It’s one of the most important, and industry-impactful moments in the history of professional wrestling when Vince McMahon’s WWE purchased Ted Turner’s WCW signaling the end of the Monday Night Wars back in 2001.
Former WCW, and later WWE, superstar Buff Bagwell talked about how the WCW roster didn’t really have a heads up about the purchase.
“We all pulled up [to Nitro], and we all saw the WWF trucks together, and we all looked at each other and went, that’s not good” Bagwell said in an interview with CBS Sports.
“We were seeing people crying and taking pictures with Ric and the belt. We knew it was bad, but we just didn’t know how bad. Then Shane [McMahon] calls a meeting in five minutes. In five minutes of us trying to find out what was going on, Shane had a meeting, and he comes walking in with the entire company inside this room. It was about 45 seconds long tops. He said, ‘Hey, my name’s Shane McMahon. I own the company. My dad bought the company today, so we now own the WCW. We’re going to keep some wrestlers. We’re going to get rid of some wrestlers. We’re going to keep some referees. We’re going to get rid of some referees. We’re going to keep some office talent, and we’re going to fire some office talents. Good luck. See you later.’ That was it.”
Bagwell also discussed his abrupt release from WWE shortly after.
“It couldn’t have been the match, because I’ve wrestled Booker a thousand times and never missed a step until that night. That’s out. If my mom called or not, once again I know she didn’t, but let’s say she did, it’s not worth getting fired over. I think Buff Bagwell deserves, ‘Tell your mother not to ring our phone no more.’ Give him a warning. I basically ended up getting released for … I don’t know. I raised my hand to find out why I was getting fired. They called it released. I said, ‘Well, what do I do with a release?’ And they said it means they could bring me back in three months. I knew that was (garbage), but I still told myself, ‘I’m going to shake hands, smile and get out of the room before you start crying.’ I waited three months and almost four months just to show I wasn’t bothering them. I called up Jim Ross, and he goes … I swear to God, he went, ‘What do you want, Marc?’ I went from Buff Bagwell to, ‘What do you want, Marc?’ I said, ‘Jim, let me totally clear the air here. You guys asked me to call you back in three months. I waited three months and three weeks, almost four months, and did what y’all told me to do.’ I was scared I’d get heat for that, but I said ‘I did what you asked me to do.’ Then he said, ‘We have no openings. We’ll call you if we do.’ Click.”
Bagwell was also asked if he had patched things up with Jim Ross.
“No, and there’s way unless he says, ‘I lied, I don’t like you, and I was passing the truth along.’ And I will thank him for telling the truth, and then he’s off the hook. But for him to defend himself and say he likes me after having dogged me out and viciously calling me a mama’s boy and that I can’t wrestle… I don’t think it’s fixable. I just don’t.”