Jim Ross has recalled a nixed idea that would have seen him face off against Paul Heyman at WWF Invasion in 2001.
Following WWE’s acquisition of WCW, original plans in early 2001 centred around the creation of a separate WCW brand. This would have seen a WCW show run alongside WWE’s regular programming as a standalone show. However, for a multitude of reasons, by the time that WWE arrived at Invasion in July, this scenario appeared less and less likely.
Heading into Invasion, WCW and ECW had joined forces to form The Alliance, an entity headed by Shane and Stephanie McMahon and Paul Heyman. The storyline aim of the group was to put WWE out of business. At Invasion, ECW and WCW Superstars took on their WWE counterparts in a battle for wrestling supremacy. The event culminated in the ‘Inaugural Brawl’ between to the two warring factions.
JR liked a potential match between the two as like watching two cows on ice, adding that if an angle had started between the pair, no one knew how to end it.
“Paul always had ideas but putting two cows on ice doesn’t mean it’s going to be ballet,” Ross said. “Here’s what happens there, eventually I was involved in a lot of matches, none that I wanted to be in but the minute by minute ratings killed me. It was like watching Nascar, I don’t think they were watching to see me win or have this technical expertise, they were watching for a train wreck, car wreck. If Heyman and I shoot this angle, how do we blow it off? It seemed to me if I recall correctly nobody had the idea of how we were going to blow it off. How do we pay it off or are we just going to half ass this thing? I wasn’t really interested. I worked with a lot of guys that can work including Eric, [Bischoff] because I remember him hitting me in the head with a cinder block.”
Ross explained that if Vince McMahon would have wanted him to go through with the plan he would have done. Although things never got that far, as the WWE Chairman wasn’t in favour of the pitch.
“So it’s not that I wouldn’t do business, it’s just where do you go with it? What are we doing here? Are we going to help get Paul over? I’m not looking to wrestle. I don’t remember a lot of details with that conversation other than ‘Vince, I don’t know why we’re doing that. I’ll do whatever you want.’ And I would’ve done it. It’s not that JR nixed it and I have veto power over creative. We all know that’s not true. If Vince had wanted that match or angle to be shot, we would’ve shot it but he was like me in the sense of where do we go with this thing? What does it lead to? I don’t know what that answer is. It wouldn’t have been a Funk Briscoe classic, Heyman and JR. Good god almighty, can you even imagine that? Would’ve been hideous.”
One name noticeably absent from the invasion was former WCW President Eric Bischoff. Although Bischoff would join WWE in 2002, he turned down the company’s advances the year prior. Reflecting on Bischoff side-stepping the invasion, Ross said that the Hall of Famer made the right call.
JR noted that WWE didn’t have a great plan in place and seeing this, Bischoff decided to sit the angle out.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.