8 Things WWE Fans Forgot About The NWA “Invasion” Storyline

8 Things WWE Fans Forgot About The NWA “Invasion” Storyline: Was Written To Build Up Jeff Jarrett, Jim Cornette Was Tasked With Getting The NWA World Title On Jarrett, The New Midnight Express and more

In 1984, less than a year after purchasing WWE from his father, Vince McMahon Sr, Vince McMahon Jr officially severed his connection with the National Wrestling Alliance, as Vince Jr planned to take his territory nationally, changing the face of the WWE. professional wrestling forever. While we all know what WWE became, a behemoth that transcended wrestling and became one of the biggest entertainment brands in the world, the NWA wasn’t fair either. In 1993, WCW officially left the NWA, and a year later Eastern Championship Wrestling also left when Shane Douglas threw the NWA World Title in the trash, launching Extreme Championship Wrestling.

In 1998, the NWA was a forgotten entity with no television contract and the lowest membership in the history of the organization, a far cry from the classic Flair Vs Rhodes matches in front of full houses, so when they learned WWE wanted to feature them on an angle that seized the opportunity.

Here are 8 things about the NWA Invasion that fans need to know.

8 Things WWE Fans Forgot About The NWA

Brawl For All Was Its Final Nail In The Coffin

One of the worst concepts ever devised in the professional wrestling world, the Brawl For All was set up as a shoot fight tournament, pitting wrestles in a real fight, with no storyline, no characters, just 2 men one on one and a confusing set of rules. The 1st round saw the new Midnights set to fight each other, Jim Cornette upon hearing this quit as an onscreen manager for the 2, knowing once Bob Holly and eventual winner Bart Gunn fought, the already failed New Midnight Express, and the entire NWA storyline was beyond redemption.

Dan Severn Becomes NWA World Heavyweight Champion

As the reigning NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Severn joined the NWA alliance, making his debut by helping the new Midnight Express beat the Headbangers to win their tag titles before embarking on a singles run, with Cornette as both manager and guest commentator during his matches. Severn would walk to the ring with not only the NWA title but also various MMA belts, Cornette on commentary putting over just how legitimate a fighter Severn was. Severn’s time with the NWA Alliance was fleeting, soon leaving the group to go on a singles run. Barry Windham quietly left the company, leaving only Cornette and the new Midnights.

Jim Cornette Was Tasked With Getting The NWA World Title On Jarrett

Due to Jim Cornette’s long time association with the NWA, Vince McMahon tasked Cornette to try to set something up to get the NWA World Title on Jarrett. Cornette contacted NWA president, Howard Brody, who agreed to loan WWE their US Title as opposed to the world due to the short notice and commitments of the champion. On the January 5th, 1998 edition of Monday Night Raw, Jim Cornette introduced Howard Brody and NWA board member Dennis Coralluzzo, who announced Jeff Jarrett would face NWA legend Barry Windham for the vacant North American Title.

Jim Cornette Had An Alliance With The Rock And Roll

Jeff Jarrett beat Barry Windham after Cornette hit Windham with his trusty tennis racket behind the referee’s back, officially aligning himself with Double J. Two weeks later, tag team legends and newly minted NWA Tag Team Champions, The Rock And Roll Express, Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton joined with long time rival Cornette. In a match against Bradshaw with Windham in his corner, Jeff Jarrett retained the North American title, with Windham turning on Bradshaw after the match, joining the NWA stable.

Led To Dan Severn’s Debut In The WWE

“The Beast” Brock Lesnar was not the 1st MMA “Beast” in WWE, that honor belonged to Dan Severn. Dan Severn is one of, if not the most decorated fighters in American combat sports, be it amateur wrestling, winning 13 different championships 12 years, martial arts, in which he holds two black belts in judo and jujitsu, as well as being an International Sambo Master. In the UFC he was the 1st fighter to win a belt, and the only UFC triple crown winner, from the days when the UFC shows were a tournament format.

The New Midnight Express

The Midnight Express and Rock And Roll Express have arguably the greatest tag team rivalry in professional wrestling, spanning almost a decade across multiple promotions, so having the Midnight wrestlers come in was a natural fit. Unfortunately, Beautiful Bobby Eaton was contracted with WCW and Sweet Stan Lane was retired, so instead, we got the “New” Midnight Express, Bodacious Bart (Bart Gunn) and Bombastic Bob (Bob Holly), with the only connection to the original Midnight Express being Jim Cornette managed them. The new Midnights beat the Headbangers for the NWA tag team titles and feuded with the Rock and Roll Express, defending their belts successfully through nefarious means.

The NWA Alliance Went Through Roster Changes

In March of 1998, Jeff Jarrett left the group on good terms, vacating the North American title, gifting it to Barry Windham, only for the NWA to strip Windham of the belt 24 hours later. The Rock and Roll Express, after failing to regain the tag titles from the Headbangers were kicked out of the NWA alliance, as Cornette debuted their replacement, Bodacious Bart and Bombastic Bob, the new Midnight Express.

Was Written To Build Up Jeff Jarrett

The entire NWA angle was conceived as a story for Jeff Jarrett upon his return to WWE from WCW in late 1997, with the original idea being they wanted to put the NWA World Title on Jarrett. This made sense due to the Jarretts’ history with the NWA, Jeff’s father, Jerry Jarrett, co-promoted Memphis Wrestling and spent time on the NWA championship committee. As a result of the personal history, this made good business sense, especially to the southern US markets that were very much WCW strongholds.

8 Things WWE Fans Forgot About The NWA “Invasion” Storyline

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