When you say the word “Invasion” to a wrestling fan, memories of the infamously disappointing story that should have been great come flooding back, with WCW and ECW looking to take over the WWF. But Wrestling has had a number of Invasions throughout history, with a lot being some of the biggest moments in the sport. As the WWE looks to capture the Invasion magic once again, with Retribution running roughshod on Raw and Smackdown, we take a look back of the best Invasions in wrestling…
Aces & Eights
The Aces and Eights storyline is one of the most popular angles in the history of TNA and created a buzz around the entire company. On June 14th, 2012, Sting was in the ring at the Impact Zone discussing his upcoming induction into the TNA Hall of Fame when he was jumped by three masked men. The Aces and Eights would continue to run roughshod on anyone and everyone on the TNA roster, jumping the likes of Kurt Angle, Hulk Hogan and James Storm.
The first match for the Aces and Eights came at Bound for Glory 2012, with two members of the renegade group defeating Sting and Bully Ray, before Hulk Hogan ran into the ring after to help unveil one of the members as Brother Devon. Throughout 2012 and early 2013, the group would run riot through the Impact Zone, slowly unveiling members such as DOC Gallows, Mike Knox, Tazz, D’Lo Brown and Mr Anderson. In the main event of Lockdown 2013, Bully Ray faced Jeff Hardy in a Steel Cage match for the TNA Heavyweight Championship. As the match wound to an end, Aces and Eights members began to climb the cage, with both competitors looking as if they were going to put their differences aside to take them on.
But Bully Ray turned around and stabbed Hardy in the back to win his first TNA Championship and unveil himself as the leader of the Aces and Eights. The fans were furious, and they started to throw garbage into the ring, a stunning visual for a shocking swerve.
From here the storyline seemed to go downhill. Aces and Eights began to feud with the new Main Event Mafia, with original members Sting and Kurt Angle recruiting Samoa Joe, Manus and Rampage Jackson. However, it was not a Mafia member that would end the reign of Bully, which would have helped the story, but instead Chris Sabin. Despite the dismount being sloppy following an incredible reveal, this was a textbook example of long-term storytelling done right, creating an intriguing plot and helping push Bully Ray to become a legitimate main event talent.
We were set to see a reunion for the Aces and Eights this year, with D’Lo Brown and Mr. Anderson representing the group at TNA: There’s No Place Like Home, but just like everything this year, it was ruined by COVID-19 pandemic.
In February 2010, WWE ECW was finally given its merciful death and was replaced by a new brand NXT. But this wasn’t NXT as we know it today, this was effectively a reality show where eight competitors completed several whacky challenges to earn themselves a WWE contract, with Wade Barrett being the eventual winner.
Barrett would not arrive on the main roster alone, with all eight men appearing on the June 7th edition of Monday Night Raw in what is still considered one of the greatest debuts in WWE history. The Nexus would assault John Cena and everyone at ringside before destroying the ringside area, showing Retribution how it’s really done. This would also lead to the firing of Daniel Bryan after he choked Justin Roberts with his own tie.
The crowd at Raw were stunned by what they had saw, but the WWE failed to capture the lighting in a bottle that they had in their hands. The fate of the Nexus was written at Summerslam 2010, with Team WWE defeating The Nexus. John Cena rose above hate once again as he overcame a 2-on-1 handicap against Justin Gabriel and Wade Barrett to bury the group in a way that they would never recover.
WWE tried to resuscitate the group, with CM Punk leading the New Nexus. But Punk would symbolically desert the group ahead of Money in the Bank 2011, trading his Nexus shirt for the classic CM Punk shirt. The Nexus should have been something special in WWE, but it will forever be remembered as yet another missed opportunity. The only member of the group to win a world championship in WWE would be the man who was fired on their first night, although Wade Barrett should have won the WWE Championship as well.