Jim Ross has recalled the reason why Buff Bagwell was not long for WWE’s world when the five-time WCW Tag Team Champion joined the company as part of the Invasion.
In 2001 Vince McMahon bought his competition and ended the ‘Monday Night Wars’ once and for all when he purchased World Championship Wrestling. With that deal, McMahon also brought in a host of WCW talent to be part of WWE. One of the higher-profile names that made the jump to McMahon’s company was Buff Bagwell who had also competed at one time under his real name of Marcus Alexander Bagwell.
One of the rumoured plans at the time was for WCW to exist as its own brand under the WWE umbrella. With its own show, own referees, own announcers, and its own stars, WCW could continue in some form but those plans soon changed. Booker T defended his WCW Championship against Buff Bagwell on Raw with Arn Anderson and Scott Hudson announcing. It was allegedly after this match went so poorly that the plans for WCW were scrapped.
Buff Bagwell was not destined to last much longer in the company either as Jim Ross detailed on his Grilling JR podcast [first available early and ad-free at AdFreeShows.com]. In discussion with co-host Conrad Thompson, Ross discussed why he was given the order to let Bagwell go.
“Buff had a higher opinion of his work than Vince did. And you know I become the bad guy because I become the middle man that delivers the bad news or the good news at times. But I don’t hold any animosity to this day on Marc Bagwell whatsoever. I saw where he had a car wreck, I think it was involving drinking maybe. He just wasn’t a good fit Conrad and that partying lifestyle. We are trying to distance ourselves from that if we could. And again Vince didn’t see the money in Marc that Marc saw in himself. So I can only deal with the hand that’s dealt me when I’m told this kid’s not going to get it, I want you to let him go.”
It has since become wrestling folklore that Bagwell was released in part due to his mother Judy Bagwell phoning in sick for her son. According to Jim Ross, Bagwell’s release had nothing to do with the former WCW World Tag Team Champion – Judy.
Jim Ross continued:
“So when we were in Atlanta, we went to a little room there. I remember vividly I didn’t enjoy doing it. How can you be a human being and enjoy telling somebody that they’re done? I’m not that person. I felt for him and I felt bad for him. It didn’t have a lot to do with Judy, but goddamn that’s really good dirt. So Judy this… But Judy had little to do with that. Marc’s own personal habits and the way he conducted himself were what led to the air going out of his sails. But if he had a better attitude then at that young age at that point in time, we are talking 20 years ago. He would have had a shot to get playing time. But he wasn’t given that opportunity. It seemed like partying was a little bit more important to him than being a professional.”
Jim Ross also recently gave his thoughts on the New World Order in WWE and why the group never hit the same heady heights as they did on their first go-around in WCW.