you know, we’re not close or anything like that, but we always got along. I know he’s having some struggles now, he’s trying to deal with some stuff I get that. That’s unfortunate and I hope he works through that. As a person, don’t worry about who he is. The guy was over in WCW. He was over! Say what you want to say about him, he drew money, so they could have done that in WWF. I think politics became an issue. That’s what I think it came down to.”