Buff Bagwell's First And Only WWE Match Proved To Be A Low Point For His Career

"This match sucks!" was the chant that echoed throughout the Tacoma Dome during the "Raw is War" main event on July 2, 2001. That night, the WWF relaunched WCW, with Booker T defending the WCW Championship against Buff Bagwell in the final quarter hour of the show. Though the crowd reacted loudly for Booker and Bagwell on their entrances, the boos came out once the bell rang.


No matter what the WCW veterans did in the ring, the Tacoma crowd was relentless in their booing. After five minutes of action, the boos turned to cheers when "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Kurt Angle hit the ring to pummel Booker T. Assisted by Bagwell, the WWF tandem dragged Booker to the back and tossed him out of the venue. Seconds later, Bagwell was thrown out as well and never seen again on WWF television.

"To my knowledge ... I'm the only wrestler, in the history of time, to be the main event one week and fired the next," said Bagwell in an interview with Chris Van Vliet. "I mean, where do you sign up for that? Buff Bagwell was the main event with Booker T and they fired me in Atlanta, Georgia the next week."


Bagwell goes from WCW to the WWF

"Now then, what should I do with WCW?" asked Vince McMahon at Gund Arena on the March 26, 2001 episode of "Raw is War." Several days prior, McMahon ended the Monday Night Wars by purchasing WCW from AOL-Time Warner, and fans of both companies were curious about what would happen next. 


Standing in the middle of the ring, McMahon said, "I could take WCW and just kind of like put it on the shelf ... Then again, if we don't take WCW and put it on the shelf, we could do something else with it. We could take WCW and perhaps turn it into this huge media conglomerate much like World Wrestling Federation Entertainment is today ... But if we do that, I'm wondering, well who should be a part of this WCW?"

Wanting a reaction from the live crowd, McMahon listed off the names of certain WCW talent. The first two names, Hulk Hogan and Lex Luger, were mostly booed. The Cleveland crowd popped at the mention of the next name, which was Bagwell's. Shortly thereafter, Bagwell joined Booker and Diamond Dallas Page as the only big WCW names to accept buyouts of their AOL-Time Warner contracts and become a part of the WWF.


Though he never won a singles championship in WCW, Bagwell was a five-time tag-team champion and only 31 years old at the time. Entering the prime of his career, Bagwell appeared poised for success, but the opposite happened.

How and why Bagwell got fired

As a result of the match with Booker and reports of his poor attitude, Buff Bagwell was fired the following Monday at Philips Arena in Atlanta, which was WCW's home base. "It was so depressing to me and the only thing that saved me from getting worse or being a lot more depressed was at least the fans knew I got screwed," Bagwell told Chris Van Vliet


"The fans know that Buff Bagwell got jibbed man. They know that. And without that, I would be completely depressed."

Bagwell remains insistent that Jim Ross — who was head of talent relations at the time – had a hand in his firing and started the rumor that ruined his career. According to Bagwell, Ross called him the Wednesday before "Raw is War" in Atlanta with news that the company had big plans for him and told him to take the weekend house shows off. "That got to be my mother got me out of them (house shows) and it stuck," said Bagwell. "I just did what everybody told me and Jim told me not to go to the shows."

Bagwell in the 20 years since being fired

Following his termination, Buff Bagwell joined "World Wrestling All Stars" for tours of Australia and the United Kingdom from October 2001 to August 2002. In addition, Bagwell appeared at the inaugural NWA-TNA pay-per-view on June 19, 2002, as the second entrant in the Gauntlet for the Gold Battle Royal to crown a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Despite making several appearances for TNA in 2002 and late 2006, Bagwell was never signed by the company to a full-time contract.


Though he's remained a presence on independent shows over the last two decades, Bagwell has been in the news for his two car crashes (2012, 2020) and arrests (2004, 2021). With the help of longtime friend Dallas Page, Bagwell entered the Black Bear Lodge rehab center. 

"My sobriety date is August 27 of this year," Bagwell revealed to Van Vliet. "Everybody of course wants to know why is this time different. What's so magical about you being clean this time when you've said you've been clean three or four times previously? This time, I had a lot on the line. Along with my age, along with my maturity and I was ready."

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit "CVV CLIPS" YouTube with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.