The Alliance (professional wrestling)
The WCW logo used as an identifier for The Alliance; this logo was introduced before the Alliance was formed and was to be WCW's regular logo if it had a weekly program.
|Disbanded||November 18, 2001|
The Alliance, also known as Team WCW/ECW, was a professional wrestling stable in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) that lasted from July to November 2001. The stable came about as a result of the World Wrestling Federation's purchase of World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in March 2001. The Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) name was brought in later to help boost the presence of WCW after the original promotion closed in April 2001. Today, only certain members of The Alliance remains under their respective WWE contracts in various roles such as backstage staff (Billy Kidman and Arn Anderson), referees (Charles Robinson), and on-air performers (Paul Heyman, Booker T, Christian, Rob Van Dam, William Regal, and Stephanie McMahon).
The original plan was for the WWF-owned WCW to be a babyface group, led by Shane McMahon (who was the owner of WCW in the angle) to go against the heel owner of the World Wrestling Federation Vince McMahon. During May and June 2001, wrestlers identified as being "under contract to WCW" (such as Lance Storm and Hugh Morrus) "invaded" World Wrestling Federation programming, by making several run-ins. The ultimate goal, reportedly, was for WCW to "take over" one of the WWF's two primary programs, either Raw or SmackDown!, and rebrand it as its own separate entity. To test the waters for this, the final twenty minutes of the July 2 Raw telecast was given over to WCW, which brought in its own commentators (Scott Hudson and Arn Anderson), ring announcer (Stacy Keibler), referee (Nick Patrick), ring apron, and Chyron graphics, to present a match between Booker T and Buff Bagwell for Booker's WCW Championship (which he had won on the final episode of WCW Monday Nitro). This continued on SmackDown!, where Gregory Helms lost the WCW Cruiserweight Championship against Billy Kidman and Booker defended the WCW Championship against Diamond Dallas Page.
The Booker/Bagwell title match, however, was very poorly received both by television viewers and the live crowd in the arena, with the two other WCW matches receiving a similar reaction. The decision was thus made to make WCW a heel group who was out to destroy the WWF. On July 9 on Raw, when then-face WCW owner Shane was scheduled to face Page in a street fight, the two instead attacked The Undertaker, turning Shane heel (Page had already debuted in WWF as a heel, as part of a stalker angle with Undertaker and his wife).
Later that night, during a tag team match pitting Chris Jericho and Kane against WCW's Lance Storm and Mike Awesome, former Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) stars Rob Van Dam and Tommy Dreamer interfered and attacked Jericho and Kane. Justin Credible, Raven, Tazz, Rhyno, and the Dudley Boyz (all ECW Alumni) came to the ring shortly thereafter and joined Van Dam and Dreamer in attacking Jericho and Kane, and Raw color commentator Paul Heyman announced that together, he was forming an ECW team to take on the feuding WWF and WCW factions.
Later that evening, Vince and Shane agreed to join forces to take out ECW once and for all in a twenty-man brawl Team WWF "Hardcore Holly, Big Show, APA, and Billy Gunn" and Team WCW "Chris Kanyon, Chuck Palumbo, Sean O'Haire, Shawn Stasiak, and Mark Jindrak". When WCW and ECW faced off in the ring, however, they instead congratulated each other and attacked the WWF wrestlers. It was revealed that ECW had merged with WCW to form a "supergroup" to more effectively challenge the WWF and that Stephanie McMahon had purchased the defunct company. This combined group was originally referred to as "WECW" on WCW.com and then as "WCW/ECW," but the rights to ECW's assets (including the use of its name on-air by the WWF) were still being debated in bankruptcy court, so the name of the group was shortened to The Coalition and later The Alliance.
At WWF Invasion, Team WCW/ECW (Booker T, Diamond Dallas Page, Rhyno, and The Dudley Boyz) defeated Team WWF (Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Kane, Kurt Angle, and Chris Jericho) in a ten-man tag team match billed as the "Inaugural Brawl". During the match, Austin turned heel and joined the Alliance, helping them score the victory.
Over the next few months, the two sides fought back and forth. Except for a few wrestlers (X-Factor and Christian, for example), every feud was a WWF wrestler(s) versus an Alliance wrestler(s). Ten combined WWF and WCW championships were defended among all the wrestlers in the various feuds. Over time, numerous WWF superstars would defect to the Alliance, including Test, William Regal, Ivory, and Christian. Former ECW and WCW wrestler Steven Richards would belatedly defect to the Alliance, bringing WCW alumni KroniK with him. In return, Chuck Palumbo and Torrie Wilson defected from the Alliance to the WWF. Kurt Angle also defected to the Alliance on the October 29 edition of Raw.
In late October, both sides agreed to end things once and for all. A "Winner Take All" classic Survivor Series elimination match was set for the Survivor Series pay-per-view, with the losing company going out of business forever. In addition, two title unification matches were signed- the WCW World Tag Team Championship and the WWF Tag Team Championship were to be unified in a match between the Dudley Boyz and the Hardy Boyz, while Edge and Test would meet in a match to unify Edge's WCW United States Championship with Test's WWF Intercontinental Championship. Further, 20 WWF and Alliance members would square off in what was called the "Immunity Battle Royal", with the winner of the match keeping his job for one year regardless of whether his side won or not.
In the end, Team WWF (The Rock, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, Kane, and Big Show) defeated Team Alliance (Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, and Shane McMahon) when Angle double-crossed the Alliance by turning on Austin while he was fighting The Rock during the closing stages of the match. The Rock then pinned Austin, thus putting the Alliance out of business. Earlier in the night, The Dudley Boyz defeated the Hardy Boyz to unify the tag team championships while Edge defeated Test to win the Intercontinental Championship. Despite his loss, Test entered the Immunity Battle Royal later that night and won.
With the Alliance's loss, nearly all of their members lost their jobs following the match. Exceptions were made for Stone Cold Steve Austin, the WWF Champion; the Dudley Boyz, who won the Tag Team Championship; Stacy Keibler, the Dudleys' manager; Rob Van Dam, who at the time was the Hardcore Champion; Christian, who at the time was the European Champion; Immunity Battle Royal winner Test; and Alliance commissioner William Regal, who was forced to join the "Mr. McMahon Kiss My Ass Club" to keep his job. Some of them would be hired back over the next few months, with the majority of them returning when the Brand Extension began. The WWF Light Heavyweight Championship, which was held at the time by X-Pac, was quietly retired and replaced with WCW's Cruiserweight Championship.
The next night on Raw, Vince McMahon celebrated his victory by making a slow return to his villain character, aligning himself with the Alliance members that were sticking around. Later that night he resumed his rivalry with Austin, who turned face by attacking Angle and aligning himself with a returning Ric Flair. After being "fired" Shane walked out on his own and congratulated his father for his victory, and spent most of the next eighteen months away from television; he would return to feud with Kane in 2003. Stephanie blamed Shane for everything and was escorted out of the arena by security, but unlike Shane she made a quick return and began appearing again shortly after the return of her then on-screen husband Triple H in January, which led to a three-month-long feud that ended shortly after WrestleMania X8.
One of the more important changes was the removal of the WCW branding from The Rock's now-World Heavyweight Championship. McMahon and Flair decided that, since both world championships had not been unified, that a tournament would be set up at Vengeance in December. WWF Champion Austin was to take on Angle while World Champion The Rock was to take on Jericho, with the winners then facing off to become the first Undisputed WWF Champion. Jericho, who had been feuding with The Rock over the WCW Championship leading into Survivor Series and had actually defeated Rock for it on one occasion, won the title again while Austin defeated Angle to retain his WWF Championship. Jericho, thanks to a returning Booker T, defeated Austin to become the first Undisputed Champion.
As of 2015, only Stephanie McMahon, Heyman, Christian, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, Regal, Kidman, Anderson, and Robinson are still employed by the WWE. Rob Van Dam would then make his return in 2013 Money in the Bank event after his well known success in the ECW brand with Heyman in 2006, while Kidman and Anderson continue to work backstage as well as Regal who would serve as developmental staff for NXT. In addition, Charles Robinson is the only former WCW referee still with the company. Both Brian Adams and Mike Awesome died in 2007, while Test died in 2009 from drug overdose, as well as Chris Kanyon in 2010 and Sean O'Haire in September 2014. Hugh Morrus (going under his real name Bill Demott) left the company in March 2015.
Members of The Alliance
Male and female wrestlers
- Billy Kidman*
- Booker T* (First leader)
- Bubba Ray Dudley†
- Christian† (Did not join until later in the Invasion, mainly to gain leverage over Edge)
- Diamond Dallas Page*
- D-Von Dudley†
- Gregory Helms/Hurricane Helms/The Hurricane*
- Ivory† (Mentor to the women of The Alliance)
- Jazz* (Did not debut until The Alliance's final appearance at Survivor Series)
- Justin Credible*
- Lance Storm* (Began as a member of WCW, defected to ECW on July 9, 2001)
- Mighty Molly† (Joined after betraying Spike Dudley; became sidekick and valet of The Hurricane)
- Mike Awesome* (Began as a member of WCW, defected to ECW on July 9, 2001)
- Mike Sanders (Worked dark matches as a member; part of Team WCW in the HWA)
- Reno (Worked dark matches as a member; part of Team WCW in the HWA)
- Rhyno* (Suspended by Shane McMahon; did not return until after Survivor Series)
- Rob Van Dam**1 (Debuted on July 9, 2001 with Tommy Dreamer)
- Sean O'Haire*
- Shawn Stasiak**
- Stacy Keibler*
- Steven Richards† (An ECW Original, but did not defect to The Alliance until later in the Invasion; he offered the services of WCW's KroniK as revenge against the Brothers of Destruction)
- Steve Austin† (Leader)
- Test† (Joined The Alliance after being attacked by the APA)
- Tommy Dreamer**1 (Debuted on July 9, 2001 with Rob Van Dam)
- William Regal† (Kayfabe Alliance Commissioner)
Other on-air personnel
- Arn Anderson** (WCW color analyst)
- Billy Silverman* (Referee)
- Brian Hebner† (Referee)
- Charles Robinson* (Referee)
- Debra† (Wife and valet of Stone Cold Steve Austin)
- Nick Patrick* (Referee.)
- Paul Heyman**1 (Raw color analyst, ECW Management Representative)
- Scott Hudson* (WCW play-by-play commentator)
- Shane McMahon† (WCW Owner)
- Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley† (ECW Owner)
- Terri† (Mistress and valet of Raven)
- Brian Adams** (Recruited by Steven Richards late in the Invasion to be used against The Undertaker and Kane)
- Bryan Clark** (Recruited by Steven Richards late in the Invasion to be used against The Undertaker and Kane)
- Buff Bagwell* (Released from the WWF on July 9, 2001)
- Chavo Guerrero* (Fired by The Alliance, along with Hugh Morrus)
- Chuck Palumbo* (Defected to the WWF in November, teaming with Billy Gunn, after being fired by The Alliance)
- Hugh Morrus* (Fired by The Alliance, along with Chavo Guerrero)
- Johnny Stamboli (Made only one appearance; part of Team WCW in the HWA)
- Kaz Hayashi (Made only one appearance; left to All Japan Pro Wrestling)
- Kurt Angle† (WWF mole; helped the WWF defeat The Alliance at Survivor Series, also appeared in ECW once in 1996)
- Mark Jindrak* (Appeared until mid-August, before being sent back to developmental; part of Team WCW in the HWA)
- Tazz† (SmackDown! color analyst, defected to the WWF by turning on Paul Heyman)
- Torrie Wilson* (WCW interviewer; defected to the WWF after she started dating Tajiri and began a feud with Stacy Keibler)
* indicates that the performer made their WWF television debut as a member of the Alliance
** indicates that the performer returned to WWF television as a member of the Alliance
† indicates that the performer made their WWF television debut before the formation of the Alliance
1 Tommy Dreamer, Rob Van Dam and Paul Heyman appeared on WWF television in 1997, during an "ECW invasion"
Championships and accomplishments
- WCW Championship (2 times) – Booker T
- WCW Cruiserweight Championship (3 times) – Gregory Helms (1) and Billy Kidman (2)
- WCW Tag Team Championship (3 times) – Chuck Palumbo and Sean O'Haire (1), Booker T and Test (1), and The Dudley Boyz (1)
- WCW United States Championship (3 times) – Booker T (1), Kanyon (1), and Rhyno (1)
- WWF Championship (2 times) – Stone Cold Steve Austin
- WWF European Championship (2 times) – The Hurricane (1) and Christian (1)
- WWF Hardcore Championship (4 times) – Mike Awesome (1) and Rob Van Dam (3)
- WWF Intercontinental Championship (3 times) – Lance Storm (1), Christian (1), and Test (1)
- WWF Tag Team Championship (5 times) – The Dudley Boyz (3), Diamond Dallas Page and Kanyon (1), and Booker T and Test (1)
- "WCW fights dirty and gains momentum".
- Jerry Lawler (2002). It's Good to Be the King...Sometimes (p.372). World Wrestling Entertainment. ISBN 978-0-7434-5768-2.
- Zach Linder (February 18, 2013). "Extreme invasion: ECW takes over Raw in 1997". WWE.com. WWE.
- "Booker T's fourth WCW Championship reign".
- "Booker T's fifth WCW Championship reign".
- "Gregory Helms' first WCW Cruiserweight Championship reign".
- "Billy Kidman's fourth WCW Cruiserweight Championship reign".
- "Billy Kidman's fifth WCW Cruiserweight Championship reign".
- "WCW World Tag Team Championship history".
- "Booker T's first WCW United States Championship reign".
- "Kanyon's first WCW United States Championship reign".
- "Rhyno's first WCW United States Championship reign".
- ""Stone Cold" Steve Austin's fifth WWF Championship reign".
- ""Stone Cold" Steve Austin's sixth WWF Championship reign".
- "The Hurricane's first European Championship reign".
- "Christian's first WWF European Championship reign".
- "WWE Hardcore Championship history".
- "Lance Storm's first Intercontinental Championship reign".
- "Christian's first Intercontinental Championship reign".
- "Test's first Intercontinental Championship reign".
- "The Dudley Boyz' fourth World Tag Team Championship reign".
- "The Dudley Boyz' fifth World Tag Team Championship reign".
- "Kanyon and Diamond Dallas Page's first World Tag Team Championship reign".
- "The Dudley Boyz' sixth World Tag Team Championship reign".
- "Booker T and Test's first World Tag Team Championship reign".