Jeff Jarrett Looks Back On Booker T vs. Buff Bagwell Match That Killed WWE’s WCW Revival Plans

(Photo Credit: WWE)

WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett, who is also All Elite Wrestling’s Director of Business Development, appeared on an episode of the Battleground podcast, where he talked about a number of topics including WWE booking Booker T vs. Buff Bagwell in the main event of RAW in July 2001 in Tacoma, WA that resulted in the company’s plans for Nitro replacing Raw on Monday nights and Raw replacing SmackDown on Thursday nights to end.

Jarrett said, “How they could ever think that any WCW talent was going to be remotely received in a babyface role under any circumstances? That was one question. And then the other was — I get it, budgets and everything, but none of the top guys came over. And I know Booker was champion, but he was on the rise, nothing like he is today or that he became through this run. But Booker, I believe, was the top guy. And obviously it worked out great for him. But no Hall, no Nash, no Goldberg, no Hogan, no Savage. All the, kind of the top talent that turned the tide, if you will, in the promotional war were part of it. So the WWE Universe as I’ll call them, of course they were going to reject all of it.”

On WWE holding the match in Tacoma instead of Atlanta:

“The layer upon layer of this, like you said, Atlanta coming up — it doesn’t make sense. I’ll say this: this was a pretty big botch, would you not say?”

On watching the match and the differences in the styles between WWE and WCW:

“Yeah, I watched it live… understanding how to work in the WWF style, I knew without question that Buff did not know how to work that style, because I’d worked with him at WCW. You know, watched him, worked with him multiple times. It’s not the same. It’s just — you’re playing ball different. You know, it’s — on defense in basketball, you play a zone and a man-to-man; ‘Oh, you’re both playing defense.’ No, the rules are different. I don’t know if I’ve given better analogies, but it’s just a different mindset. And Booker hadn’t been there, neither one of them was there.”

“I kind of remember — well, I don’t ‘kinda.’ I vividly remember thinking, ‘Are they going to work WCW-style? If they do, they’re cooked. They are cooked out of the gate’… The timing, the pacing. The heat’s different, the cadence is different. And this may be inside baseball, and it may not always be apples to apples. There may be, ‘Oh well they do that in both companies.’ And I would say, ‘Yes, you’re right.’ But if you know you know, and if you don’t you don’t. I hate to say its that simple. But there is a — without question, there is a difference in when the comeback is blown, and the progression of false finishes. There’s a definite WWF style. Much more storytelling, and pauses and, ‘Let this sink in.’ Gotta let things breath and let some drama build. The simple fact of, when it’s time to go home before the comeback, and you do some type of a double down, both guys kind of gotta lay still and bring the people into your emotion, as opposed to going right into the comeback. Little nuances, Conrad, little nuances.”

You can check out the complete podcast in the video below.

(H/T to for transcribing the above quotes)