Scott’s Thoughts On RAW

I was knocked on my ass by stomach flu last night and wasn’t in condition to do much more than watch the show in between puking, but it actually was a much better show than usual.  – I really liked Punk’s opening promo, as he seemed to be legitimately having fun out there and moved by winning the title in MSG like he did.  Johnny Ace is getting close to X-Pac Heat as far as being a character where you know he’s never getting his comeuppance and where he’s programmed to make decisions that only frustrate fans.  Although “Correction, I’m UPPER management” was a funny line and perfect for his humorless delivery.  – Del Rio squashes the hell out of Zack Ryder and I’m not sure what their endgame is.  Presumably they want to push the guy, but it seems like they’re punishing the fans for making him more popular than they deem he should be.  Del Rio is already getting the title shot next week, a loss wouldn’t have hurt him in the least.  It just makes the US title, which Ryder has got to win sooner rather than later, look like a belt for losers. – Sheamus beat Jack Swagger clean with the Conan Kick in a good little match.  Sheamus is another guy where they’ve got nothing for him but he’s ready to break through as a main event babyface.  Instead of running Henry v. Show for three months you could have stuck Sheamus in there for a bit.  Whatever. – Kevin Nash’s big promo was whining about how he should have been main eventing Survivor Series against the Rock.  Right. – Cody Rhodes squashes Santino.  I like Cody but I wish he’d just pick a character and stick with it. – CM Punk beat Dolph clean with the GTS in another awesome match for Zig.  He’s another guy where he’s clearly ready to move to the next level, but they’re so set in their designated top guys that he’s got nowhere to go.  Anyway, this was a great, **** TV match with crazy good near-falls that the fans were completely buying.  I really wish they’d go with the old NWA philosophy and learn to move down guys like Cena and Orton for a while so that someone new could headline the dead December PPVs.  Would it REALLY kill Cena to have a midcard feud with someone?  Anyway, this was an awesome match and well worth going out of your way to see. – Wade Barrett beat Kofi Kingston clean (I like the finishes tonight!) by delivering the Wasteland while staring at Randy Orton.  That’s a good heel finish.  Match was a bit dull because Barrett isn’t an elite worker or anything, but it accomplished what it needed. – Show ended with a stupid Cena v. Awesome Truth interview segment that broke up the heels after only a few months together as a team.  Frankly I’m shocked that Air Boom outlasted Awesome Truth.  Anyway, that’s all I can remember about the show other than the silly Kane video, which was teasing him back in the mask again.  Hey, why not?  You can have someone throw fire at him to scar his face so he has to wear the mask, then hit him in the throat so he can’t talk and has to use the talkbox again.   So yeah, good show, first one since I started doing these again I’d say.  Back to full rants again next week. 

Scott’s Thoughts On RAW

I was knocked on my ass by stomach flu last night and wasn’t in condition to do much more than watch the show in between puking, but it actually was a much better show than usual.  – I really liked Punk’s opening promo, as he seemed to be legitimately having fun out there and moved by winning the title in MSG like he did.  Johnny Ace is getting close to X-Pac Heat as far as being a character where you know he’s never getting his comeuppance and where he’s programmed to make decisions that only frustrate fans.  Although “Correction, I’m UPPER management” was a funny line and perfect for his humorless delivery.  – Del Rio squashes the hell out of Zack Ryder and I’m not sure what their endgame is.  Presumably they want to push the guy, but it seems like they’re punishing the fans for making him more popular than they deem he should be.  Del Rio is already getting the title shot next week, a loss wouldn’t have hurt him in the least.  It just makes the US title, which Ryder has got to win sooner rather than later, look like a belt for losers. – Sheamus beat Jack Swagger clean with the Conan Kick in a good little match.  Sheamus is another guy where they’ve got nothing for him but he’s ready to break through as a main event babyface.  Instead of running Henry v. Show for three months you could have stuck Sheamus in there for a bit.  Whatever. – Kevin Nash’s big promo was whining about how he should have been main eventing Survivor Series against the Rock.  Right. – Cody Rhodes squashes Santino.  I like Cody but I wish he’d just pick a character and stick with it. – CM Punk beat Dolph clean with the GTS in another awesome match for Zig.  He’s another guy where he’s clearly ready to move to the next level, but they’re so set in their designated top guys that he’s got nowhere to go.  Anyway, this was a great, **** TV match with crazy good near-falls that the fans were completely buying.  I really wish they’d go with the old NWA philosophy and learn to move down guys like Cena and Orton for a while so that someone new could headline the dead December PPVs.  Would it REALLY kill Cena to have a midcard feud with someone?  Anyway, this was an awesome match and well worth going out of your way to see. – Wade Barrett beat Kofi Kingston clean (I like the finishes tonight!) by delivering the Wasteland while staring at Randy Orton.  That’s a good heel finish.  Match was a bit dull because Barrett isn’t an elite worker or anything, but it accomplished what it needed. – Show ended with a stupid Cena v. Awesome Truth interview segment that broke up the heels after only a few months together as a team.  Frankly I’m shocked that Air Boom outlasted Awesome Truth.  Anyway, that’s all I can remember about the show other than the silly Kane video, which was teasing him back in the mask again.  Hey, why not?  You can have someone throw fire at him to scar his face so he has to wear the mask, then hit him in the throat so he can’t talk and has to use the talkbox again.   So yeah, good show, first one since I started doing these again I’d say.  Back to full rants again next week. 

Scott’s Thoughts On RAW

I was knocked on my ass by stomach flu last night and wasn’t in condition to do much more than watch the show in between puking, but it actually was a much better show than usual.  – I really liked Punk’s opening promo, as he seemed to be legitimately having fun out there and moved by winning the title in MSG like he did.  Johnny Ace is getting close to X-Pac Heat as far as being a character where you know he’s never getting his comeuppance and where he’s programmed to make decisions that only frustrate fans.  Although “Correction, I’m UPPER management” was a funny line and perfect for his humorless delivery.  – Del Rio squashes the hell out of Zack Ryder and I’m not sure what their endgame is.  Presumably they want to push the guy, but it seems like they’re punishing the fans for making him more popular than they deem he should be.  Del Rio is already getting the title shot next week, a loss wouldn’t have hurt him in the least.  It just makes the US title, which Ryder has got to win sooner rather than later, look like a belt for losers. – Sheamus beat Jack Swagger clean with the Conan Kick in a good little match.  Sheamus is another guy where they’ve got nothing for him but he’s ready to break through as a main event babyface.  Instead of running Henry v. Show for three months you could have stuck Sheamus in there for a bit.  Whatever. – Kevin Nash’s big promo was whining about how he should have been main eventing Survivor Series against the Rock.  Right. – Cody Rhodes squashes Santino.  I like Cody but I wish he’d just pick a character and stick with it. – CM Punk beat Dolph clean with the GTS in another awesome match for Zig.  He’s another guy where he’s clearly ready to move to the next level, but they’re so set in their designated top guys that he’s got nowhere to go.  Anyway, this was a great, **** TV match with crazy good near-falls that the fans were completely buying.  I really wish they’d go with the old NWA philosophy and learn to move down guys like Cena and Orton for a while so that someone new could headline the dead December PPVs.  Would it REALLY kill Cena to have a midcard feud with someone?  Anyway, this was an awesome match and well worth going out of your way to see. – Wade Barrett beat Kofi Kingston clean (I like the finishes tonight!) by delivering the Wasteland while staring at Randy Orton.  That’s a good heel finish.  Match was a bit dull because Barrett isn’t an elite worker or anything, but it accomplished what it needed. – Show ended with a stupid Cena v. Awesome Truth interview segment that broke up the heels after only a few months together as a team.  Frankly I’m shocked that Air Boom outlasted Awesome Truth.  Anyway, that’s all I can remember about the show other than the silly Kane video, which was teasing him back in the mask again.  Hey, why not?  You can have someone throw fire at him to scar his face so he has to wear the mask, then hit him in the throat so he can’t talk and has to use the talkbox again.   So yeah, good show, first one since I started doing these again I’d say.  Back to full rants again next week. 

Survivor Series Countdown, DVD Edition: The Rock (The Most Electrifying Man…)

The SmarK DVD Rant for The Rock – The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment – Well you knew I was going to hit THIS one sooner or later… Disc One Another day, another definitive three disc collection. This is part of the "new format" WWE releases, where they talk about a match and then show it, rather than the more traditional documentary followed by extra matches, except in this case the "talk and show" format is even more tacked-on than usual and it’s basically just a collection of matches. So we start with a brief history of Peter Maivia, as the narrator traces the complex family tree of Samoan wrestlers with a helpful graphic, and we get pictures of the young Rock at WWF shows before burning through his college career and into his WWF debut in 1996. Which brings us to… WWF Intercontinental title: Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Rocky Maivia. From Thursday RAW Thursday in Feb 1997. The video before the match has a quick shot of Hunter with Mr. Hughes as a bodyguard, which I don’t remember at all. This was of course the start of a very long and successful feud that saw them switch back and forth through several gimmick changes and personas between them, which is kind of weird when you think about it. They do a wrestling sequence to start and the fans immediately start with "Rocky sucks" as Hunter slaps him around off an Indian deathlock. JR notes that Hunter is quite cerebral, so blame him for that one. Rocky fires off a dropkick to put Hunter on the floor. Back in, the champ slugs away and drops an elbow on Rocky’s neck, then hits the chinlock. Rock fights up and another dropkick sends Hunter out again, and they brawl on the floor. Rock charges and hits the ringpost, something he’d never do later on. Back in, Hunter uses an armbar takedown and standing armbar to work on the arm. Rock fights up and falls victim to another armbar takedown, which gets two for the champ. Hunter throws chops in the corner and we take a break, returning with Hunter slugging away in the corner as Honky Tonk Man joins us at ringside. Hunter with the suplex and he follows with, what else, a kneedrop for two. Rock fights up again and Hunter puts him down with a high knee for two, once again showing the wide range of knee-related offense he used to be known for. Sleeper, but Rocky reverses, so Hunter runs him into the corner to break. Rock slugs back with his goofy offense and follows with a backdrop, then heads up with a high cross that Hunter rolls through for two. Hunter USES THE KNEE to stop the comeback and follows with a neckbreaker for two. Piledriver gets two. Hunter puts him on the top rope and brings him down with a superplex, which gets two. Pedigree looks to finish, but Rock reverses to a small package to win his first title and begin a career of greatness at 13:28. Started slow, got really good once the beatdown of Rocky produced the near-falls at the end, and although you could see the finish coming down Main Street it still worked. *** – The narrator dramatically relates how the crowds turned on him, although they use footage of his actual heel run in 1998 so that kind of deflates the point. We jump ahead to the Nation era from there as Rock takes over. WWF Intercontinental title: The Rock v. Owen Hart From RAW, April 1998. I thought they were showing the title change from April 97 rather than this one. Rock slugs away in the corner to start, but misses a charge and Owen takes him down with an armdrag. Rock escapes and slaps him around on the mat, but Owen controls with the armbar again. Kama Mustafa trips up Owen and gets thrown out as a result. Owen uses the distraction to grab a sleeper, but Rock reverses to the hurricane DDT for two. Shoulderbreaker sets up the People’s Elbow, which gets two. It was just a goofy move at that point rather than the finisher it became around October of that year. Rock charges and hits an elbow, allowing Owen to slug away and come back with a neckbreaker for two. Owen pounds him in the corner and follows with a leg lariat for two. Rock Bottom is blocked and Owen hits the ENZUIGIRI OF DEATH, into the Sharpshooter, but Chyna runs in for the DQ at 5:45. No idea why they picked this one. ** – So we get a quick video of the Nation v. DX feud, which brings us to King of the Ring 98’s quarterfinals… The Rock v. HHH From RAW, June ’98. Rock attacks and slugs away in the corner, and an elbow gets two. Rock puts him down with a clothesline for two. He puts his head down and Hunter hits him with a neckbreaker and slugs him in the corner, then follows with a suplex and kneedrop for two. Rock comes back with the DDT for two. Suplex gets two. People’s Elbow gets two. JR still won’t call it that, whereas Michael Cole in the Owen match did, so as much as it pains me to admit, I think Cole coined the term. Hope he gets royalties. Rock chokes away on the ropes and slugs HHH in the corner, then adds some rare choking. HHH slugs back and puts Rock down, then follows with the high knee and a facecrusher. Rock bails to escape, but then heads back in to gloat and gets laid out by Chyna. HHH gets two off that and then goes to the sleeper, but Rock reverses. Chyna distracts him into releasing it and Hunter goes for the Pedigree, but Rock goes low and finishes with a fisherman’s suplex at 8:07. We’re only three matches in and already it’s two clean jobs by HHH. Best DVD ever! Match was a typical TV match from the time. **1/2 – Later that year, Rock turns face and moves onto Survivor Series… WWF World title tournament finals: The Rock v. Mankind Another beginning of a long and successful feud. They fight for the lockup to start and Rock slugs him out of that and chokes away in the corner. Rock with a clothesline out of the corner for two and Mankind bails, as they brawl up the aisle and back in for a chinlock from Mankind. Vince and Shane join us at ringside as Rock fights out of the chinlock with a backdrop suplex and they hit the floor again. Mick goes for a suplex out there, but Rock reverses and goes after Vince, which allows Mankind to attack. Rock fights him off and gets a weak suplex onto the floor, and they brawl into the crowd and back again. Back in, Rock hits the chinlock as they’re having a rough time working out the match, according to Foley’s book, but Mankind fights up and puts Rock down with a knee to the gut. Cactus clothesline sends them back to the floor again and Mankind adds a chairshot. He picks up the stairs to follow, but Rock hammers it with the chair and then hits Mick in the face with it. Back in, that gets two. Rock slugs away in the corner, but Mick goes low and chokes him out on the ropes. Back to the floor, and Mick drops the elbow off the apron and then puts Rock on the table for a legdrop. Back in, that gets two. And Mick goes back to the chinlock again, but Rock fights up and slugs away until a blind charge puts him on the floor. Back in, Rock comes back with the DDT and slugs away, but charges again and gets dumped. Mick dives at him with another elbow, but Rock moves and Mick goes through the poor, defenseless Spanish announce table. Back in, it’s the People’s Elbow, which gets two. Mankind gets the DDT and it’s Mandible Sock time, but Rock reverses to Rock Bottom. Double KO, but Rock rolls over for two. Rock debuts his crappy version of the Sharpshooter, and Vince rings the bell, rings the fucking bell at 17:14 to make Rock the Corporate champion. This one never really got going, but they’d have far better ones just a couple of months later. **1/2 Last Man Standing: Mankind v. The Rock Now remember, there MUST be a winner. I actually forgot that Mankind was the champion at this point. And don’t forget, there absolutely has to be a winner, no exceptions. Rock attacks to start and goes for the knee that he injured on Sunday Night Heat. Mankind comes back with a belt to the head, and that gets an 8 count. They fight up the aisle and Rock gets sent into the set, but comes back and whips Mick into it as well. Over to the website table, where Mankind DDTs Rock through the table. Rock answers the bell at 8. Back to the crowd, where Rock gets a sudden backdrop suplex and Mick takes yet another bump onto concrete, but he’s up at 3. Back to ringside and Rock gets whipped into the stairs. Into the ring for a People’s Elbow from Mankind, but it misses. Well, he’s not the Great One. Rock comes back and slugs Mick out of the ring, and follows with a suplex on the floor. Rock takes a break to do color commentary while the ref counts Mick down, but he’s up at 7. Rock threatens to give him “A Rock burger with a little extra Rock sauce on the side” but Mick attacks him to cut off the food-related smack talk and drops the elbow from the apron to the table. Rock answers the bell at 8. Back into the ring and Mankind charges with the stairs, but gets them kicked back in his face. Rock gets a chair and goes after the knee again, but does the silly spot where he hits the ropes and knocks himself out with it. Cactus clothesline puts both guys on the floor and they brawl back to the announce table again. Mick goes for a piledriver, but Rock backdrops him into the timekeeper’s table and thus hurts the leg again. Rock tosses the stairs onto Mick’s leg for good measure in a sick spot, but Mick still answers the bell. Rock grabs the mike and stops to sing “Smackdown Hotel”, but Mick awakes and gives him the Mandible Sock in mid-chorus. Rock answers the bell at 8 and comes back with a DDT, which puts Mankind down for 8. Mankind gets his own DDT for 8. Mr. Socko is countered with Rock Bottom and then they hit each other with chairs, and it’s a draw at 21:52. The crowd chants “bullshit”, rightly so given that they stressed several times that there MUST BE A WINNER. Definitely the lesser of their series, as they had good chemistry but not epic chemistry like Rock and Austin did. *** WWF World title, ladder match: Mankind v. The Rock From the next night on RAW, this is the forgotten match in their series. Rock cuts a weird promo about getting Mankind drunk on tequila and fisting him or something, which should at least creep Mick out if not intimidate him. Mick attacks to start and they fight on the floor, resulting in Rock meeting the stairs, followed by Mick. Rock tosses a chair into the ring and smashes Mick’s knee into it, allowing him to retrieve the ladder, but Mick beats him down with the chair and hits a People’s Elbow of his own. Mick does the first climb, but Rock puts him down with the chair and clips him. He sandwiches the leg in the ladder and pounds it with the chair, allowing him to climb for the belt. Mick yanks him off to stop him and puts him down with the chair again, but Rock puts him down with the chair and slugs away on the ropes. Mankind goes low and they fight to the floor, taking it into the crowd, where Mick puts Rock on a piece of railing and drops an elbow on him. A second one misses, allowing Rock to bring him back to ringside with a clothesline over the railing and take over. They fight up the ramp, where Rock suplexes him on the ramp, then chokes him out with a cable at ringside. Mick whips him into the stairs, however, and drops them on Rock’s back, and it’s over to that innocent Spanish table again. Mick wants a piledriver, but Rock reverses to Rock Bottom to put him through. Back in, Rock climbs, but Mick goes low and adds the double-arm DDT, setting up Mr. Socko. Rock hits him in the face with the ladder to block that, and DDTs him to follow. Rock climbs and they slug it out on top, but Mick gets the Mandible Sock to put Rock down. Sadly, Big Show comes out and chokeslams him off to end the dream, and Rock regains the World title at 12:55. See, they cut all the crap out of this one and the result was a lean and mean street fight with minimal ladder "drama" like slow climbing and contrived spots. Me like. ***1/2 And that brings us to… WWF World title: The Rock v. Steve Austin From Wrestlemania XV. They actually alter the graphic to say "WWE champion", which makes me very sad. Rock attacks on the floor right away and slugs away in the ring, but Austin tosses him and they brawl into the crowd right away. Back to ringside, where Austin tosses Rock right back into the crowd again, forcing Rock to clothesline him over the railing and choke away with a cable. They brawl up the aisle and Rock takes some fairly crazy bumps onto the set pieces and into the lights, allowing Austin to choke him with another cable. Austin whips him into the Wrestlemania logo and they head back to ringside, where Austin tries a suplex and Rock reverses him onto the floor. Over to the announce position, where Rock stops to enjoy some water and spit it at Austin (as HHH goes "Hmmm…"), before Austin puts him on the Spanish table and drops an elbow off the railing. That fails to break the table, so he repeats the spot and that does the trick. Back in, Austin decides to toss Rock again and we’re back to the floor where Rock meets the stairs. Back in, we finally start the match proper, and Rock hits Rock Bottom for two. He grabs a chair and heads back in, but the ref gets wiped out via a nasty chairshot as a result and he’s done. Rock gets a neckbreaker and grabs the chair, but has to fight off a stunner before pounding on Austin’s knee with the chair. Massive chair to the face gets two as another ref joins us. Rock clothesline gets two, and we hit the chinlock. Austin fights up, so Rock clotheslines him again and goes back to it. Austin fights out, but walks into a samoan drop and Rock gets two. Rock is frustrated and takes it out on Tim White with a Rock Bottom, allowing Austin to hit KICK WHAM STUNNER for two, as we have a third ref in the form of Earl Hebner. Vince heads out to deal with things himself, distracting him long enough for Rock to go low, and he joins into a beatdown in the corner as the ref gets bumped yet again. Mankind returns from the hospital to save and gets rid of Vince, and Austin cradles Rock for two. Thesz Press and elbowdrop follow, but Rock comes back with a clothesline and Rock Bottom into the People’s Elbow…which misses. KICK WHAM STUNNER and it’s the World title for Austin at 16:47. This was suitably big and epic and had all the big spots, but they still had better in them to come. ***1/2 Disc Two And so 1999 brings us around to Rock v. HHH again, this time in a cage… Cage match: HHH v. The Rock From RAW, July 1999. Usual lame escape rules here. Rock slugs away to start and elbows him down, but HHH comes back with a clothesline and slugs away in the corner. Rock comes out of the corner with a clothesline and lays the smackdown before climbing, but HHH pulls him down and Rock takes a SWEET bump straight down to the mat, hitting his chin on the turnbuckle on the way down. HHH follows with a suplex into a kneedrop, allowing him to go for the door, but Rock grabs the leg to block. Chyna slips her man some handcuffs, allowing Hunter to pound Rock down and send him into the cage. He tries to cuff Rock to the cage, but Rock goes low and comes back before putting his head down and getting caught with a neckbreaker. HHH climbs and fights off Rock, but gets yanked down with an armdrag in another spot you don’t see very much. Jim Ross is really obsessing about "the rankings" here, as in the consequences that this match will have on them. Rock goes for the door, but Chyna bumps the ref and then slams the door on him, allowing HHH to walk out and win. Well, except that there’s no ref, so the match MUST CONTINUE. They brawl up the ramp and HHH tries the Pedigree on the floor, but Rock catapults him into the cage and drags him back in. And away we go again, as Rock sends him into the cage on all sides and then follows with a samoan drop. Another weird exchange as Chyna protests to the ref that HHH walked out and Lawler relates that, and JR responds "She’s a liar!" No she’s not! HHH clearly walked out and won the match! You can call Chyna a lot of mean names, but this is just unnecessary aspersions on her character. Rock climbs up and fires off a double axehandle, just for the hell of it, but HHH hits him with the facecrusher and sends him into the cage to set up a clothesline for a double KO. HHH recovers first and climbs the cage, but Rock follows him up and grabs him by the hair. No wonder it went downhill so fast, with treatment like that! Maybe he let it get all gross and greasy to prevent just that from happening. They slug it out on top of the cage until Chyna throws a chair up for HHH to use, but he gets cocky and falls on his cock as a result. So Rock is out and laying on top of the cage and HHH is crawling for the door, but Rock recovers first and exits to win at 13:55. Sadly they cut out Billy Gunn’s attack on him post-match, which robs me of the opportunity to mention that Hulk Hogan once used that attack as an example of how he taught Vince McMahon everything about wrestling that Vince knows. Seriously. Booking was pretty wacky here, but there was enough cool spots to make it worth checking out. ***1/4 WWF World tag titles: Undertaker & Big Show v. The Rock N Sock Connection I could have SWORN I reviewed this recently, but I can’t find it anywhere. Anyway, this is from my birthday in 1999 on RAW. Show gets double-teamed by the faces to start and Rock stomps him down, but Mankind walks into a sideslam. Show chokes Mankind out on the ropes and puts him down with a headbutt, and Taker adds a shot into the stairs. Back in, Show gets a powerslam for two. Show goes to the bearhug. Mick bites out of it, but runs into an elbow and gets sent to the floor again for more punishment from Undertaker. Show slams Mick on a previously-smashed table, but Undertaker and Paul Bearer decide to walk out of the match. This allows Rock to get the hot tag, but Show hits them both with a double clothesline. Chokeslam for the Rock and he kicks a chair back in Mankind’s face, but Rock kicks out at two. Show misses an elbow and he falls victim to Mr. Socko and then Mr. Chair, which sets up a Double People’s Elbow to finish and give them the tag titles at 8:10. Boring match, great finish. ** – The ultra-serious narrator talks us through "smackdown" making the dictionary and Rock singing about taking a leak during Big Slow matches. The Rock v. Kane From Smackdown, December 1999. Kane slugs away in the corner, but Rock fires back and gets a neckbreaker. Kane sits up, so Rock clotheslines him to the floor and they fight up the ramp. Kane goes low, but Rock slugs him off the ramp and through a table on the floor. That looked pretty silly, with Kane taking a huge leap like a cartoon character off a simple punch. Kane quickly recovers and chokeslams Rock through another conveniently placed table. They head back to ringside and Rock whips him into the stairs before grabbing a chair, but he gets wrapped up with Tori. Kane accidently clotheslines her, allowing Rock to finish with a chairshot and Rock Bottom at 5:08. Another middling match that is kind of a weird addition. ** – And once again we’re back to Rock v. HHH, albeit with the high point of that feud. WWF World title: HHH v. The Rock From Backlash 2000, with Shane as guest referee. You could probably call this one the pinnacle of Rock’s career without fear of contradiction, as he’s at his most popular in the highest-profile match against his biggest enemy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: THIS should have been the main event of Wrestlemania 2000, not the clusterfuck we got instead. They slug it out to start and HHH wins that, but Rock fires back and puts him down. HHH quickly tries the Pedigree, but Rock backdrops out of it and lays the smackdown in the corner. HHH recovers with a neckbreaker and tosses him, then rams him into the table. Vince adds a ride into the ringpost for good measure, and back in HHH and Shane share a tender hug before HHH gets two. High knee gets two and he adds a suplex, which sets up the kneedrop for two. He works the count and Shane counts quicker each time, but Rock keeps escaping. Rock slugs back, so HHH grabs a sleeper, which turns into a chinlock on the mat. Rock fights up, so HHH uses the ropes (which Shane ignores) and puts himself back in control. Rock fights up and HHH clotheslines him down again for two, then pounds away in the corner until Rock hotshots him to escape. He comes back, but they clothesline each other, which gives Shane the chance to help HHH up. Shane’s performance here is something to see. And while Shane is "distracted", Vince pops up and nails Rock with the belt, which gives HHH two. A very FAST two, at that. They’re just pushing all the crowd’s buttons with this stuff and it’s tremendous. Rock has had ENOUGH and spit-punches him in the corner, then dumps him and injures HHH’s arm in the process. They fight on the floor and Rock drops him on the table to hurt the shoulder further, and back in where Rock puts his head down and gets caught. But then so does HHH, and Rock DDTs him, but you know Shane’s not counting. And the crowd just LOSES it, so Rock puts Shane out and they fight to the floor again. If you want a textbook example of the crowd reacting EXACTLY how you want them to, it’s this match. HHH sends him into the stairs and follows with the Pedigree attempt on the table, but Rock goes low and gives both him and Shane a Rock Bottom at the same time! The crowd just goes INSANE and Vince’s open-mouthed reaction shot is awesome. So Shane is done, but Rock drags HHH in and gets jumped from behind by Vince. HHH goes low and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, but we have no ref. But we do have the Stooges in ref shirts, who beat Rocky down until you just know there’s a big payoff coming here. And just when Vince is setting up with a chair to finish things, Austin’s music hits and it’s pandemonium. Chair for HHH! Chair for Patterson! Chair for Brisco! Chair for Shane! Chair for Vince! Kinda sad because Austin’s neck is still so bad that he can hardly walk, but the crowd doesn’t care. Everyone is dead except for Rock, and finally Linda brings Earl Hebner back after the whole Jericho thing on RAW left him fired, and the People’s Elbow means Game Over, finally, at 19:23, and I’m still marking out watching it 8 years later. That! Was! Awesome! Kudos to everyone involved because this was a magnificently crafted piece of professional wrestling drama and the kind of thing that made the Rock into the biggest wrestler ever. If they could pull this off with John Cena no one would ever boo him. The chinlock in the middle kind of slowed it down, but the booking paid off a million different storylines, and anything that nearly has me jumping up and yelling all those years later deserves every bit of praise I can heap on it. I daresay that from an entertainment standpoint this might be one of my favorite matches of all-time. Oh yeah, I went there. ****3/4 – The next night on RAW… WWF title, cage match: The Rock v. Shane McMahon Pat Patterson gets to be guest referee here. Shane immediately tries to climb out, but Rock pulls him in and elbows him down, then follows with a clothesline. Crowd lets Shane know that he’s a pussy, which according to Arrested Development means he’s a caring and sensitive guy. Shane tries to run for the door, but Rock yanks him out by the ankle with a London Bridge. Shane catches Rock with an elbow and chokes him out. Meanwhile, HHH pokes him with a sharp stick from outside. Sadly, Rock has no fresh fruit with which to counter, so he’s basically helpless. Luckily he’s able to catch the stick and breaks it on Shane, then rams him into the cage and beats on him in the corner. Rock stops to go after Patterson, allowing Shane to send him into the cage from behind and then climb. Rock follows him up and slugs away, but Patterson keeps pulling him down, resulting in Rock falling on the top rope. He hits Pat with a Rock Bottom and goes back after Shane, yanking him down and hitting the People’s Elbow. And Brisco of course slams the door on his head and HHH comes in for the beatdown, but here’s Stone Cold Earl Hebner again. He shoves Brisco into the cage and then slams the door on HHH, and Rock escapes at 9:20 to win. Fun but forgettable. *** – Moving onto the Angle era, as Rock drops the title, which brings us to No Way Out 2001. WWF World title: Kurt Angle v. The Rock. Angle attacks to start, but Rock hits him with a lariat out of the corner and they slug it out. Rock elbows him down and follows with a legsweep for two, but Angle fights back with a clothesline and stomps him down. Rock slugs back, but Angle takes him down into the anklelock, forcing Rock to make the ropes. Angle hits him with a pair of belly to belly suplexes, so Rock fires back with his own. He follows quickly with the Scorpion King Deathlock, but Angle makes the ropes. Rock keeps coming with a samoan drop for two. Angle comes back with a backdrop suplex and goes up, but Rock crotches him and brings him down with a superplex for two. Angle dumps him and Rock teases a leg injury, so Angle hauls him in and DDTs him. And with both out, we get a walk-in by the Big Show, as he chokeslams everyone (including the ref) and then leaves. I still have no idea what that was supposed to accomplish. Angle gets the cover out of that, for two. Funny bit there as Earl Hebner and Tim White carry the poor traumatized ref out, but Earl drops him to make the count. He’s a REFEREE, dammit, that’s what he does! Rock recovers and hits Angle with the title, for two. Rock is openly limping now, so Angle POUNCES and hooks the anklelock, then hauls Rock into the middle of the ring, slams the knee on the mat, and hooks it again. This gives us the classic "TAP OUT OR I’LL BREAK YOUR FUCKING ANKLE!" quote, but Rock makes the ropes. Kurt keeps on the leg, but Rock fights up until his leg gives out, which allows Angle to pound on him. Rock gets a desperation spinebuster and People’s Elbow, but that only gets two. Nice touch with Rock limping during the Elbow. The crowd chants "bullshit" at Angle kicking out of it, because THAT’S the ludicrous thing — someone kicking out of the People’s Elbow. It’s amazing how something so silly can become a deadly finisher. Rock gets upset with the ref, which allows Angle to hit him in the People’s Junk, and he undoes a turnbuckle for full heel effect. Rock tries Rock Bottom, but Angle sends him into the steel, and into an Angle Slam for two. Where’s the bullshit chant now, Las Vegas? Rock slugs away in the corner, but Angle goes with the easy solution and kicks him in the leg, so Rock sends him into the steel and it’s Rock Bottom…for two. Angle didn’t actually kick out, but the ref stopped counting for some reason. So Rock hits another one and regains the WWF title at 16:52. This was a war of attrition, although you have to know that given another year of development for Angle it would have had another 10 minutes of trading finishers added onto it. ****1/2 – The end of the Monday Night Wars brings us to… WCW World title: Booker T v. The Rock From Summerslam 2001. Slugfest to start and Rock runs Booker into Shane, then puts him down with a samoan drop for two. Booker comes back with chops, but Rock clotheslines him and cradles for two. Yeah, Rock busted out La Majastral, wanna fight about it? Book kicks him down again for two. Slugfest is won by the Rock and he tosses Booker, as they brawl on the floor. Rock puts him on the table and gives him the most blatant nutshot in PPV history, but Booker recovers and rams him into the stairs, followed by an atomic drop onto the railing. They head into the crowd, where Booker whips him into a barricade and follows with a clothesline, then they head back to ringside. They slug it out, but Rock gets whipped into the post, and Booker drops him on the railing to follow. They just can’t seem to get their chemistry together out there. Back in, Booker slugs him down for two and puts him down with a short clothesline. Kneedrop follows, and Rock fights up only to get put down by a forearm that gets two. And Booker hits the chinlock as this is just going nowhere. Rock comes back with the Scorpion King Deathlock, but Shane McMahon distracts the ref and Rock breaks, only to walk into a superkick that gets two for Booker. Rock takes him down again and catapults him into the corner, followed by a DDT for two. Shane sneaks in with the belt and puts Rock down, but the APA chases him into Bradshaw’s clothesline. Lemme tell ya, Shane selling the Clothesline from Hell is like * by itself. In the ring, Bookend gets two, but Rock slugs back and gets the flying forearm. Overhead belly to belly gets two. Spinebuster and People’s Elbow get two, as Shane pulls the referee out. Rock stops to give him a Rock Bottom on the floor and then lays the smackdown on Booker in the corner, but Booker comes back with his own spinebuster. However, he makes the fatal error and stops for the Spinarooni, which allows Rock to pop up and finish with the Rock Bottom at 15:17, improbably marking the first time the WCW World title would change hands on a WWF PPV. The match was competent enough, but they just had no flash together. *** – So at Vengeance 2001, Chris Jericho unifies the belts into the Undisputed title and defends against Rock at Royal Rumble 2002… Undisputed World title: Chris Jericho v. The Rock This was scheduled to be Jericho v. RVD for quite a while, actually, before Rob’s push got yanked out from under him in rather abrupt manner. This is something of a lost classic as well, which is why I’m glad it’s getting exposure again on this DVD. Jericho talks some trash and tells him to just bring it, so Rock brings it. Samoan drop gets two and Jericho runs away, right into a spear from the Rock. Rock slugs away, but Jericho hits him with a forearm and a corner clothesline before charging and hitting the post. Rock charges in and Jericho hotshots him, then punts him into the corner. He throws chops, but Rock fires back, so Jericho hits a leg lariat for two. Suplex and the ARROGANT COVER~! get two. He undoes a turnbuckle and tries the Walls of Jericho, but Rock reverses out, so Jericho gets a low dropkick and pounds away on the mat. Missile dropkick gets two. He goes to a chinlock and then heads up, but Rock crotches him and throws chops to set up a superplex. Rock slugs away and hits the overhead suplex for two, but Jericho rebounds out of the corner with the bulldog and Lionsault. Another one gets two. He goes up with another missile dropkick, but Rock catches him with the Scorpion King Deathlock, which draws Christian and Lance Storm out for the distraction, as Christian uses the belt to knock Rock out. I seem to recall some sort of Canadian Horsemen idea floating around at the time before it got shot down and forgotten about soon after this. Jericho gets a senton, but stops to go for the Canadian Elbow and gets tossed by the Rock as a result. They head to the floor and Jericho drops Rock on the table to set up for Jericho Bottom, but Rock fights out and gets his own, putting Jericho through the OTHER table as a result. Back in, that gets two. Rock tries another Rock Bottom, but Jericho reverses to the Walls, which actually draws a FACE pop from the crowd, or at least a good chunk of it. Rock makes the ropes and then cradles for two, but Jericho boots him down again. Rock pops up with the flying forearm, but wipes out the ref, and Jericho hits him with a belt and Evil Ref Nick Patrick counts two. Rock fires back with a DDT, but Patrick won’t count because he’s EVIL. Rock gives him Rock Bottom for his impudence and hits Jericho with the spinebuster and People’s Elbow, but there’s still no ref. Jericho goes low and rams Rock into the steel turnbuckle, then uses the ropes (but sadly not the tights) to pin him at 19:11 and retain. That’s like Ric Flair’s Greatest Hits all in one shot. Still great stuff, hard work from both all around. **** Disc Three The Rock v. Hollywood Hogan Man, this is STILL an interesting match to watch. Here’s the original review, with some added comments and my new rating. I had the feeling that this was going to be one of those matches that was gonna earn me hate mail no matter which side of the fence I went with. I was right. I also would’ve thought that this would go on last, since it was being promoted as the main event and all. Hogan gets a MONSTER pop, as I once again worry about the future of mankind. Rock gets a big heel pop. Hogan wins a lockup and the crowd ROARS. JR interprets this as a “mixed reaction”. I’d hate to hear what they’d sound like if they were booing Rock, then. Hogan pounds away and gets a clothesline, but Rock back with the forearm and gets roasted by the crowd. This is just vicious. Shoving match and Rock slugs Hogan down and out. Back in, Rock with the lariat, but Rock Bottom is blocked. Hogan gets the elbowdrops. That limp is getting really pronounced on Hogan’s part. Backdrop suplex gets two. Abdominal stretch into a rollup gets two. Man, that was his rear special in WCW v. nWo World Tour, but that’s the first time I’ve seen him use it in real life in like the past 20 years. Hogan goes to the BACKRAKES OF DOOM (which Rock sells like he’s being clawed by the fingernails of a Sinanju Master) and of course the crowd eats it all up. Rock chops him, but Hogan chokes him out for a while. Rock gets tossed and Hogan beats on him outside. Table is prepped but goes unused. Back in, ref bumped, and Rock gets a spinebuster and Sharpshooter, no ref, but a big heel reaction. Jesus, Toronto, just because the Leafs suck, don’t take it out on someone who CAN win the big one. The crowd just completely turns on Rock, so Hogan goes low and gets a huge face pop and then uses his own Rock Bottom for two. Hogan uses the belt, but Rock DDTs him and fires right back. JR is still insisting that the reaction is mixed. Stuff like that makes him sound like Tony Schiavone. Hulk Up time. Big boot and STINKY WART-INFESTED GIANT-KILLING LEGDROP OF DOOM, but Rock kicks out at two. Big boot again, but the legdrop misses. Rock gives him two Rock Bottoms for good measure, and finishes with the People’s Elbow at 16:22. That was one of the best-booked bad matches I’ve seen – I’ve gotta admit, even I was cheering pretty vociferously for Rock (more than usual) by the end and getting into it. After several viewings, I’m up to about *** for it, because it’s actually a match I can watch without getting too bored with it. I’ve seen it rated higher and lower and I won’t argue too strenuously with either interpretation. The crowd’s insane reaction to the comeback alone makes this one worthy of history. In retrospect, this was the match that turned the Rock from A-level wrestler into larger-than-life future Hollywood personality, and was perhaps the only time that Hogan actually passed the proverbial torch and never got to take it back again. Consider that Hogan not only allowed Rock to kick out of the legdrop, but then took BOTH of Rock’s finishers and laid down clean for him. Sadly (for wrestling), Rock would take that rub and become a bigger star than wrestling could support any longer. However, I’m still glad he got away when he did so he’ll always be remembered as the guy who left at his peak instead of turning into a one-note joke like Steve Austin or, indeed, Hulk Hogan. Undisputed World title: Undertaker v. The Rock v. Kurt Angle This is from Vengeance 2002, really another one of those forgotten PPVs, and it’s really worth picking up on DVD for cheap if you find it. Kurt is rocking the red white and blue camo tights tonight, which I don’t think can help you hide anywhere but an American flag factory, but it looks cool. Undertaker was in that weird Booger Red phase where he was kind of a biker, but with short hair and some MMA mixed in. Two-way staredown to start which has Angle feeling left out, so the other two jump him to make him feel better. Taker boots him down and Rock dumps him with a clothesline to get rid of him. Ha! Taker pounds on Rock in the corner, but Rock slugs back until Taker puts him down with the flying clothesline. Rock comes right back with a clothesline to put him on the floor and Angle tosses Taker into the railing, then we head in with Angle v. Rock. Kurt throws the release german suplex and stomps away in the corner, but Rock comes back with chops until Angle throws the overhead suplex. Crowd chants "Angle sucks", so he throws another suplex to shut them up. Man, Kurt Angle was the shit once upon a time, back when he was having FUN with his career. Rock comes back with a DDT for two and they brawl outside, which results in Angle getting jumped by Undertaker. Taker goes after Rock and sends him back in for some punishment in the corner, but Rock slugs back until he walks into a sideslam, which gets two. Rock actually chokeslams Undertaker, which you don’t see EVER, and that gets two. Angle gets involved again and pounds away on Rock, but Rock clotheslines him down and anklelocks him, so Angle reverses to a Rock Bottom for two. Taker breaks it up with a legdrop and hits Angle with an Angle Slam, which gets two. Rock breaks it up, so Taker elbows him down, but Rock pops up and tosses Angle, then hits Undertaker with the spinebuster and People’s Elbow. Angle saves, however, pulling Rock out and dropping him on the table, then sneaking in for the cover, which gets two. Angle pounds on Taker in the corner, but that doesn’t get him very far, and Taker fires back with a corner clothesline. Angle comes back and charges, but hits the ringpost and lands on the floor. They brawl out there and Taker sends him into the post, but Rock uses the EVIAN SPIT OF DEATH on Taker and slugs away. That only annoys UT and he pounds Rock onto the table as a result before going back to Angle, who is now bleeding. After that shot to the post, I’d hope so. Taker guillotines him on the apron and pounds him down, which gives JR his chance to say "surcease" for the match. You know he’s into it when he busts that one out. Old school time, although the crowd doesn’t know to yell that yet, but Rock pops back in and gives him a cheeky smackdown. Taker puts him down with a DDT, however, perhaps in retaliation for Rock’s "revving the motorbike" motions, I dunno. Angle tries using a chair and gets pinballed by the other two for his troubles, but neither Rock nor Undertaker can hit their finisher on each other. Rock goes low and Angle flattens Taker with his chair, then hits Rock with the Angle Slam. That gets two on Taker, and then two on Rock. Logistically speaking he would have been better off to pin Rock first, of course, but that’s half the fun here. Angle sets up again to finish Rock, but he gets taken down into the Scorpion King Deathlock, which Taker is forced to break up. Last Ride for the Rock (and another reason why Rock rules — he does a spit take as he lands to emphasize the impact!), but Angle puts Taker in the anklelock before he can make the pin. Taker powers out of it and tries to powerbomb Angle, but Kurt counters with the triangle choke. OK, was that before or after the famous UFC thing that inspired that Angle-UT draw on Smackdown, because that whole era is a blur to me. That leaves both Angle and Taker woozy and Rock swoops in for the kill, but Angle was just faking and takes Rock down with the anklelock as this just gets more awesome. Rock reverses to a cradle for two, and Taker chokeslams Angle, but walks into Rock Bottom to give Rock two. Angle rolls the Rock up for two, but Taker boots Rock down and Angle gives Taker the Angle Slam. The straps are down, but Rock gets Rock Bottom and pins him to win the title at 19:35. TREMENDOUS! This was an awesome three-way, great because it featured all the finisher thefts and cool spots, plus it was easy to follow and not just a bunch of crazy three-way spots. Anyone could have won it and you didn’t know who was winning, which gave it a real sense of drama. Great, great stuff. ****1/2 The Rock v. Eddie Guerrero From RAW, July 2002. Are they just picking stuff at random or what? Eddie works the headlock to start, but Rock takes him down with armdrags and then clotheslines him to block his escape. Overhead suplex, but Eddie comes back with a backdrop suplex and stomps away in the corner. They slug it out and Eddie puts him down with a cheapshot and then pounds him on the ropes. Dropkick puts Rock down and Eddie hits the chinlock, then takes him down for a headscissors on the mat. That gets two, but Rock fights up, so Eddie clotheslines him down again and goes back to the chinlock. Rock fights up and wins a slugfest, into a DDT for two. Eddie clotheslines him down again, but Rock kips up and tries Rock Bottom, which Eddie reverses into a cradle for two. Slick. Eddie necksnaps him and pops up for the frog splash, but it misses and Rock finishes with the People’s Elbow at 8:29. A decent TV match, but it was mostly chinlock and nothing special. **1/2 – And finally… The Rock v. Steve Austin Their last meeting, from Wrestlemania XIX. They actually blur out Austin’s middle fingers for this DVD. What, did they lose a lawsuit over THAT, too? The promos leading up to this were almost as great as the match as the match is, which is why I’m hoping they include one in the extras. Slugfest to start and Austin tries a quick stunner, but Rock bails, so Austin follows him out and rams him into the railing. Rock meets the stairs and Austin drops him on the railing and clotheslines him onto the last surviving announce table, then prevents him from crawling back into the ring and drops him on the railing again and whips him into the stairs. And now we head back in, where Austin chokes him out and adds a backdrop suplex for two. He whips Rock into the corner and follows with a clothesline, then more choking on the ropes. Rock takes out the knee and brings him outside for punishment, then back in he goes to work on the knee properly. He wraps the knee around the post and then kicks Austin in the knee again to cut off a comeback attempt, which leads to the Scorpion King Deathlock. Austin makes the ropes, so Rock drags him out and wraps the knee around the post again. Then, the best, he steals Austin’s vest and MAKES IT WORK. He grabs the water bottle, but Austin takes him down with a clothesline to prevent any water from being spit at him. Thesz Press and Austin fires away on the mat and drops an elbow for two. Austin stomps the mudhole, but Rock fires back with a flying clothesline and kips up, only to walk into a Rock Bottom from Austin. So Rock fires back with a stunner and gets two. Slugfest and this time it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER with Rock taking his usual bump off it, and that gets two for Austin. Rock goes low, however, and tries the People’s Elbow, but Austin moves and they block each other’s finisher before Rock gets the spinebuster and the elbow for real. That gets two. Rock Bottom gets two, but Austin’s gumption just earns him another one, and that gets two as well. Great selling from Austin as you can see the pain on his face and Rock really sells the anger here. And finally, a third Rock Bottom ends the career of Steve Austin at 17:52, as there is no comeback this time. This was less of an entertainment spectacle (like in the glory days) and more of a battle of two heavyweight boxers trying for one last epic fight. Hell of a match, as JR put it. **** Extras And here’s where all the promos go. – From Heat, July 1999. The famous "God talked to Billy Gunn" promo that produced "It doesn’t matter what your name is." – From RAW, July 1999. Rock busts on "The Big Slow" and notes that fans go take a leak when they hear his music. – From RAW, September 1999. The pre-match promo where Rock makes fun of Kane’s voice box. – From RAW, November 1999. Rock taunts police officers who are investigating the Austin case. – From Smackdown, August 2000. Rock calls Kevin Kelly a hermaphrodite for the first time, thus turning him into "Hermie" from then on. – From RAW, December 2000. Rock actually remembers that he called Kevin Kelly a hermaphrodite in that same arena in August, and then does his imitations of the other five guys in the Hell in a Cell match ("Which means-uh that I’m gonna have to beat the Game-uh with his slut for a wife-uh"). I love that Rock is the only guy fearless and bullet-proof enough to just go out and rip on HHH and his Neanderthal grunting interviews. You’ll notice that no one else ever got to point that out. – From RAW, August 2001. Rock comes out to annoy Booker T and talk about his school days riding the short bus ("Beep beep!") and answering "Thomas Jefferson, sucka!" when asked what 2+2 equals. As a bonus, Jericho is also there to launch his attack on Stephanie McMahon and her gigantic boobies. Always an easy point. – From RAW, September 2001. "Go frost your hair or something, Michael." – From Smackdown, September 2001. Rock has the blues, so he drives to Memphis and meets Jerry Lee Lewis, then sings some "Great Balls of Fire". Apparently Jerry Lee loves pie as well, although I’d have to add that he only likes pie that’s not finished baking yet. – From Smackdown, January 2002. Rock moves onto abusing the Coach, getting him to admit he loves Barry Manilow and then forces him to sing "Copacabana" to really make him look like a dork. The bit is kind of ruined by the microphone breaking, but Rock works it out and then saves it with "Well Copa your ass on out of here and beat it." – From Smackdown, January 2002. Rock cuts a promo in the ring and brings the cameraman into it, taking the camera from him (which the producers immediately turn into "Rock Cam") and doing the shoot himself while abusing the poor guy. It’s crazy how he’s so entertaining that he can just do something like this and turn it into a classic promo. Sadly the Rock isn’t as good of a cameraman as he is a wrestler, but it’s still a great bit. – From Smackdown, January 2002. Another awesome bit of Coach abuse, as this time he’s forced to dance the Charleston to amuse the Rock. – From No Way Out 2002. The NWO goes to hang out with the Rock in the dressing room and take a picture, and Rock goes off on them, calling them Razor Ramon and Diesel (toot toot!) before storming off. – From Smackdown, July 2002. Rock brings Busta Rhymes out of the audience to hype the crappy new Halloween movie, and they do a song. Bleh. – From RAW, March 2003. Newly evil Rock practices singing backstage by ripping on Cleveland, but the Hurricane interrupts. Rock calls it a no holds barred match, so all superpowers are go. Heat vision, night vision, cable vision, you name it. Rock debuts the Hamburglar bit and shows off his comic chops, then sucker punches Hurricane. – From RAW, June 2004. Rock comes home to Miami and busts on the Dolphins at ringside ("Y’all make $20 million a year and you’re wearing free Nike gear there…"). – And finally, a montage of the Rock’s one-liners. Why did they include Rock’s song with Busta Rhymes earlier but not the rest of the interview, where he calls Kurt Angle "Dr. Evil"? Tons of great stuff here. Overall, I wouldn’t call it definitive by any means and the documentary is so perfunctory that they can’t even be bothered to have the Rock involved with it, but there’s some great matches here that deserve another look and make it well worth the purchase price. As usual, though, the audio is awful, sounding like all the matches were recorded in a giant tin can with the ring mike mixed WAY too high and the announcers mixed too low, which is really surprising for a company that’s normally so careful about being on the cutting edge of technology. Maybe it comes from all the overdubbing of music and blurring of logos they have to do, but it comes across as really bush league and they need to fix it. Anyway, it’s the Rock, it’s awesome if very flawed (Two Rock-Austin and FOUR Rock-HHH matches?), so pick it up.

Survivor Series Countdown, DVD Edition: The Rock (The Most Electrifying Man…)

The SmarK DVD Rant for The Rock – The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment – Well you knew I was going to hit THIS one sooner or later… Disc One Another day, another definitive three disc collection. This is part of the "new format" WWE releases, where they talk about a match and then show it, rather than the more traditional documentary followed by extra matches, except in this case the "talk and show" format is even more tacked-on than usual and it’s basically just a collection of matches. So we start with a brief history of Peter Maivia, as the narrator traces the complex family tree of Samoan wrestlers with a helpful graphic, and we get pictures of the young Rock at WWF shows before burning through his college career and into his WWF debut in 1996. Which brings us to… WWF Intercontinental title: Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Rocky Maivia. From Thursday RAW Thursday in Feb 1997. The video before the match has a quick shot of Hunter with Mr. Hughes as a bodyguard, which I don’t remember at all. This was of course the start of a very long and successful feud that saw them switch back and forth through several gimmick changes and personas between them, which is kind of weird when you think about it. They do a wrestling sequence to start and the fans immediately start with "Rocky sucks" as Hunter slaps him around off an Indian deathlock. JR notes that Hunter is quite cerebral, so blame him for that one. Rocky fires off a dropkick to put Hunter on the floor. Back in, the champ slugs away and drops an elbow on Rocky’s neck, then hits the chinlock. Rock fights up and another dropkick sends Hunter out again, and they brawl on the floor. Rock charges and hits the ringpost, something he’d never do later on. Back in, Hunter uses an armbar takedown and standing armbar to work on the arm. Rock fights up and falls victim to another armbar takedown, which gets two for the champ. Hunter throws chops in the corner and we take a break, returning with Hunter slugging away in the corner as Honky Tonk Man joins us at ringside. Hunter with the suplex and he follows with, what else, a kneedrop for two. Rock fights up again and Hunter puts him down with a high knee for two, once again showing the wide range of knee-related offense he used to be known for. Sleeper, but Rocky reverses, so Hunter runs him into the corner to break. Rock slugs back with his goofy offense and follows with a backdrop, then heads up with a high cross that Hunter rolls through for two. Hunter USES THE KNEE to stop the comeback and follows with a neckbreaker for two. Piledriver gets two. Hunter puts him on the top rope and brings him down with a superplex, which gets two. Pedigree looks to finish, but Rock reverses to a small package to win his first title and begin a career of greatness at 13:28. Started slow, got really good once the beatdown of Rocky produced the near-falls at the end, and although you could see the finish coming down Main Street it still worked. *** – The narrator dramatically relates how the crowds turned on him, although they use footage of his actual heel run in 1998 so that kind of deflates the point. We jump ahead to the Nation era from there as Rock takes over. WWF Intercontinental title: The Rock v. Owen Hart From RAW, April 1998. I thought they were showing the title change from April 97 rather than this one. Rock slugs away in the corner to start, but misses a charge and Owen takes him down with an armdrag. Rock escapes and slaps him around on the mat, but Owen controls with the armbar again. Kama Mustafa trips up Owen and gets thrown out as a result. Owen uses the distraction to grab a sleeper, but Rock reverses to the hurricane DDT for two. Shoulderbreaker sets up the People’s Elbow, which gets two. It was just a goofy move at that point rather than the finisher it became around October of that year. Rock charges and hits an elbow, allowing Owen to slug away and come back with a neckbreaker for two. Owen pounds him in the corner and follows with a leg lariat for two. Rock Bottom is blocked and Owen hits the ENZUIGIRI OF DEATH, into the Sharpshooter, but Chyna runs in for the DQ at 5:45. No idea why they picked this one. ** – So we get a quick video of the Nation v. DX feud, which brings us to King of the Ring 98’s quarterfinals… The Rock v. HHH From RAW, June ’98. Rock attacks and slugs away in the corner, and an elbow gets two. Rock puts him down with a clothesline for two. He puts his head down and Hunter hits him with a neckbreaker and slugs him in the corner, then follows with a suplex and kneedrop for two. Rock comes back with the DDT for two. Suplex gets two. People’s Elbow gets two. JR still won’t call it that, whereas Michael Cole in the Owen match did, so as much as it pains me to admit, I think Cole coined the term. Hope he gets royalties. Rock chokes away on the ropes and slugs HHH in the corner, then adds some rare choking. HHH slugs back and puts Rock down, then follows with the high knee and a facecrusher. Rock bails to escape, but then heads back in to gloat and gets laid out by Chyna. HHH gets two off that and then goes to the sleeper, but Rock reverses. Chyna distracts him into releasing it and Hunter goes for the Pedigree, but Rock goes low and finishes with a fisherman’s suplex at 8:07. We’re only three matches in and already it’s two clean jobs by HHH. Best DVD ever! Match was a typical TV match from the time. **1/2 – Later that year, Rock turns face and moves onto Survivor Series… WWF World title tournament finals: The Rock v. Mankind Another beginning of a long and successful feud. They fight for the lockup to start and Rock slugs him out of that and chokes away in the corner. Rock with a clothesline out of the corner for two and Mankind bails, as they brawl up the aisle and back in for a chinlock from Mankind. Vince and Shane join us at ringside as Rock fights out of the chinlock with a backdrop suplex and they hit the floor again. Mick goes for a suplex out there, but Rock reverses and goes after Vince, which allows Mankind to attack. Rock fights him off and gets a weak suplex onto the floor, and they brawl into the crowd and back again. Back in, Rock hits the chinlock as they’re having a rough time working out the match, according to Foley’s book, but Mankind fights up and puts Rock down with a knee to the gut. Cactus clothesline sends them back to the floor again and Mankind adds a chairshot. He picks up the stairs to follow, but Rock hammers it with the chair and then hits Mick in the face with it. Back in, that gets two. Rock slugs away in the corner, but Mick goes low and chokes him out on the ropes. Back to the floor, and Mick drops the elbow off the apron and then puts Rock on the table for a legdrop. Back in, that gets two. And Mick goes back to the chinlock again, but Rock fights up and slugs away until a blind charge puts him on the floor. Back in, Rock comes back with the DDT and slugs away, but charges again and gets dumped. Mick dives at him with another elbow, but Rock moves and Mick goes through the poor, defenseless Spanish announce table. Back in, it’s the People’s Elbow, which gets two. Mankind gets the DDT and it’s Mandible Sock time, but Rock reverses to Rock Bottom. Double KO, but Rock rolls over for two. Rock debuts his crappy version of the Sharpshooter, and Vince rings the bell, rings the fucking bell at 17:14 to make Rock the Corporate champion. This one never really got going, but they’d have far better ones just a couple of months later. **1/2 Last Man Standing: Mankind v. The Rock Now remember, there MUST be a winner. I actually forgot that Mankind was the champion at this point. And don’t forget, there absolutely has to be a winner, no exceptions. Rock attacks to start and goes for the knee that he injured on Sunday Night Heat. Mankind comes back with a belt to the head, and that gets an 8 count. They fight up the aisle and Rock gets sent into the set, but comes back and whips Mick into it as well. Over to the website table, where Mankind DDTs Rock through the table. Rock answers the bell at 8. Back to the crowd, where Rock gets a sudden backdrop suplex and Mick takes yet another bump onto concrete, but he’s up at 3. Back to ringside and Rock gets whipped into the stairs. Into the ring for a People’s Elbow from Mankind, but it misses. Well, he’s not the Great One. Rock comes back and slugs Mick out of the ring, and follows with a suplex on the floor. Rock takes a break to do color commentary while the ref counts Mick down, but he’s up at 7. Rock threatens to give him “A Rock burger with a little extra Rock sauce on the side” but Mick attacks him to cut off the food-related smack talk and drops the elbow from the apron to the table. Rock answers the bell at 8. Back into the ring and Mankind charges with the stairs, but gets them kicked back in his face. Rock gets a chair and goes after the knee again, but does the silly spot where he hits the ropes and knocks himself out with it. Cactus clothesline puts both guys on the floor and they brawl back to the announce table again. Mick goes for a piledriver, but Rock backdrops him into the timekeeper’s table and thus hurts the leg again. Rock tosses the stairs onto Mick’s leg for good measure in a sick spot, but Mick still answers the bell. Rock grabs the mike and stops to sing “Smackdown Hotel”, but Mick awakes and gives him the Mandible Sock in mid-chorus. Rock answers the bell at 8 and comes back with a DDT, which puts Mankind down for 8. Mankind gets his own DDT for 8. Mr. Socko is countered with Rock Bottom and then they hit each other with chairs, and it’s a draw at 21:52. The crowd chants “bullshit”, rightly so given that they stressed several times that there MUST BE A WINNER. Definitely the lesser of their series, as they had good chemistry but not epic chemistry like Rock and Austin did. *** WWF World title, ladder match: Mankind v. The Rock From the next night on RAW, this is the forgotten match in their series. Rock cuts a weird promo about getting Mankind drunk on tequila and fisting him or something, which should at least creep Mick out if not intimidate him. Mick attacks to start and they fight on the floor, resulting in Rock meeting the stairs, followed by Mick. Rock tosses a chair into the ring and smashes Mick’s knee into it, allowing him to retrieve the ladder, but Mick beats him down with the chair and hits a People’s Elbow of his own. Mick does the first climb, but Rock puts him down with the chair and clips him. He sandwiches the leg in the ladder and pounds it with the chair, allowing him to climb for the belt. Mick yanks him off to stop him and puts him down with the chair again, but Rock puts him down with the chair and slugs away on the ropes. Mankind goes low and they fight to the floor, taking it into the crowd, where Mick puts Rock on a piece of railing and drops an elbow on him. A second one misses, allowing Rock to bring him back to ringside with a clothesline over the railing and take over. They fight up the ramp, where Rock suplexes him on the ramp, then chokes him out with a cable at ringside. Mick whips him into the stairs, however, and drops them on Rock’s back, and it’s over to that innocent Spanish table again. Mick wants a piledriver, but Rock reverses to Rock Bottom to put him through. Back in, Rock climbs, but Mick goes low and adds the double-arm DDT, setting up Mr. Socko. Rock hits him in the face with the ladder to block that, and DDTs him to follow. Rock climbs and they slug it out on top, but Mick gets the Mandible Sock to put Rock down. Sadly, Big Show comes out and chokeslams him off to end the dream, and Rock regains the World title at 12:55. See, they cut all the crap out of this one and the result was a lean and mean street fight with minimal ladder "drama" like slow climbing and contrived spots. Me like. ***1/2 And that brings us to… WWF World title: The Rock v. Steve Austin From Wrestlemania XV. They actually alter the graphic to say "WWE champion", which makes me very sad. Rock attacks on the floor right away and slugs away in the ring, but Austin tosses him and they brawl into the crowd right away. Back to ringside, where Austin tosses Rock right back into the crowd again, forcing Rock to clothesline him over the railing and choke away with a cable. They brawl up the aisle and Rock takes some fairly crazy bumps onto the set pieces and into the lights, allowing Austin to choke him with another cable. Austin whips him into the Wrestlemania logo and they head back to ringside, where Austin tries a suplex and Rock reverses him onto the floor. Over to the announce position, where Rock stops to enjoy some water and spit it at Austin (as HHH goes "Hmmm…"), before Austin puts him on the Spanish table and drops an elbow off the railing. That fails to break the table, so he repeats the spot and that does the trick. Back in, Austin decides to toss Rock again and we’re back to the floor where Rock meets the stairs. Back in, we finally start the match proper, and Rock hits Rock Bottom for two. He grabs a chair and heads back in, but the ref gets wiped out via a nasty chairshot as a result and he’s done. Rock gets a neckbreaker and grabs the chair, but has to fight off a stunner before pounding on Austin’s knee with the chair. Massive chair to the face gets two as another ref joins us. Rock clothesline gets two, and we hit the chinlock. Austin fights up, so Rock clotheslines him again and goes back to it. Austin fights out, but walks into a samoan drop and Rock gets two. Rock is frustrated and takes it out on Tim White with a Rock Bottom, allowing Austin to hit KICK WHAM STUNNER for two, as we have a third ref in the form of Earl Hebner. Vince heads out to deal with things himself, distracting him long enough for Rock to go low, and he joins into a beatdown in the corner as the ref gets bumped yet again. Mankind returns from the hospital to save and gets rid of Vince, and Austin cradles Rock for two. Thesz Press and elbowdrop follow, but Rock comes back with a clothesline and Rock Bottom into the People’s Elbow…which misses. KICK WHAM STUNNER and it’s the World title for Austin at 16:47. This was suitably big and epic and had all the big spots, but they still had better in them to come. ***1/2 Disc Two And so 1999 brings us around to Rock v. HHH again, this time in a cage… Cage match: HHH v. The Rock From RAW, July 1999. Usual lame escape rules here. Rock slugs away to start and elbows him down, but HHH comes back with a clothesline and slugs away in the corner. Rock comes out of the corner with a clothesline and lays the smackdown before climbing, but HHH pulls him down and Rock takes a SWEET bump straight down to the mat, hitting his chin on the turnbuckle on the way down. HHH follows with a suplex into a kneedrop, allowing him to go for the door, but Rock grabs the leg to block. Chyna slips her man some handcuffs, allowing Hunter to pound Rock down and send him into the cage. He tries to cuff Rock to the cage, but Rock goes low and comes back before putting his head down and getting caught with a neckbreaker. HHH climbs and fights off Rock, but gets yanked down with an armdrag in another spot you don’t see very much. Jim Ross is really obsessing about "the rankings" here, as in the consequences that this match will have on them. Rock goes for the door, but Chyna bumps the ref and then slams the door on him, allowing HHH to walk out and win. Well, except that there’s no ref, so the match MUST CONTINUE. They brawl up the ramp and HHH tries the Pedigree on the floor, but Rock catapults him into the cage and drags him back in. And away we go again, as Rock sends him into the cage on all sides and then follows with a samoan drop. Another weird exchange as Chyna protests to the ref that HHH walked out and Lawler relates that, and JR responds "She’s a liar!" No she’s not! HHH clearly walked out and won the match! You can call Chyna a lot of mean names, but this is just unnecessary aspersions on her character. Rock climbs up and fires off a double axehandle, just for the hell of it, but HHH hits him with the facecrusher and sends him into the cage to set up a clothesline for a double KO. HHH recovers first and climbs the cage, but Rock follows him up and grabs him by the hair. No wonder it went downhill so fast, with treatment like that! Maybe he let it get all gross and greasy to prevent just that from happening. They slug it out on top of the cage until Chyna throws a chair up for HHH to use, but he gets cocky and falls on his cock as a result. So Rock is out and laying on top of the cage and HHH is crawling for the door, but Rock recovers first and exits to win at 13:55. Sadly they cut out Billy Gunn’s attack on him post-match, which robs me of the opportunity to mention that Hulk Hogan once used that attack as an example of how he taught Vince McMahon everything about wrestling that Vince knows. Seriously. Booking was pretty wacky here, but there was enough cool spots to make it worth checking out. ***1/4 WWF World tag titles: Undertaker & Big Show v. The Rock N Sock Connection I could have SWORN I reviewed this recently, but I can’t find it anywhere. Anyway, this is from my birthday in 1999 on RAW. Show gets double-teamed by the faces to start and Rock stomps him down, but Mankind walks into a sideslam. Show chokes Mankind out on the ropes and puts him down with a headbutt, and Taker adds a shot into the stairs. Back in, Show gets a powerslam for two. Show goes to the bearhug. Mick bites out of it, but runs into an elbow and gets sent to the floor again for more punishment from Undertaker. Show slams Mick on a previously-smashed table, but Undertaker and Paul Bearer decide to walk out of the match. This allows Rock to get the hot tag, but Show hits them both with a double clothesline. Chokeslam for the Rock and he kicks a chair back in Mankind’s face, but Rock kicks out at two. Show misses an elbow and he falls victim to Mr. Socko and then Mr. Chair, which sets up a Double People’s Elbow to finish and give them the tag titles at 8:10. Boring match, great finish. ** – The ultra-serious narrator talks us through "smackdown" making the dictionary and Rock singing about taking a leak during Big Slow matches. The Rock v. Kane From Smackdown, December 1999. Kane slugs away in the corner, but Rock fires back and gets a neckbreaker. Kane sits up, so Rock clotheslines him to the floor and they fight up the ramp. Kane goes low, but Rock slugs him off the ramp and through a table on the floor. That looked pretty silly, with Kane taking a huge leap like a cartoon character off a simple punch. Kane quickly recovers and chokeslams Rock through another conveniently placed table. They head back to ringside and Rock whips him into the stairs before grabbing a chair, but he gets wrapped up with Tori. Kane accidently clotheslines her, allowing Rock to finish with a chairshot and Rock Bottom at 5:08. Another middling match that is kind of a weird addition. ** – And once again we’re back to Rock v. HHH, albeit with the high point of that feud. WWF World title: HHH v. The Rock From Backlash 2000, with Shane as guest referee. You could probably call this one the pinnacle of Rock’s career without fear of contradiction, as he’s at his most popular in the highest-profile match against his biggest enemy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: THIS should have been the main event of Wrestlemania 2000, not the clusterfuck we got instead. They slug it out to start and HHH wins that, but Rock fires back and puts him down. HHH quickly tries the Pedigree, but Rock backdrops out of it and lays the smackdown in the corner. HHH recovers with a neckbreaker and tosses him, then rams him into the table. Vince adds a ride into the ringpost for good measure, and back in HHH and Shane share a tender hug before HHH gets two. High knee gets two and he adds a suplex, which sets up the kneedrop for two. He works the count and Shane counts quicker each time, but Rock keeps escaping. Rock slugs back, so HHH grabs a sleeper, which turns into a chinlock on the mat. Rock fights up, so HHH uses the ropes (which Shane ignores) and puts himself back in control. Rock fights up and HHH clotheslines him down again for two, then pounds away in the corner until Rock hotshots him to escape. He comes back, but they clothesline each other, which gives Shane the chance to help HHH up. Shane’s performance here is something to see. And while Shane is "distracted", Vince pops up and nails Rock with the belt, which gives HHH two. A very FAST two, at that. They’re just pushing all the crowd’s buttons with this stuff and it’s tremendous. Rock has had ENOUGH and spit-punches him in the corner, then dumps him and injures HHH’s arm in the process. They fight on the floor and Rock drops him on the table to hurt the shoulder further, and back in where Rock puts his head down and gets caught. But then so does HHH, and Rock DDTs him, but you know Shane’s not counting. And the crowd just LOSES it, so Rock puts Shane out and they fight to the floor again. If you want a textbook example of the crowd reacting EXACTLY how you want them to, it’s this match. HHH sends him into the stairs and follows with the Pedigree attempt on the table, but Rock goes low and gives both him and Shane a Rock Bottom at the same time! The crowd just goes INSANE and Vince’s open-mouthed reaction shot is awesome. So Shane is done, but Rock drags HHH in and gets jumped from behind by Vince. HHH goes low and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, but we have no ref. But we do have the Stooges in ref shirts, who beat Rocky down until you just know there’s a big payoff coming here. And just when Vince is setting up with a chair to finish things, Austin’s music hits and it’s pandemonium. Chair for HHH! Chair for Patterson! Chair for Brisco! Chair for Shane! Chair for Vince! Kinda sad because Austin’s neck is still so bad that he can hardly walk, but the crowd doesn’t care. Everyone is dead except for Rock, and finally Linda brings Earl Hebner back after the whole Jericho thing on RAW left him fired, and the People’s Elbow means Game Over, finally, at 19:23, and I’m still marking out watching it 8 years later. That! Was! Awesome! Kudos to everyone involved because this was a magnificently crafted piece of professional wrestling drama and the kind of thing that made the Rock into the biggest wrestler ever. If they could pull this off with John Cena no one would ever boo him. The chinlock in the middle kind of slowed it down, but the booking paid off a million different storylines, and anything that nearly has me jumping up and yelling all those years later deserves every bit of praise I can heap on it. I daresay that from an entertainment standpoint this might be one of my favorite matches of all-time. Oh yeah, I went there. ****3/4 – The next night on RAW… WWF title, cage match: The Rock v. Shane McMahon Pat Patterson gets to be guest referee here. Shane immediately tries to climb out, but Rock pulls him in and elbows him down, then follows with a clothesline. Crowd lets Shane know that he’s a pussy, which according to Arrested Development means he’s a caring and sensitive guy. Shane tries to run for the door, but Rock yanks him out by the ankle with a London Bridge. Shane catches Rock with an elbow and chokes him out. Meanwhile, HHH pokes him with a sharp stick from outside. Sadly, Rock has no fresh fruit with which to counter, so he’s basically helpless. Luckily he’s able to catch the stick and breaks it on Shane, then rams him into the cage and beats on him in the corner. Rock stops to go after Patterson, allowing Shane to send him into the cage from behind and then climb. Rock follows him up and slugs away, but Patterson keeps pulling him down, resulting in Rock falling on the top rope. He hits Pat with a Rock Bottom and goes back after Shane, yanking him down and hitting the People’s Elbow. And Brisco of course slams the door on his head and HHH comes in for the beatdown, but here’s Stone Cold Earl Hebner again. He shoves Brisco into the cage and then slams the door on HHH, and Rock escapes at 9:20 to win. Fun but forgettable. *** – Moving onto the Angle era, as Rock drops the title, which brings us to No Way Out 2001. WWF World title: Kurt Angle v. The Rock. Angle attacks to start, but Rock hits him with a lariat out of the corner and they slug it out. Rock elbows him down and follows with a legsweep for two, but Angle fights back with a clothesline and stomps him down. Rock slugs back, but Angle takes him down into the anklelock, forcing Rock to make the ropes. Angle hits him with a pair of belly to belly suplexes, so Rock fires back with his own. He follows quickly with the Scorpion King Deathlock, but Angle makes the ropes. Rock keeps coming with a samoan drop for two. Angle comes back with a backdrop suplex and goes up, but Rock crotches him and brings him down with a superplex for two. Angle dumps him and Rock teases a leg injury, so Angle hauls him in and DDTs him. And with both out, we get a walk-in by the Big Show, as he chokeslams everyone (including the ref) and then leaves. I still have no idea what that was supposed to accomplish. Angle gets the cover out of that, for two. Funny bit there as Earl Hebner and Tim White carry the poor traumatized ref out, but Earl drops him to make the count. He’s a REFEREE, dammit, that’s what he does! Rock recovers and hits Angle with the title, for two. Rock is openly limping now, so Angle POUNCES and hooks the anklelock, then hauls Rock into the middle of the ring, slams the knee on the mat, and hooks it again. This gives us the classic "TAP OUT OR I’LL BREAK YOUR FUCKING ANKLE!" quote, but Rock makes the ropes. Kurt keeps on the leg, but Rock fights up until his leg gives out, which allows Angle to pound on him. Rock gets a desperation spinebuster and People’s Elbow, but that only gets two. Nice touch with Rock limping during the Elbow. The crowd chants "bullshit" at Angle kicking out of it, because THAT’S the ludicrous thing — someone kicking out of the People’s Elbow. It’s amazing how something so silly can become a deadly finisher. Rock gets upset with the ref, which allows Angle to hit him in the People’s Junk, and he undoes a turnbuckle for full heel effect. Rock tries Rock Bottom, but Angle sends him into the steel, and into an Angle Slam for two. Where’s the bullshit chant now, Las Vegas? Rock slugs away in the corner, but Angle goes with the easy solution and kicks him in the leg, so Rock sends him into the steel and it’s Rock Bottom…for two. Angle didn’t actually kick out, but the ref stopped counting for some reason. So Rock hits another one and regains the WWF title at 16:52. This was a war of attrition, although you have to know that given another year of development for Angle it would have had another 10 minutes of trading finishers added onto it. ****1/2 – The end of the Monday Night Wars brings us to… WCW World title: Booker T v. The Rock From Summerslam 2001. Slugfest to start and Rock runs Booker into Shane, then puts him down with a samoan drop for two. Booker comes back with chops, but Rock clotheslines him and cradles for two. Yeah, Rock busted out La Majastral, wanna fight about it? Book kicks him down again for two. Slugfest is won by the Rock and he tosses Booker, as they brawl on the floor. Rock puts him on the table and gives him the most blatant nutshot in PPV history, but Booker recovers and rams him into the stairs, followed by an atomic drop onto the railing. They head into the crowd, where Booker whips him into a barricade and follows with a clothesline, then they head back to ringside. They slug it out, but Rock gets whipped into the post, and Booker drops him on the railing to follow. They just can’t seem to get their chemistry together out there. Back in, Booker slugs him down for two and puts him down with a short clothesline. Kneedrop follows, and Rock fights up only to get put down by a forearm that gets two. And Booker hits the chinlock as this is just going nowhere. Rock comes back with the Scorpion King Deathlock, but Shane McMahon distracts the ref and Rock breaks, only to walk into a superkick that gets two for Booker. Rock takes him down again and catapults him into the corner, followed by a DDT for two. Shane sneaks in with the belt and puts Rock down, but the APA chases him into Bradshaw’s clothesline. Lemme tell ya, Shane selling the Clothesline from Hell is like * by itself. In the ring, Bookend gets two, but Rock slugs back and gets the flying forearm. Overhead belly to belly gets two. Spinebuster and People’s Elbow get two, as Shane pulls the referee out. Rock stops to give him a Rock Bottom on the floor and then lays the smackdown on Booker in the corner, but Booker comes back with his own spinebuster. However, he makes the fatal error and stops for the Spinarooni, which allows Rock to pop up and finish with the Rock Bottom at 15:17, improbably marking the first time the WCW World title would change hands on a WWF PPV. The match was competent enough, but they just had no flash together. *** – So at Vengeance 2001, Chris Jericho unifies the belts into the Undisputed title and defends against Rock at Royal Rumble 2002… Undisputed World title: Chris Jericho v. The Rock This was scheduled to be Jericho v. RVD for quite a while, actually, before Rob’s push got yanked out from under him in rather abrupt manner. This is something of a lost classic as well, which is why I’m glad it’s getting exposure again on this DVD. Jericho talks some trash and tells him to just bring it, so Rock brings it. Samoan drop gets two and Jericho runs away, right into a spear from the Rock. Rock slugs away, but Jericho hits him with a forearm and a corner clothesline before charging and hitting the post. Rock charges in and Jericho hotshots him, then punts him into the corner. He throws chops, but Rock fires back, so Jericho hits a leg lariat for two. Suplex and the ARROGANT COVER~! get two. He undoes a turnbuckle and tries the Walls of Jericho, but Rock reverses out, so Jericho gets a low dropkick and pounds away on the mat. Missile dropkick gets two. He goes to a chinlock and then heads up, but Rock crotches him and throws chops to set up a superplex. Rock slugs away and hits the overhead suplex for two, but Jericho rebounds out of the corner with the bulldog and Lionsault. Another one gets two. He goes up with another missile dropkick, but Rock catches him with the Scorpion King Deathlock, which draws Christian and Lance Storm out for the distraction, as Christian uses the belt to knock Rock out. I seem to recall some sort of Canadian Horsemen idea floating around at the time before it got shot down and forgotten about soon after this. Jericho gets a senton, but stops to go for the Canadian Elbow and gets tossed by the Rock as a result. They head to the floor and Jericho drops Rock on the table to set up for Jericho Bottom, but Rock fights out and gets his own, putting Jericho through the OTHER table as a result. Back in, that gets two. Rock tries another Rock Bottom, but Jericho reverses to the Walls, which actually draws a FACE pop from the crowd, or at least a good chunk of it. Rock makes the ropes and then cradles for two, but Jericho boots him down again. Rock pops up with the flying forearm, but wipes out the ref, and Jericho hits him with a belt and Evil Ref Nick Patrick counts two. Rock fires back with a DDT, but Patrick won’t count because he’s EVIL. Rock gives him Rock Bottom for his impudence and hits Jericho with the spinebuster and People’s Elbow, but there’s still no ref. Jericho goes low and rams Rock into the steel turnbuckle, then uses the ropes (but sadly not the tights) to pin him at 19:11 and retain. That’s like Ric Flair’s Greatest Hits all in one shot. Still great stuff, hard work from both all around. **** Disc Three The Rock v. Hollywood Hogan Man, this is STILL an interesting match to watch. Here’s the original review, with some added comments and my new rating. I had the feeling that this was going to be one of those matches that was gonna earn me hate mail no matter which side of the fence I went with. I was right. I also would’ve thought that this would go on last, since it was being promoted as the main event and all. Hogan gets a MONSTER pop, as I once again worry about the future of mankind. Rock gets a big heel pop. Hogan wins a lockup and the crowd ROARS. JR interprets this as a “mixed reaction”. I’d hate to hear what they’d sound like if they were booing Rock, then. Hogan pounds away and gets a clothesline, but Rock back with the forearm and gets roasted by the crowd. This is just vicious. Shoving match and Rock slugs Hogan down and out. Back in, Rock with the lariat, but Rock Bottom is blocked. Hogan gets the elbowdrops. That limp is getting really pronounced on Hogan’s part. Backdrop suplex gets two. Abdominal stretch into a rollup gets two. Man, that was his rear special in WCW v. nWo World Tour, but that’s the first time I’ve seen him use it in real life in like the past 20 years. Hogan goes to the BACKRAKES OF DOOM (which Rock sells like he’s being clawed by the fingernails of a Sinanju Master) and of course the crowd eats it all up. Rock chops him, but Hogan chokes him out for a while. Rock gets tossed and Hogan beats on him outside. Table is prepped but goes unused. Back in, ref bumped, and Rock gets a spinebuster and Sharpshooter, no ref, but a big heel reaction. Jesus, Toronto, just because the Leafs suck, don’t take it out on someone who CAN win the big one. The crowd just completely turns on Rock, so Hogan goes low and gets a huge face pop and then uses his own Rock Bottom for two. Hogan uses the belt, but Rock DDTs him and fires right back. JR is still insisting that the reaction is mixed. Stuff like that makes him sound like Tony Schiavone. Hulk Up time. Big boot and STINKY WART-INFESTED GIANT-KILLING LEGDROP OF DOOM, but Rock kicks out at two. Big boot again, but the legdrop misses. Rock gives him two Rock Bottoms for good measure, and finishes with the People’s Elbow at 16:22. That was one of the best-booked bad matches I’ve seen – I’ve gotta admit, even I was cheering pretty vociferously for Rock (more than usual) by the end and getting into it. After several viewings, I’m up to about *** for it, because it’s actually a match I can watch without getting too bored with it. I’ve seen it rated higher and lower and I won’t argue too strenuously with either interpretation. The crowd’s insane reaction to the comeback alone makes this one worthy of history. In retrospect, this was the match that turned the Rock from A-level wrestler into larger-than-life future Hollywood personality, and was perhaps the only time that Hogan actually passed the proverbial torch and never got to take it back again. Consider that Hogan not only allowed Rock to kick out of the legdrop, but then took BOTH of Rock’s finishers and laid down clean for him. Sadly (for wrestling), Rock would take that rub and become a bigger star than wrestling could support any longer. However, I’m still glad he got away when he did so he’ll always be remembered as the guy who left at his peak instead of turning into a one-note joke like Steve Austin or, indeed, Hulk Hogan. Undisputed World title: Undertaker v. The Rock v. Kurt Angle This is from Vengeance 2002, really another one of those forgotten PPVs, and it’s really worth picking up on DVD for cheap if you find it. Kurt is rocking the red white and blue camo tights tonight, which I don’t think can help you hide anywhere but an American flag factory, but it looks cool. Undertaker was in that weird Booger Red phase where he was kind of a biker, but with short hair and some MMA mixed in. Two-way staredown to start which has Angle feeling left out, so the other two jump him to make him feel better. Taker boots him down and Rock dumps him with a clothesline to get rid of him. Ha! Taker pounds on Rock in the corner, but Rock slugs back until Taker puts him down with the flying clothesline. Rock comes right back with a clothesline to put him on the floor and Angle tosses Taker into the railing, then we head in with Angle v. Rock. Kurt throws the release german suplex and stomps away in the corner, but Rock comes back with chops until Angle throws the overhead suplex. Crowd chants "Angle sucks", so he throws another suplex to shut them up. Man, Kurt Angle was the shit once upon a time, back when he was having FUN with his career. Rock comes back with a DDT for two and they brawl outside, which results in Angle getting jumped by Undertaker. Taker goes after Rock and sends him back in for some punishment in the corner, but Rock slugs back until he walks into a sideslam, which gets two. Rock actually chokeslams Undertaker, which you don’t see EVER, and that gets two. Angle gets involved again and pounds away on Rock, but Rock clotheslines him down and anklelocks him, so Angle reverses to a Rock Bottom for two. Taker breaks it up with a legdrop and hits Angle with an Angle Slam, which gets two. Rock breaks it up, so Taker elbows him down, but Rock pops up and tosses Angle, then hits Undertaker with the spinebuster and People’s Elbow. Angle saves, however, pulling Rock out and dropping him on the table, then sneaking in for the cover, which gets two. Angle pounds on Taker in the corner, but that doesn’t get him very far, and Taker fires back with a corner clothesline. Angle comes back and charges, but hits the ringpost and lands on the floor. They brawl out there and Taker sends him into the post, but Rock uses the EVIAN SPIT OF DEATH on Taker and slugs away. That only annoys UT and he pounds Rock onto the table as a result before going back to Angle, who is now bleeding. After that shot to the post, I’d hope so. Taker guillotines him on the apron and pounds him down, which gives JR his chance to say "surcease" for the match. You know he’s into it when he busts that one out. Old school time, although the crowd doesn’t know to yell that yet, but Rock pops back in and gives him a cheeky smackdown. Taker puts him down with a DDT, however, perhaps in retaliation for Rock’s "revving the motorbike" motions, I dunno. Angle tries using a chair and gets pinballed by the other two for his troubles, but neither Rock nor Undertaker can hit their finisher on each other. Rock goes low and Angle flattens Taker with his chair, then hits Rock with the Angle Slam. That gets two on Taker, and then two on Rock. Logistically speaking he would have been better off to pin Rock first, of course, but that’s half the fun here. Angle sets up again to finish Rock, but he gets taken down into the Scorpion King Deathlock, which Taker is forced to break up. Last Ride for the Rock (and another reason why Rock rules — he does a spit take as he lands to emphasize the impact!), but Angle puts Taker in the anklelock before he can make the pin. Taker powers out of it and tries to powerbomb Angle, but Kurt counters with the triangle choke. OK, was that before or after the famous UFC thing that inspired that Angle-UT draw on Smackdown, because that whole era is a blur to me. That leaves both Angle and Taker woozy and Rock swoops in for the kill, but Angle was just faking and takes Rock down with the anklelock as this just gets more awesome. Rock reverses to a cradle for two, and Taker chokeslams Angle, but walks into Rock Bottom to give Rock two. Angle rolls the Rock up for two, but Taker boots Rock down and Angle gives Taker the Angle Slam. The straps are down, but Rock gets Rock Bottom and pins him to win the title at 19:35. TREMENDOUS! This was an awesome three-way, great because it featured all the finisher thefts and cool spots, plus it was easy to follow and not just a bunch of crazy three-way spots. Anyone could have won it and you didn’t know who was winning, which gave it a real sense of drama. Great, great stuff. ****1/2 The Rock v. Eddie Guerrero From RAW, July 2002. Are they just picking stuff at random or what? Eddie works the headlock to start, but Rock takes him down with armdrags and then clotheslines him to block his escape. Overhead suplex, but Eddie comes back with a backdrop suplex and stomps away in the corner. They slug it out and Eddie puts him down with a cheapshot and then pounds him on the ropes. Dropkick puts Rock down and Eddie hits the chinlock, then takes him down for a headscissors on the mat. That gets two, but Rock fights up, so Eddie clotheslines him down again and goes back to the chinlock. Rock fights up and wins a slugfest, into a DDT for two. Eddie clotheslines him down again, but Rock kips up and tries Rock Bottom, which Eddie reverses into a cradle for two. Slick. Eddie necksnaps him and pops up for the frog splash, but it misses and Rock finishes with the People’s Elbow at 8:29. A decent TV match, but it was mostly chinlock and nothing special. **1/2 – And finally… The Rock v. Steve Austin Their last meeting, from Wrestlemania XIX. They actually blur out Austin’s middle fingers for this DVD. What, did they lose a lawsuit over THAT, too? The promos leading up to this were almost as great as the match as the match is, which is why I’m hoping they include one in the extras. Slugfest to start and Austin tries a quick stunner, but Rock bails, so Austin follows him out and rams him into the railing. Rock meets the stairs and Austin drops him on the railing and clotheslines him onto the last surviving announce table, then prevents him from crawling back into the ring and drops him on the railing again and whips him into the stairs. And now we head back in, where Austin chokes him out and adds a backdrop suplex for two. He whips Rock into the corner and follows with a clothesline, then more choking on the ropes. Rock takes out the knee and brings him outside for punishment, then back in he goes to work on the knee properly. He wraps the knee around the post and then kicks Austin in the knee again to cut off a comeback attempt, which leads to the Scorpion King Deathlock. Austin makes the ropes, so Rock drags him out and wraps the knee around the post again. Then, the best, he steals Austin’s vest and MAKES IT WORK. He grabs the water bottle, but Austin takes him down with a clothesline to prevent any water from being spit at him. Thesz Press and Austin fires away on the mat and drops an elbow for two. Austin stomps the mudhole, but Rock fires back with a flying clothesline and kips up, only to walk into a Rock Bottom from Austin. So Rock fires back with a stunner and gets two. Slugfest and this time it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER with Rock taking his usual bump off it, and that gets two for Austin. Rock goes low, however, and tries the People’s Elbow, but Austin moves and they block each other’s finisher before Rock gets the spinebuster and the elbow for real. That gets two. Rock Bottom gets two, but Austin’s gumption just earns him another one, and that gets two as well. Great selling from Austin as you can see the pain on his face and Rock really sells the anger here. And finally, a third Rock Bottom ends the career of Steve Austin at 17:52, as there is no comeback this time. This was less of an entertainment spectacle (like in the glory days) and more of a battle of two heavyweight boxers trying for one last epic fight. Hell of a match, as JR put it. **** Extras And here’s where all the promos go. – From Heat, July 1999. The famous "God talked to Billy Gunn" promo that produced "It doesn’t matter what your name is." – From RAW, July 1999. Rock busts on "The Big Slow" and notes that fans go take a leak when they hear his music. – From RAW, September 1999. The pre-match promo where Rock makes fun of Kane’s voice box. – From RAW, November 1999. Rock taunts police officers who are investigating the Austin case. – From Smackdown, August 2000. Rock calls Kevin Kelly a hermaphrodite for the first time, thus turning him into "Hermie" from then on. – From RAW, December 2000. Rock actually remembers that he called Kevin Kelly a hermaphrodite in that same arena in August, and then does his imitations of the other five guys in the Hell in a Cell match ("Which means-uh that I’m gonna have to beat the Game-uh with his slut for a wife-uh"). I love that Rock is the only guy fearless and bullet-proof enough to just go out and rip on HHH and his Neanderthal grunting interviews. You’ll notice that no one else ever got to point that out. – From RAW, August 2001. Rock comes out to annoy Booker T and talk about his school days riding the short bus ("Beep beep!") and answering "Thomas Jefferson, sucka!" when asked what 2+2 equals. As a bonus, Jericho is also there to launch his attack on Stephanie McMahon and her gigantic boobies. Always an easy point. – From RAW, September 2001. "Go frost your hair or something, Michael." – From Smackdown, September 2001. Rock has the blues, so he drives to Memphis and meets Jerry Lee Lewis, then sings some "Great Balls of Fire". Apparently Jerry Lee loves pie as well, although I’d have to add that he only likes pie that’s not finished baking yet. – From Smackdown, January 2002. Rock moves onto abusing the Coach, getting him to admit he loves Barry Manilow and then forces him to sing "Copacabana" to really make him look like a dork. The bit is kind of ruined by the microphone breaking, but Rock works it out and then saves it with "Well Copa your ass on out of here and beat it." – From Smackdown, January 2002. Rock cuts a promo in the ring and brings the cameraman into it, taking the camera from him (which the producers immediately turn into "Rock Cam") and doing the shoot himself while abusing the poor guy. It’s crazy how he’s so entertaining that he can just do something like this and turn it into a classic promo. Sadly the Rock isn’t as good of a cameraman as he is a wrestler, but it’s still a great bit. – From Smackdown, January 2002. Another awesome bit of Coach abuse, as this time he’s forced to dance the Charleston to amuse the Rock. – From No Way Out 2002. The NWO goes to hang out with the Rock in the dressing room and take a picture, and Rock goes off on them, calling them Razor Ramon and Diesel (toot toot!) before storming off. – From Smackdown, July 2002. Rock brings Busta Rhymes out of the audience to hype the crappy new Halloween movie, and they do a song. Bleh. – From RAW, March 2003. Newly evil Rock practices singing backstage by ripping on Cleveland, but the Hurricane interrupts. Rock calls it a no holds barred match, so all superpowers are go. Heat vision, night vision, cable vision, you name it. Rock debuts the Hamburglar bit and shows off his comic chops, then sucker punches Hurricane. – From RAW, June 2004. Rock comes home to Miami and busts on the Dolphins at ringside ("Y’all make $20 million a year and you’re wearing free Nike gear there…"). – And finally, a montage of the Rock’s one-liners. Why did they include Rock’s song with Busta Rhymes earlier but not the rest of the interview, where he calls Kurt Angle "Dr. Evil"? Tons of great stuff here. Overall, I wouldn’t call it definitive by any means and the documentary is so perfunctory that they can’t even be bothered to have the Rock involved with it, but there’s some great matches here that deserve another look and make it well worth the purchase price. As usual, though, the audio is awful, sounding like all the matches were recorded in a giant tin can with the ring mike mixed WAY too high and the announcers mixed too low, which is really surprising for a company that’s normally so careful about being on the cutting edge of technology. Maybe it comes from all the overdubbing of music and blurring of logos they have to do, but it comes across as really bush league and they need to fix it. Anyway, it’s the Rock, it’s awesome if very flawed (Two Rock-Austin and FOUR Rock-HHH matches?), so pick it up.

Survivor Series Countdown, DVD Edition: The Rock (The Most Electrifying Man…)

The SmarK DVD Rant for The Rock – The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment – Well you knew I was going to hit THIS one sooner or later… Disc One Another day, another definitive three disc collection. This is part of the "new format" WWE releases, where they talk about a match and then show it, rather than the more traditional documentary followed by extra matches, except in this case the "talk and show" format is even more tacked-on than usual and it’s basically just a collection of matches. So we start with a brief history of Peter Maivia, as the narrator traces the complex family tree of Samoan wrestlers with a helpful graphic, and we get pictures of the young Rock at WWF shows before burning through his college career and into his WWF debut in 1996. Which brings us to… WWF Intercontinental title: Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Rocky Maivia. From Thursday RAW Thursday in Feb 1997. The video before the match has a quick shot of Hunter with Mr. Hughes as a bodyguard, which I don’t remember at all. This was of course the start of a very long and successful feud that saw them switch back and forth through several gimmick changes and personas between them, which is kind of weird when you think about it. They do a wrestling sequence to start and the fans immediately start with "Rocky sucks" as Hunter slaps him around off an Indian deathlock. JR notes that Hunter is quite cerebral, so blame him for that one. Rocky fires off a dropkick to put Hunter on the floor. Back in, the champ slugs away and drops an elbow on Rocky’s neck, then hits the chinlock. Rock fights up and another dropkick sends Hunter out again, and they brawl on the floor. Rock charges and hits the ringpost, something he’d never do later on. Back in, Hunter uses an armbar takedown and standing armbar to work on the arm. Rock fights up and falls victim to another armbar takedown, which gets two for the champ. Hunter throws chops in the corner and we take a break, returning with Hunter slugging away in the corner as Honky Tonk Man joins us at ringside. Hunter with the suplex and he follows with, what else, a kneedrop for two. Rock fights up again and Hunter puts him down with a high knee for two, once again showing the wide range of knee-related offense he used to be known for. Sleeper, but Rocky reverses, so Hunter runs him into the corner to break. Rock slugs back with his goofy offense and follows with a backdrop, then heads up with a high cross that Hunter rolls through for two. Hunter USES THE KNEE to stop the comeback and follows with a neckbreaker for two. Piledriver gets two. Hunter puts him on the top rope and brings him down with a superplex, which gets two. Pedigree looks to finish, but Rock reverses to a small package to win his first title and begin a career of greatness at 13:28. Started slow, got really good once the beatdown of Rocky produced the near-falls at the end, and although you could see the finish coming down Main Street it still worked. *** – The narrator dramatically relates how the crowds turned on him, although they use footage of his actual heel run in 1998 so that kind of deflates the point. We jump ahead to the Nation era from there as Rock takes over. WWF Intercontinental title: The Rock v. Owen Hart From RAW, April 1998. I thought they were showing the title change from April 97 rather than this one. Rock slugs away in the corner to start, but misses a charge and Owen takes him down with an armdrag. Rock escapes and slaps him around on the mat, but Owen controls with the armbar again. Kama Mustafa trips up Owen and gets thrown out as a result. Owen uses the distraction to grab a sleeper, but Rock reverses to the hurricane DDT for two. Shoulderbreaker sets up the People’s Elbow, which gets two. It was just a goofy move at that point rather than the finisher it became around October of that year. Rock charges and hits an elbow, allowing Owen to slug away and come back with a neckbreaker for two. Owen pounds him in the corner and follows with a leg lariat for two. Rock Bottom is blocked and Owen hits the ENZUIGIRI OF DEATH, into the Sharpshooter, but Chyna runs in for the DQ at 5:45. No idea why they picked this one. ** – So we get a quick video of the Nation v. DX feud, which brings us to King of the Ring 98’s quarterfinals… The Rock v. HHH From RAW, June ’98. Rock attacks and slugs away in the corner, and an elbow gets two. Rock puts him down with a clothesline for two. He puts his head down and Hunter hits him with a neckbreaker and slugs him in the corner, then follows with a suplex and kneedrop for two. Rock comes back with the DDT for two. Suplex gets two. People’s Elbow gets two. JR still won’t call it that, whereas Michael Cole in the Owen match did, so as much as it pains me to admit, I think Cole coined the term. Hope he gets royalties. Rock chokes away on the ropes and slugs HHH in the corner, then adds some rare choking. HHH slugs back and puts Rock down, then follows with the high knee and a facecrusher. Rock bails to escape, but then heads back in to gloat and gets laid out by Chyna. HHH gets two off that and then goes to the sleeper, but Rock reverses. Chyna distracts him into releasing it and Hunter goes for the Pedigree, but Rock goes low and finishes with a fisherman’s suplex at 8:07. We’re only three matches in and already it’s two clean jobs by HHH. Best DVD ever! Match was a typical TV match from the time. **1/2 – Later that year, Rock turns face and moves onto Survivor Series… WWF World title tournament finals: The Rock v. Mankind Another beginning of a long and successful feud. They fight for the lockup to start and Rock slugs him out of that and chokes away in the corner. Rock with a clothesline out of the corner for two and Mankind bails, as they brawl up the aisle and back in for a chinlock from Mankind. Vince and Shane join us at ringside as Rock fights out of the chinlock with a backdrop suplex and they hit the floor again. Mick goes for a suplex out there, but Rock reverses and goes after Vince, which allows Mankind to attack. Rock fights him off and gets a weak suplex onto the floor, and they brawl into the crowd and back again. Back in, Rock hits the chinlock as they’re having a rough time working out the match, according to Foley’s book, but Mankind fights up and puts Rock down with a knee to the gut. Cactus clothesline sends them back to the floor again and Mankind adds a chairshot. He picks up the stairs to follow, but Rock hammers it with the chair and then hits Mick in the face with it. Back in, that gets two. Rock slugs away in the corner, but Mick goes low and chokes him out on the ropes. Back to the floor, and Mick drops the elbow off the apron and then puts Rock on the table for a legdrop. Back in, that gets two. And Mick goes back to the chinlock again, but Rock fights up and slugs away until a blind charge puts him on the floor. Back in, Rock comes back with the DDT and slugs away, but charges again and gets dumped. Mick dives at him with another elbow, but Rock moves and Mick goes through the poor, defenseless Spanish announce table. Back in, it’s the People’s Elbow, which gets two. Mankind gets the DDT and it’s Mandible Sock time, but Rock reverses to Rock Bottom. Double KO, but Rock rolls over for two. Rock debuts his crappy version of the Sharpshooter, and Vince rings the bell, rings the fucking bell at 17:14 to make Rock the Corporate champion. This one never really got going, but they’d have far better ones just a couple of months later. **1/2 Last Man Standing: Mankind v. The Rock Now remember, there MUST be a winner. I actually forgot that Mankind was the champion at this point. And don’t forget, there absolutely has to be a winner, no exceptions. Rock attacks to start and goes for the knee that he injured on Sunday Night Heat. Mankind comes back with a belt to the head, and that gets an 8 count. They fight up the aisle and Rock gets sent into the set, but comes back and whips Mick into it as well. Over to the website table, where Mankind DDTs Rock through the table. Rock answers the bell at 8. Back to the crowd, where Rock gets a sudden backdrop suplex and Mick takes yet another bump onto concrete, but he’s up at 3. Back to ringside and Rock gets whipped into the stairs. Into the ring for a People’s Elbow from Mankind, but it misses. Well, he’s not the Great One. Rock comes back and slugs Mick out of the ring, and follows with a suplex on the floor. Rock takes a break to do color commentary while the ref counts Mick down, but he’s up at 7. Rock threatens to give him “A Rock burger with a little extra Rock sauce on the side” but Mick attacks him to cut off the food-related smack talk and drops the elbow from the apron to the table. Rock answers the bell at 8. Back into the ring and Mankind charges with the stairs, but gets them kicked back in his face. Rock gets a chair and goes after the knee again, but does the silly spot where he hits the ropes and knocks himself out with it. Cactus clothesline puts both guys on the floor and they brawl back to the announce table again. Mick goes for a piledriver, but Rock backdrops him into the timekeeper’s table and thus hurts the leg again. Rock tosses the stairs onto Mick’s leg for good measure in a sick spot, but Mick still answers the bell. Rock grabs the mike and stops to sing “Smackdown Hotel”, but Mick awakes and gives him the Mandible Sock in mid-chorus. Rock answers the bell at 8 and comes back with a DDT, which puts Mankind down for 8. Mankind gets his own DDT for 8. Mr. Socko is countered with Rock Bottom and then they hit each other with chairs, and it’s a draw at 21:52. The crowd chants “bullshit”, rightly so given that they stressed several times that there MUST BE A WINNER. Definitely the lesser of their series, as they had good chemistry but not epic chemistry like Rock and Austin did. *** WWF World title, ladder match: Mankind v. The Rock From the next night on RAW, this is the forgotten match in their series. Rock cuts a weird promo about getting Mankind drunk on tequila and fisting him or something, which should at least creep Mick out if not intimidate him. Mick attacks to start and they fight on the floor, resulting in Rock meeting the stairs, followed by Mick. Rock tosses a chair into the ring and smashes Mick’s knee into it, allowing him to retrieve the ladder, but Mick beats him down with the chair and hits a People’s Elbow of his own. Mick does the first climb, but Rock puts him down with the chair and clips him. He sandwiches the leg in the ladder and pounds it with the chair, allowing him to climb for the belt. Mick yanks him off to stop him and puts him down with the chair again, but Rock puts him down with the chair and slugs away on the ropes. Mankind goes low and they fight to the floor, taking it into the crowd, where Mick puts Rock on a piece of railing and drops an elbow on him. A second one misses, allowing Rock to bring him back to ringside with a clothesline over the railing and take over. They fight up the ramp, where Rock suplexes him on the ramp, then chokes him out with a cable at ringside. Mick whips him into the stairs, however, and drops them on Rock’s back, and it’s over to that innocent Spanish table again. Mick wants a piledriver, but Rock reverses to Rock Bottom to put him through. Back in, Rock climbs, but Mick goes low and adds the double-arm DDT, setting up Mr. Socko. Rock hits him in the face with the ladder to block that, and DDTs him to follow. Rock climbs and they slug it out on top, but Mick gets the Mandible Sock to put Rock down. Sadly, Big Show comes out and chokeslams him off to end the dream, and Rock regains the World title at 12:55. See, they cut all the crap out of this one and the result was a lean and mean street fight with minimal ladder "drama" like slow climbing and contrived spots. Me like. ***1/2 And that brings us to… WWF World title: The Rock v. Steve Austin From Wrestlemania XV. They actually alter the graphic to say "WWE champion", which makes me very sad. Rock attacks on the floor right away and slugs away in the ring, but Austin tosses him and they brawl into the crowd right away. Back to ringside, where Austin tosses Rock right back into the crowd again, forcing Rock to clothesline him over the railing and choke away with a cable. They brawl up the aisle and Rock takes some fairly crazy bumps onto the set pieces and into the lights, allowing Austin to choke him with another cable. Austin whips him into the Wrestlemania logo and they head back to ringside, where Austin tries a suplex and Rock reverses him onto the floor. Over to the announce position, where Rock stops to enjoy some water and spit it at Austin (as HHH goes "Hmmm…"), before Austin puts him on the Spanish table and drops an elbow off the railing. That fails to break the table, so he repeats the spot and that does the trick. Back in, Austin decides to toss Rock again and we’re back to the floor where Rock meets the stairs. Back in, we finally start the match proper, and Rock hits Rock Bottom for two. He grabs a chair and heads back in, but the ref gets wiped out via a nasty chairshot as a result and he’s done. Rock gets a neckbreaker and grabs the chair, but has to fight off a stunner before pounding on Austin’s knee with the chair. Massive chair to the face gets two as another ref joins us. Rock clothesline gets two, and we hit the chinlock. Austin fights up, so Rock clotheslines him again and goes back to it. Austin fights out, but walks into a samoan drop and Rock gets two. Rock is frustrated and takes it out on Tim White with a Rock Bottom, allowing Austin to hit KICK WHAM STUNNER for two, as we have a third ref in the form of Earl Hebner. Vince heads out to deal with things himself, distracting him long enough for Rock to go low, and he joins into a beatdown in the corner as the ref gets bumped yet again. Mankind returns from the hospital to save and gets rid of Vince, and Austin cradles Rock for two. Thesz Press and elbowdrop follow, but Rock comes back with a clothesline and Rock Bottom into the People’s Elbow…which misses. KICK WHAM STUNNER and it’s the World title for Austin at 16:47. This was suitably big and epic and had all the big spots, but they still had better in them to come. ***1/2 Disc Two And so 1999 brings us around to Rock v. HHH again, this time in a cage… Cage match: HHH v. The Rock From RAW, July 1999. Usual lame escape rules here. Rock slugs away to start and elbows him down, but HHH comes back with a clothesline and slugs away in the corner. Rock comes out of the corner with a clothesline and lays the smackdown before climbing, but HHH pulls him down and Rock takes a SWEET bump straight down to the mat, hitting his chin on the turnbuckle on the way down. HHH follows with a suplex into a kneedrop, allowing him to go for the door, but Rock grabs the leg to block. Chyna slips her man some handcuffs, allowing Hunter to pound Rock down and send him into the cage. He tries to cuff Rock to the cage, but Rock goes low and comes back before putting his head down and getting caught with a neckbreaker. HHH climbs and fights off Rock, but gets yanked down with an armdrag in another spot you don’t see very much. Jim Ross is really obsessing about "the rankings" here, as in the consequences that this match will have on them. Rock goes for the door, but Chyna bumps the ref and then slams the door on him, allowing HHH to walk out and win. Well, except that there’s no ref, so the match MUST CONTINUE. They brawl up the ramp and HHH tries the Pedigree on the floor, but Rock catapults him into the cage and drags him back in. And away we go again, as Rock sends him into the cage on all sides and then follows with a samoan drop. Another weird exchange as Chyna protests to the ref that HHH walked out and Lawler relates that, and JR responds "She’s a liar!" No she’s not! HHH clearly walked out and won the match! You can call Chyna a lot of mean names, but this is just unnecessary aspersions on her character. Rock climbs up and fires off a double axehandle, just for the hell of it, but HHH hits him with the facecrusher and sends him into the cage to set up a clothesline for a double KO. HHH recovers first and climbs the cage, but Rock follows him up and grabs him by the hair. No wonder it went downhill so fast, with treatment like that! Maybe he let it get all gross and greasy to prevent just that from happening. They slug it out on top of the cage until Chyna throws a chair up for HHH to use, but he gets cocky and falls on his cock as a result. So Rock is out and laying on top of the cage and HHH is crawling for the door, but Rock recovers first and exits to win at 13:55. Sadly they cut out Billy Gunn’s attack on him post-match, which robs me of the opportunity to mention that Hulk Hogan once used that attack as an example of how he taught Vince McMahon everything about wrestling that Vince knows. Seriously. Booking was pretty wacky here, but there was enough cool spots to make it worth checking out. ***1/4 WWF World tag titles: Undertaker & Big Show v. The Rock N Sock Connection I could have SWORN I reviewed this recently, but I can’t find it anywhere. Anyway, this is from my birthday in 1999 on RAW. Show gets double-teamed by the faces to start and Rock stomps him down, but Mankind walks into a sideslam. Show chokes Mankind out on the ropes and puts him down with a headbutt, and Taker adds a shot into the stairs. Back in, Show gets a powerslam for two. Show goes to the bearhug. Mick bites out of it, but runs into an elbow and gets sent to the floor again for more punishment from Undertaker. Show slams Mick on a previously-smashed table, but Undertaker and Paul Bearer decide to walk out of the match. This allows Rock to get the hot tag, but Show hits them both with a double clothesline. Chokeslam for the Rock and he kicks a chair back in Mankind’s face, but Rock kicks out at two. Show misses an elbow and he falls victim to Mr. Socko and then Mr. Chair, which sets up a Double People’s Elbow to finish and give them the tag titles at 8:10. Boring match, great finish. ** – The ultra-serious narrator talks us through "smackdown" making the dictionary and Rock singing about taking a leak during Big Slow matches. The Rock v. Kane From Smackdown, December 1999. Kane slugs away in the corner, but Rock fires back and gets a neckbreaker. Kane sits up, so Rock clotheslines him to the floor and they fight up the ramp. Kane goes low, but Rock slugs him off the ramp and through a table on the floor. That looked pretty silly, with Kane taking a huge leap like a cartoon character off a simple punch. Kane quickly recovers and chokeslams Rock through another conveniently placed table. They head back to ringside and Rock whips him into the stairs before grabbing a chair, but he gets wrapped up with Tori. Kane accidently clotheslines her, allowing Rock to finish with a chairshot and Rock Bottom at 5:08. Another middling match that is kind of a weird addition. ** – And once again we’re back to Rock v. HHH, albeit with the high point of that feud. WWF World title: HHH v. The Rock From Backlash 2000, with Shane as guest referee. You could probably call this one the pinnacle of Rock’s career without fear of contradiction, as he’s at his most popular in the highest-profile match against his biggest enemy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: THIS should have been the main event of Wrestlemania 2000, not the clusterfuck we got instead. They slug it out to start and HHH wins that, but Rock fires back and puts him down. HHH quickly tries the Pedigree, but Rock backdrops out of it and lays the smackdown in the corner. HHH recovers with a neckbreaker and tosses him, then rams him into the table. Vince adds a ride into the ringpost for good measure, and back in HHH and Shane share a tender hug before HHH gets two. High knee gets two and he adds a suplex, which sets up the kneedrop for two. He works the count and Shane counts quicker each time, but Rock keeps escaping. Rock slugs back, so HHH grabs a sleeper, which turns into a chinlock on the mat. Rock fights up, so HHH uses the ropes (which Shane ignores) and puts himself back in control. Rock fights up and HHH clotheslines him down again for two, then pounds away in the corner until Rock hotshots him to escape. He comes back, but they clothesline each other, which gives Shane the chance to help HHH up. Shane’s performance here is something to see. And while Shane is "distracted", Vince pops up and nails Rock with the belt, which gives HHH two. A very FAST two, at that. They’re just pushing all the crowd’s buttons with this stuff and it’s tremendous. Rock has had ENOUGH and spit-punches him in the corner, then dumps him and injures HHH’s arm in the process. They fight on the floor and Rock drops him on the table to hurt the shoulder further, and back in where Rock puts his head down and gets caught. But then so does HHH, and Rock DDTs him, but you know Shane’s not counting. And the crowd just LOSES it, so Rock puts Shane out and they fight to the floor again. If you want a textbook example of the crowd reacting EXACTLY how you want them to, it’s this match. HHH sends him into the stairs and follows with the Pedigree attempt on the table, but Rock goes low and gives both him and Shane a Rock Bottom at the same time! The crowd just goes INSANE and Vince’s open-mouthed reaction shot is awesome. So Shane is done, but Rock drags HHH in and gets jumped from behind by Vince. HHH goes low and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, but we have no ref. But we do have the Stooges in ref shirts, who beat Rocky down until you just know there’s a big payoff coming here. And just when Vince is setting up with a chair to finish things, Austin’s music hits and it’s pandemonium. Chair for HHH! Chair for Patterson! Chair for Brisco! Chair for Shane! Chair for Vince! Kinda sad because Austin’s neck is still so bad that he can hardly walk, but the crowd doesn’t care. Everyone is dead except for Rock, and finally Linda brings Earl Hebner back after the whole Jericho thing on RAW left him fired, and the People’s Elbow means Game Over, finally, at 19:23, and I’m still marking out watching it 8 years later. That! Was! Awesome! Kudos to everyone involved because this was a magnificently crafted piece of professional wrestling drama and the kind of thing that made the Rock into the biggest wrestler ever. If they could pull this off with John Cena no one would ever boo him. The chinlock in the middle kind of slowed it down, but the booking paid off a million different storylines, and anything that nearly has me jumping up and yelling all those years later deserves every bit of praise I can heap on it. I daresay that from an entertainment standpoint this might be one of my favorite matches of all-time. Oh yeah, I went there. ****3/4 – The next night on RAW… WWF title, cage match: The Rock v. Shane McMahon Pat Patterson gets to be guest referee here. Shane immediately tries to climb out, but Rock pulls him in and elbows him down, then follows with a clothesline. Crowd lets Shane know that he’s a pussy, which according to Arrested Development means he’s a caring and sensitive guy. Shane tries to run for the door, but Rock yanks him out by the ankle with a London Bridge. Shane catches Rock with an elbow and chokes him out. Meanwhile, HHH pokes him with a sharp stick from outside. Sadly, Rock has no fresh fruit with which to counter, so he’s basically helpless. Luckily he’s able to catch the stick and breaks it on Shane, then rams him into the cage and beats on him in the corner. Rock stops to go after Patterson, allowing Shane to send him into the cage from behind and then climb. Rock follows him up and slugs away, but Patterson keeps pulling him down, resulting in Rock falling on the top rope. He hits Pat with a Rock Bottom and goes back after Shane, yanking him down and hitting the People’s Elbow. And Brisco of course slams the door on his head and HHH comes in for the beatdown, but here’s Stone Cold Earl Hebner again. He shoves Brisco into the cage and then slams the door on HHH, and Rock escapes at 9:20 to win. Fun but forgettable. *** – Moving onto the Angle era, as Rock drops the title, which brings us to No Way Out 2001. WWF World title: Kurt Angle v. The Rock. Angle attacks to start, but Rock hits him with a lariat out of the corner and they slug it out. Rock elbows him down and follows with a legsweep for two, but Angle fights back with a clothesline and stomps him down. Rock slugs back, but Angle takes him down into the anklelock, forcing Rock to make the ropes. Angle hits him with a pair of belly to belly suplexes, so Rock fires back with his own. He follows quickly with the Scorpion King Deathlock, but Angle makes the ropes. Rock keeps coming with a samoan drop for two. Angle comes back with a backdrop suplex and goes up, but Rock crotches him and brings him down with a superplex for two. Angle dumps him and Rock teases a leg injury, so Angle hauls him in and DDTs him. And with both out, we get a walk-in by the Big Show, as he chokeslams everyone (including the ref) and then leaves. I still have no idea what that was supposed to accomplish. Angle gets the cover out of that, for two. Funny bit there as Earl Hebner and Tim White carry the poor traumatized ref out, but Earl drops him to make the count. He’s a REFEREE, dammit, that’s what he does! Rock recovers and hits Angle with the title, for two. Rock is openly limping now, so Angle POUNCES and hooks the anklelock, then hauls Rock into the middle of the ring, slams the knee on the mat, and hooks it again. This gives us the classic "TAP OUT OR I’LL BREAK YOUR FUCKING ANKLE!" quote, but Rock makes the ropes. Kurt keeps on the leg, but Rock fights up until his leg gives out, which allows Angle to pound on him. Rock gets a desperation spinebuster and People’s Elbow, but that only gets two. Nice touch with Rock limping during the Elbow. The crowd chants "bullshit" at Angle kicking out of it, because THAT’S the ludicrous thing — someone kicking out of the People’s Elbow. It’s amazing how something so silly can become a deadly finisher. Rock gets upset with the ref, which allows Angle to hit him in the People’s Junk, and he undoes a turnbuckle for full heel effect. Rock tries Rock Bottom, but Angle sends him into the steel, and into an Angle Slam for two. Where’s the bullshit chant now, Las Vegas? Rock slugs away in the corner, but Angle goes with the easy solution and kicks him in the leg, so Rock sends him into the steel and it’s Rock Bottom…for two. Angle didn’t actually kick out, but the ref stopped counting for some reason. So Rock hits another one and regains the WWF title at 16:52. This was a war of attrition, although you have to know that given another year of development for Angle it would have had another 10 minutes of trading finishers added onto it. ****1/2 – The end of the Monday Night Wars brings us to… WCW World title: Booker T v. The Rock From Summerslam 2001. Slugfest to start and Rock runs Booker into Shane, then puts him down with a samoan drop for two. Booker comes back with chops, but Rock clotheslines him and cradles for two. Yeah, Rock busted out La Majastral, wanna fight about it? Book kicks him down again for two. Slugfest is won by the Rock and he tosses Booker, as they brawl on the floor. Rock puts him on the table and gives him the most blatant nutshot in PPV history, but Booker recovers and rams him into the stairs, followed by an atomic drop onto the railing. They head into the crowd, where Booker whips him into a barricade and follows with a clothesline, then they head back to ringside. They slug it out, but Rock gets whipped into the post, and Booker drops him on the railing to follow. They just can’t seem to get their chemistry together out there. Back in, Booker slugs him down for two and puts him down with a short clothesline. Kneedrop follows, and Rock fights up only to get put down by a forearm that gets two. And Booker hits the chinlock as this is just going nowhere. Rock comes back with the Scorpion King Deathlock, but Shane McMahon distracts the ref and Rock breaks, only to walk into a superkick that gets two for Booker. Rock takes him down again and catapults him into the corner, followed by a DDT for two. Shane sneaks in with the belt and puts Rock down, but the APA chases him into Bradshaw’s clothesline. Lemme tell ya, Shane selling the Clothesline from Hell is like * by itself. In the ring, Bookend gets two, but Rock slugs back and gets the flying forearm. Overhead belly to belly gets two. Spinebuster and People’s Elbow get two, as Shane pulls the referee out. Rock stops to give him a Rock Bottom on the floor and then lays the smackdown on Booker in the corner, but Booker comes back with his own spinebuster. However, he makes the fatal error and stops for the Spinarooni, which allows Rock to pop up and finish with the Rock Bottom at 15:17, improbably marking the first time the WCW World title would change hands on a WWF PPV. The match was competent enough, but they just had no flash together. *** – So at Vengeance 2001, Chris Jericho unifies the belts into the Undisputed title and defends against Rock at Royal Rumble 2002… Undisputed World title: Chris Jericho v. The Rock This was scheduled to be Jericho v. RVD for quite a while, actually, before Rob’s push got yanked out from under him in rather abrupt manner. This is something of a lost classic as well, which is why I’m glad it’s getting exposure again on this DVD. Jericho talks some trash and tells him to just bring it, so Rock brings it. Samoan drop gets two and Jericho runs away, right into a spear from the Rock. Rock slugs away, but Jericho hits him with a forearm and a corner clothesline before charging and hitting the post. Rock charges in and Jericho hotshots him, then punts him into the corner. He throws chops, but Rock fires back, so Jericho hits a leg lariat for two. Suplex and the ARROGANT COVER~! get two. He undoes a turnbuckle and tries the Walls of Jericho, but Rock reverses out, so Jericho gets a low dropkick and pounds away on the mat. Missile dropkick gets two. He goes to a chinlock and then heads up, but Rock crotches him and throws chops to set up a superplex. Rock slugs away and hits the overhead suplex for two, but Jericho rebounds out of the corner with the bulldog and Lionsault. Another one gets two. He goes up with another missile dropkick, but Rock catches him with the Scorpion King Deathlock, which draws Christian and Lance Storm out for the distraction, as Christian uses the belt to knock Rock out. I seem to recall some sort of Canadian Horsemen idea floating around at the time before it got shot down and forgotten about soon after this. Jericho gets a senton, but stops to go for the Canadian Elbow and gets tossed by the Rock as a result. They head to the floor and Jericho drops Rock on the table to set up for Jericho Bottom, but Rock fights out and gets his own, putting Jericho through the OTHER table as a result. Back in, that gets two. Rock tries another Rock Bottom, but Jericho reverses to the Walls, which actually draws a FACE pop from the crowd, or at least a good chunk of it. Rock makes the ropes and then cradles for two, but Jericho boots him down again. Rock pops up with the flying forearm, but wipes out the ref, and Jericho hits him with a belt and Evil Ref Nick Patrick counts two. Rock fires back with a DDT, but Patrick won’t count because he’s EVIL. Rock gives him Rock Bottom for his impudence and hits Jericho with the spinebuster and People’s Elbow, but there’s still no ref. Jericho goes low and rams Rock into the steel turnbuckle, then uses the ropes (but sadly not the tights) to pin him at 19:11 and retain. That’s like Ric Flair’s Greatest Hits all in one shot. Still great stuff, hard work from both all around. **** Disc Three The Rock v. Hollywood Hogan Man, this is STILL an interesting match to watch. Here’s the original review, with some added comments and my new rating. I had the feeling that this was going to be one of those matches that was gonna earn me hate mail no matter which side of the fence I went with. I was right. I also would’ve thought that this would go on last, since it was being promoted as the main event and all. Hogan gets a MONSTER pop, as I once again worry about the future of mankind. Rock gets a big heel pop. Hogan wins a lockup and the crowd ROARS. JR interprets this as a “mixed reaction”. I’d hate to hear what they’d sound like if they were booing Rock, then. Hogan pounds away and gets a clothesline, but Rock back with the forearm and gets roasted by the crowd. This is just vicious. Shoving match and Rock slugs Hogan down and out. Back in, Rock with the lariat, but Rock Bottom is blocked. Hogan gets the elbowdrops. That limp is getting really pronounced on Hogan’s part. Backdrop suplex gets two. Abdominal stretch into a rollup gets two. Man, that was his rear special in WCW v. nWo World Tour, but that’s the first time I’ve seen him use it in real life in like the past 20 years. Hogan goes to the BACKRAKES OF DOOM (which Rock sells like he’s being clawed by the fingernails of a Sinanju Master) and of course the crowd eats it all up. Rock chops him, but Hogan chokes him out for a while. Rock gets tossed and Hogan beats on him outside. Table is prepped but goes unused. Back in, ref bumped, and Rock gets a spinebuster and Sharpshooter, no ref, but a big heel reaction. Jesus, Toronto, just because the Leafs suck, don’t take it out on someone who CAN win the big one. The crowd just completely turns on Rock, so Hogan goes low and gets a huge face pop and then uses his own Rock Bottom for two. Hogan uses the belt, but Rock DDTs him and fires right back. JR is still insisting that the reaction is mixed. Stuff like that makes him sound like Tony Schiavone. Hulk Up time. Big boot and STINKY WART-INFESTED GIANT-KILLING LEGDROP OF DOOM, but Rock kicks out at two. Big boot again, but the legdrop misses. Rock gives him two Rock Bottoms for good measure, and finishes with the People’s Elbow at 16:22. That was one of the best-booked bad matches I’ve seen – I’ve gotta admit, even I was cheering pretty vociferously for Rock (more than usual) by the end and getting into it. After several viewings, I’m up to about *** for it, because it’s actually a match I can watch without getting too bored with it. I’ve seen it rated higher and lower and I won’t argue too strenuously with either interpretation. The crowd’s insane reaction to the comeback alone makes this one worthy of history. In retrospect, this was the match that turned the Rock from A-level wrestler into larger-than-life future Hollywood personality, and was perhaps the only time that Hogan actually passed the proverbial torch and never got to take it back again. Consider that Hogan not only allowed Rock to kick out of the legdrop, but then took BOTH of Rock’s finishers and laid down clean for him. Sadly (for wrestling), Rock would take that rub and become a bigger star than wrestling could support any longer. However, I’m still glad he got away when he did so he’ll always be remembered as the guy who left at his peak instead of turning into a one-note joke like Steve Austin or, indeed, Hulk Hogan. Undisputed World title: Undertaker v. The Rock v. Kurt Angle This is from Vengeance 2002, really another one of those forgotten PPVs, and it’s really worth picking up on DVD for cheap if you find it. Kurt is rocking the red white and blue camo tights tonight, which I don’t think can help you hide anywhere but an American flag factory, but it looks cool. Undertaker was in that weird Booger Red phase where he was kind of a biker, but with short hair and some MMA mixed in. Two-way staredown to start which has Angle feeling left out, so the other two jump him to make him feel better. Taker boots him down and Rock dumps him with a clothesline to get rid of him. Ha! Taker pounds on Rock in the corner, but Rock slugs back until Taker puts him down with the flying clothesline. Rock comes right back with a clothesline to put him on the floor and Angle tosses Taker into the railing, then we head in with Angle v. Rock. Kurt throws the release german suplex and stomps away in the corner, but Rock comes back with chops until Angle throws the overhead suplex. Crowd chants "Angle sucks", so he throws another suplex to shut them up. Man, Kurt Angle was the shit once upon a time, back when he was having FUN with his career. Rock comes back with a DDT for two and they brawl outside, which results in Angle getting jumped by Undertaker. Taker goes after Rock and sends him back in for some punishment in the corner, but Rock slugs back until he walks into a sideslam, which gets two. Rock actually chokeslams Undertaker, which you don’t see EVER, and that gets two. Angle gets involved again and pounds away on Rock, but Rock clotheslines him down and anklelocks him, so Angle reverses to a Rock Bottom for two. Taker breaks it up with a legdrop and hits Angle with an Angle Slam, which gets two. Rock breaks it up, so Taker elbows him down, but Rock pops up and tosses Angle, then hits Undertaker with the spinebuster and People’s Elbow. Angle saves, however, pulling Rock out and dropping him on the table, then sneaking in for the cover, which gets two. Angle pounds on Taker in the corner, but that doesn’t get him very far, and Taker fires back with a corner clothesline. Angle comes back and charges, but hits the ringpost and lands on the floor. They brawl out there and Taker sends him into the post, but Rock uses the EVIAN SPIT OF DEATH on Taker and slugs away. That only annoys UT and he pounds Rock onto the table as a result before going back to Angle, who is now bleeding. After that shot to the post, I’d hope so. Taker guillotines him on the apron and pounds him down, which gives JR his chance to say "surcease" for the match. You know he’s into it when he busts that one out. Old school time, although the crowd doesn’t know to yell that yet, but Rock pops back in and gives him a cheeky smackdown. Taker puts him down with a DDT, however, perhaps in retaliation for Rock’s "revving the motorbike" motions, I dunno. Angle tries using a chair and gets pinballed by the other two for his troubles, but neither Rock nor Undertaker can hit their finisher on each other. Rock goes low and Angle flattens Taker with his chair, then hits Rock with the Angle Slam. That gets two on Taker, and then two on Rock. Logistically speaking he would have been better off to pin Rock first, of course, but that’s half the fun here. Angle sets up again to finish Rock, but he gets taken down into the Scorpion King Deathlock, which Taker is forced to break up. Last Ride for the Rock (and another reason why Rock rules — he does a spit take as he lands to emphasize the impact!), but Angle puts Taker in the anklelock before he can make the pin. Taker powers out of it and tries to powerbomb Angle, but Kurt counters with the triangle choke. OK, was that before or after the famous UFC thing that inspired that Angle-UT draw on Smackdown, because that whole era is a blur to me. That leaves both Angle and Taker woozy and Rock swoops in for the kill, but Angle was just faking and takes Rock down with the anklelock as this just gets more awesome. Rock reverses to a cradle for two, and Taker chokeslams Angle, but walks into Rock Bottom to give Rock two. Angle rolls the Rock up for two, but Taker boots Rock down and Angle gives Taker the Angle Slam. The straps are down, but Rock gets Rock Bottom and pins him to win the title at 19:35. TREMENDOUS! This was an awesome three-way, great because it featured all the finisher thefts and cool spots, plus it was easy to follow and not just a bunch of crazy three-way spots. Anyone could have won it and you didn’t know who was winning, which gave it a real sense of drama. Great, great stuff. ****1/2 The Rock v. Eddie Guerrero From RAW, July 2002. Are they just picking stuff at random or what? Eddie works the headlock to start, but Rock takes him down with armdrags and then clotheslines him to block his escape. Overhead suplex, but Eddie comes back with a backdrop suplex and stomps away in the corner. They slug it out and Eddie puts him down with a cheapshot and then pounds him on the ropes. Dropkick puts Rock down and Eddie hits the chinlock, then takes him down for a headscissors on the mat. That gets two, but Rock fights up, so Eddie clotheslines him down again and goes back to the chinlock. Rock fights up and wins a slugfest, into a DDT for two. Eddie clotheslines him down again, but Rock kips up and tries Rock Bottom, which Eddie reverses into a cradle for two. Slick. Eddie necksnaps him and pops up for the frog splash, but it misses and Rock finishes with the People’s Elbow at 8:29. A decent TV match, but it was mostly chinlock and nothing special. **1/2 – And finally… The Rock v. Steve Austin Their last meeting, from Wrestlemania XIX. They actually blur out Austin’s middle fingers for this DVD. What, did they lose a lawsuit over THAT, too? The promos leading up to this were almost as great as the match as the match is, which is why I’m hoping they include one in the extras. Slugfest to start and Austin tries a quick stunner, but Rock bails, so Austin follows him out and rams him into the railing. Rock meets the stairs and Austin drops him on the railing and clotheslines him onto the last surviving announce table, then prevents him from crawling back into the ring and drops him on the railing again and whips him into the stairs. And now we head back in, where Austin chokes him out and adds a backdrop suplex for two. He whips Rock into the corner and follows with a clothesline, then more choking on the ropes. Rock takes out the knee and brings him outside for punishment, then back in he goes to work on the knee properly. He wraps the knee around the post and then kicks Austin in the knee again to cut off a comeback attempt, which leads to the Scorpion King Deathlock. Austin makes the ropes, so Rock drags him out and wraps the knee around the post again. Then, the best, he steals Austin’s vest and MAKES IT WORK. He grabs the water bottle, but Austin takes him down with a clothesline to prevent any water from being spit at him. Thesz Press and Austin fires away on the mat and drops an elbow for two. Austin stomps the mudhole, but Rock fires back with a flying clothesline and kips up, only to walk into a Rock Bottom from Austin. So Rock fires back with a stunner and gets two. Slugfest and this time it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER with Rock taking his usual bump off it, and that gets two for Austin. Rock goes low, however, and tries the People’s Elbow, but Austin moves and they block each other’s finisher before Rock gets the spinebuster and the elbow for real. That gets two. Rock Bottom gets two, but Austin’s gumption just earns him another one, and that gets two as well. Great selling from Austin as you can see the pain on his face and Rock really sells the anger here. And finally, a third Rock Bottom ends the career of Steve Austin at 17:52, as there is no comeback this time. This was less of an entertainment spectacle (like in the glory days) and more of a battle of two heavyweight boxers trying for one last epic fight. Hell of a match, as JR put it. **** Extras And here’s where all the promos go. – From Heat, July 1999. The famous "God talked to Billy Gunn" promo that produced "It doesn’t matter what your name is." – From RAW, July 1999. Rock busts on "The Big Slow" and notes that fans go take a leak when they hear his music. – From RAW, September 1999. The pre-match promo where Rock makes fun of Kane’s voice box. – From RAW, November 1999. Rock taunts police officers who are investigating the Austin case. – From Smackdown, August 2000. Rock calls Kevin Kelly a hermaphrodite for the first time, thus turning him into "Hermie" from then on. – From RAW, December 2000. Rock actually remembers that he called Kevin Kelly a hermaphrodite in that same arena in August, and then does his imitations of the other five guys in the Hell in a Cell match ("Which means-uh that I’m gonna have to beat the Game-uh with his slut for a wife-uh"). I love that Rock is the only guy fearless and bullet-proof enough to just go out and rip on HHH and his Neanderthal grunting interviews. You’ll notice that no one else ever got to point that out. – From RAW, August 2001. Rock comes out to annoy Booker T and talk about his school days riding the short bus ("Beep beep!") and answering "Thomas Jefferson, sucka!" when asked what 2+2 equals. As a bonus, Jericho is also there to launch his attack on Stephanie McMahon and her gigantic boobies. Always an easy point. – From RAW, September 2001. "Go frost your hair or something, Michael." – From Smackdown, September 2001. Rock has the blues, so he drives to Memphis and meets Jerry Lee Lewis, then sings some "Great Balls of Fire". Apparently Jerry Lee loves pie as well, although I’d have to add that he only likes pie that’s not finished baking yet. – From Smackdown, January 2002. Rock moves onto abusing the Coach, getting him to admit he loves Barry Manilow and then forces him to sing "Copacabana" to really make him look like a dork. The bit is kind of ruined by the microphone breaking, but Rock works it out and then saves it with "Well Copa your ass on out of here and beat it." – From Smackdown, January 2002. Rock cuts a promo in the ring and brings the cameraman into it, taking the camera from him (which the producers immediately turn into "Rock Cam") and doing the shoot himself while abusing the poor guy. It’s crazy how he’s so entertaining that he can just do something like this and turn it into a classic promo. Sadly the Rock isn’t as good of a cameraman as he is a wrestler, but it’s still a great bit. – From Smackdown, January 2002. Another awesome bit of Coach abuse, as this time he’s forced to dance the Charleston to amuse the Rock. – From No Way Out 2002. The NWO goes to hang out with the Rock in the dressing room and take a picture, and Rock goes off on them, calling them Razor Ramon and Diesel (toot toot!) before storming off. – From Smackdown, July 2002. Rock brings Busta Rhymes out of the audience to hype the crappy new Halloween movie, and they do a song. Bleh. – From RAW, March 2003. Newly evil Rock practices singing backstage by ripping on Cleveland, but the Hurricane interrupts. Rock calls it a no holds barred match, so all superpowers are go. Heat vision, night vision, cable vision, you name it. Rock debuts the Hamburglar bit and shows off his comic chops, then sucker punches Hurricane. – From RAW, June 2004. Rock comes home to Miami and busts on the Dolphins at ringside ("Y’all make $20 million a year and you’re wearing free Nike gear there…"). – And finally, a montage of the Rock’s one-liners. Why did they include Rock’s song with Busta Rhymes earlier but not the rest of the interview, where he calls Kurt Angle "Dr. Evil"? Tons of great stuff here. Overall, I wouldn’t call it definitive by any means and the documentary is so perfunctory that they can’t even be bothered to have the Rock involved with it, but there’s some great matches here that deserve another look and make it well worth the purchase price. As usual, though, the audio is awful, sounding like all the matches were recorded in a giant tin can with the ring mike mixed WAY too high and the announcers mixed too low, which is really surprising for a company that’s normally so careful about being on the cutting edge of technology. Maybe it comes from all the overdubbing of music and blurring of logos they have to do, but it comes across as really bush league and they need to fix it. Anyway, it’s the Rock, it’s awesome if very flawed (Two Rock-Austin and FOUR Rock-HHH matches?), so pick it up.

Survivor Series Countdown, DVD Edition: The Rock (Just Bring It)

The SmarK DVD Rant for The Rock: Just Bring It! Comment by brian_solo 2008-03-29 11:34:30 "Finished with the People’s Fellatio, Scott?" What, are you new here? – So this is the sequel to "The People’s Champ" DVD, which covered 1999, and this one covers 2000-2001, because you can never have enough Rock. – Hosted by the Rock, again.– Rock talks about the beginning of the "Just bring it" catchphrase, and we follow him into the lock room in Louisiana, where he harasses the showering Kurt Angle and makes fun of Perry Saturn. – Next , the portion where we’re all supposed to get excited about the Mummy Returns and go buy the DVD. Wow, that’s a very sneaky cross-promotional tactic, sucking us in with a Rock DVD and then shilling a movie. – Rock talks about his promos and how he only does live ones, never pre-tapes. He always liked to personalize the interviews for the city to connect with the fans.  (2011 Scott sez:  Time and Hollywood sure changed his policy about not doing pre-taped interviews) – From Fully Loaded 2000: Weird, there’s suddenly a huge gap in my DVD where match highlights would normally be. I THOUGHT I heard someone from the WWE breaking into my office last night and swapping discs on me. – Dateline: Shea Stadium. The Rock does a photo shoot with Mike Piazza. This was in support of a fluff piece in USA Today about which sport is America’s real pastime: Wrestling or baseball? These days, it’s which one is steroid dealers’ favorite pastime? – From No Mercy 2000: Kurt Angle wins his first WWF title from the Rock, back when that was considered a huge upset and Kurt wasn’t quite the wrestling machine he’d become later. – Rock talks about how he’s kind of like Superman, but he sells more. – From Survivor Series 2000: Rock does his damnedest to make a star out of Rikishi. I don’t remember a darn thing about that show, actually. There was a point when Rock v. Rikishi could have been a big money feud, but they just never knew what to do with Rikishi as a heel. – Behind the scenes of yet another WWF CD flop, as Rock sings "Pie" with Slick Rick. – Back to wrestling, as Rock well and truly takes Kurt Angle from here (some point a few inches from the ground) to HERE (as my arm strains to stretch as high as it can go) with one match, creating Crazy Motherfucker Angle and getting the World title back in the process. I love this match so very, very much, and if only the stupid portion with the Big Show’s pointless run-in was omitted, it might have been *****. Kurt Angle screaming "TAP OUT OR I’LL BREAK YOUR FUCKING ANKLE!" is a thing of beauty.  (2011 Scott sez:  Of course Angle took his crazy motherfucker character a bit too far into real life later on) – Rock talks about how much he loves working with Steve Austin, which naturally leads into the highlights of Wrestlemania X-7. Rock says "buyrate" more times per DVD than anyone I’ve ever heard. This is another match was ALMOST perfect, if only they had just booked Austin to go over clean and then done their silly bullshit on some other show. What’s really amazing is watching their 99 Wrestlemania main event and then watching how much more complex and brutal this one was compared to it, only two years later. The Rock is truly a guy who tried to better his artform with every match. – The next night on RAW, Rock challenges Austin in a cage match, but HHH joins with Austin as the Two Man Powertrip and destroys him. And so Rock leaves to make The Scorpion King. – And hey, let’s hear about the Scorpion King now. I’ve seen it a few times, still enjoy it, so I’d call it a success. – And more fluff about the Mummy Returns as we really hammer home the point of this DVD. Everyone predicts he’s going to be a big huge movie star. And so he is. – July 2001: Rock returns into the mess that is the Alliance storyline and joins Team WWF. Oddly enough, back in the days when WCW was going to be spun off as a separate show, Rock was intended to become the lead babyface for WCW Mark II. – Summerslam 2001: Rock wins the WCW World title from Booker T in a match where they just didn’t mesh like they could have. Which is weird, because Booker generally works up to the level of his opponent. – Rock talks about abusing Kevin Kelly and why he calls him a hermaphrodite? Because he has both sets of genitalia, is his theory. – Dateline: Omaha. Rock hangs out at Gold’s Gym and signs autographs for everyone, because he’s a cool guy. – Rock gets honoured by the Make-A-Wish Foundation after 30 different kids had their one wish of meeting him. Apparently Chuck Norris got the award as well, although you’d think he’d have just beaten up the diseases and cured the kids. The Extras WWF World title: Kurt Angle v. The Rock. This is from No Way Out 2001, and includes the classic "tick tock, tick tock" promo from the Rock in a video package. It also includes the pre-match interview with Rock and Michael Cole’s frosted boy band hair. Angle attacks to start, but Rock hits him with a lariat out of the corner and they slug it out. Rock elbows him down and follows with a legsweep for two, but Angle fights back with a clothesline and stomps him down. Rock slugs back, but Angle takes him down into the anklelock, forcing Rock to make the ropes. Angle hits him with a pair of belly to belly suplexes, so Rock fires back with his own. He follows quickly with the Scorpion King Deathlock, but Angle makes the ropes. Rock keeps coming with a samoan drop for two. Angle comes back with a backdrop suplex and goes up, but Rock crotches him and brings him down with a superplex for two. Angle dumps him and Rock teases a leg injury, so Angle hauls him in and DDTs him. And with both out, we get a walk-in by the Big Show, as he chokeslams everyone (including the ref) and then leaves. I still have no idea what that was supposed to accomplish. Angle gets the cover out of that, for two. Funny bit there as Earl Hebner and Tim White carry the poor traumatized ref out, but Earl drops him to make the count. He’s a REFEREE, dammit, that’s what he does! Rock recovers and hits Angle with the title, for two. Rock is openly limping now, so Angle POUNCES and hooks the anklelock, then hauls Rock into the middle of the ring, slams the knee on the mat, and hooks it again. This gives us the classic "TAP OUT OR I’LL BREAK YOUR FUCKING ANKLE!" quote, but Rock makes the ropes. Kurt keeps on the leg, but Rock fights up until his leg gives out, which allows Angle to pound on him. Rock gets a desperation spinebuster and People’s Elbow, but that only gets two. Nice touch with Rock limping during the Elbow. The crowd chants "bullshit" at Angle kicking out of it, because THAT’S the ludicrous thing — someone kicking out of the People’s Elbow. It’s amazing how something so silly can become a deadly finisher. Rock gets upset with the ref, which allows Angle to hit him in the People’s Junk, and he undoes a turnbuckle for full heel effect. Rock tries Rock Bottom, but Angle sends him into the steel, and into an Angle Slam for two. Where’s the bullshit chant now, Las Vegas? Rock slugs away in the corner, but Angle goes with the easy solution and kicks him in the leg, so Rock sends him into the steel and it’s Rock Bottom…for two. Angle didn’t actually kick out, but the ref stopped counting for some reason. So Rock hits another one and regains the WWF title at 16:52. This was a war of attrition, although you have to know that given another year of development for Angle it would have had another 10 minutes of trading finishers added onto it. ****1/2 The Rock v. Booker T & Shane McMahon. From Unforgiven 2001. Rock & Booker slug it out, and Rock lariats him. Neckbreaker gets two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Shane comes in and runs away, but Rock cuts him off and pounds him. Cheapshot puts Rock down, and a Booker sideslam gets two. They work him over, but Shane gets suplexed in melodramatic fashion. He comes back with that dreaded Shane Shuffle, but gets Sharpshooted. Booker dumps him and Shane gets yet another cheapshot, and a clothesline off the railing for good measure. Back in, Rock gets posted and Booker gets two. Rock tosses him, but Shane then tosses Rock in turn. Rock & Book do some brawling, and The Book gets the best of that. Back in, the delayed kneedrop sets up the SPINAROONI, which again gets a scary heel pop. Rock, however, oblivious to the potential damaging nature of the Most Electrifying Move In Sportz Entertainment, rolls up Booker for two. Book tosses Rock again, and abuses the Spanish table. Shane sets up for the Suicide Elbow, but Rock moves before anything can happen. Back in, Rock gets the samoan drop, but Shane grabs the WCW title…and hits Booker by mistake. Well, it’s officially a Shane-booked match now. He does manage to hit Rock eventually, and gets two. Shane goes up, but misses the elbow. Book & Rock slug it out, and Rock clotheslines both guys. DDT on Booker gets two. Shane nails him and goes for the McElbow, but Rock kips up and hits Rock Bottom. Spinebuster for Booker, but Test runs in and creams Rock, because I guess Rocky fending off only two guys and a crooked ref isn’t enough melodrama. Bradshaw chases off Test, yelling something about turning Toronto into a parking lot, I think, and they head into the audience. Nick Patrick hauls the fallen Rock in, but now Mike Ciota runs in to protest. He pulls Shane off at two, then Booker gets two. The refs brawl, Rock Bottom on Booker follows, and Earl Hebner runs in on the side of justice to make the pinfall at 15:24. WAY long and overbooked for what it was, which is namely an overhyped Smackdown main event. **3/4 This feud just never clicked at all. Street Fight: The Rock v. Shane McMahon From RAW in 2001. Shane accidentally loses his kendo stick, and so gets his ass kicked to start. Rock dumps him with a clothesline, but Shane fights back with a clothesline and sends Rock into the stairs. Rock one-ups him by throwing him into the crowd, and they fight up the stairs. Rock wins that battle, but back at ringside Shane uses a trashcan to regain the advantage. They fight up the ramp and Rock swings from the bottom of the Titantron and then beats Shane down with more trashcans. Nice spot as he puts the can on Shane’s head, then chairshots him down the ramp. Back into the ring, Shane finally gets his stick back and recovers enough to beat on the Rock with it. Booker runs in to no great effect, and Rock finishes Shane with Rock Bottom at 8:49. This was the typical "walk around the arena" style brawl in lieu of actual fighting, and it was kind of boring in fact. ** However, Shane drops an elbow from the top rope to the announce table after the win, which might have added another star to the match. – From Smackdown: Lillian tries to interview the Rock, but he puts the moves on her and gets her all flabbergasted and wet…with perspiration. Apparently she wants a piece of the People’s Strudel more than anything. And then because he’s awesome, he turns it around and immediately brushes her off. That part is classic and Rock’s body language is hilarious, the rest of the promo is forgettable. – From Smackdown: Kevin Kelly tries to interview Rock, but Rock is distracted by a previous nose-picking incident and punishes him for it. – From RAW: Kurt Angle meets up with Rock and suggests that he enjoys strudel. Rock clarifies: He loves PIE. Not strudel. This of course all goes over Kurt’s head. – Carrying on, Angle gives Rock a copy of his book, and it leads to a singing contest. – From RAW: Rock has to choose a partner for Test to face him in a handicap match. He needs someone fast, easy, and with no testicles, so that only leaves Stephanie. Rock sings "Here comes the Test, and the ho with the enormous breasts" to commemorate the occasion, which is likely why this is here. That and Rock making the "Keep your eyes up here" gesture to Michael Cole on multiple occasions. – And finally, Rock meets Bill Gates at CES 2001, unveiling my all-time favourite console…the Xbox. Yeah, that’s a pretty weak collection, I admit it. It’s mainly a hype piece for his movies more than anything. Apparently they re-released it with a second disc of matches later on, but given the Rock’s almost total non-involvement during the period this set covers I’m not actually sure why they bothered. Oh yeah, cash, silly me. Recommendation to avoid.

Survivor Series Countdown, DVD Edition: The Rock (Just Bring It)

The SmarK DVD Rant for The Rock: Just Bring It! Comment by brian_solo 2008-03-29 11:34:30 "Finished with the People’s Fellatio, Scott?" What, are you new here? – So this is the sequel to "The People’s Champ" DVD, which covered 1999, and this one covers 2000-2001, because you can never have enough Rock. – Hosted by the Rock, again.– Rock talks about the beginning of the "Just bring it" catchphrase, and we follow him into the lock room in Louisiana, where he harasses the showering Kurt Angle and makes fun of Perry Saturn. – Next , the portion where we’re all supposed to get excited about the Mummy Returns and go buy the DVD. Wow, that’s a very sneaky cross-promotional tactic, sucking us in with a Rock DVD and then shilling a movie. – Rock talks about his promos and how he only does live ones, never pre-tapes. He always liked to personalize the interviews for the city to connect with the fans.  (2011 Scott sez:  Time and Hollywood sure changed his policy about not doing pre-taped interviews) – From Fully Loaded 2000: Weird, there’s suddenly a huge gap in my DVD where match highlights would normally be. I THOUGHT I heard someone from the WWE breaking into my office last night and swapping discs on me. – Dateline: Shea Stadium. The Rock does a photo shoot with Mike Piazza. This was in support of a fluff piece in USA Today about which sport is America’s real pastime: Wrestling or baseball? These days, it’s which one is steroid dealers’ favorite pastime? – From No Mercy 2000: Kurt Angle wins his first WWF title from the Rock, back when that was considered a huge upset and Kurt wasn’t quite the wrestling machine he’d become later. – Rock talks about how he’s kind of like Superman, but he sells more. – From Survivor Series 2000: Rock does his damnedest to make a star out of Rikishi. I don’t remember a darn thing about that show, actually. There was a point when Rock v. Rikishi could have been a big money feud, but they just never knew what to do with Rikishi as a heel. – Behind the scenes of yet another WWF CD flop, as Rock sings "Pie" with Slick Rick. – Back to wrestling, as Rock well and truly takes Kurt Angle from here (some point a few inches from the ground) to HERE (as my arm strains to stretch as high as it can go) with one match, creating Crazy Motherfucker Angle and getting the World title back in the process. I love this match so very, very much, and if only the stupid portion with the Big Show’s pointless run-in was omitted, it might have been *****. Kurt Angle screaming "TAP OUT OR I’LL BREAK YOUR FUCKING ANKLE!" is a thing of beauty.  (2011 Scott sez:  Of course Angle took his crazy motherfucker character a bit too far into real life later on) – Rock talks about how much he loves working with Steve Austin, which naturally leads into the highlights of Wrestlemania X-7. Rock says "buyrate" more times per DVD than anyone I’ve ever heard. This is another match was ALMOST perfect, if only they had just booked Austin to go over clean and then done their silly bullshit on some other show. What’s really amazing is watching their 99 Wrestlemania main event and then watching how much more complex and brutal this one was compared to it, only two years later. The Rock is truly a guy who tried to better his artform with every match. – The next night on RAW, Rock challenges Austin in a cage match, but HHH joins with Austin as the Two Man Powertrip and destroys him. And so Rock leaves to make The Scorpion King. – And hey, let’s hear about the Scorpion King now. I’ve seen it a few times, still enjoy it, so I’d call it a success. – And more fluff about the Mummy Returns as we really hammer home the point of this DVD. Everyone predicts he’s going to be a big huge movie star. And so he is. – July 2001: Rock returns into the mess that is the Alliance storyline and joins Team WWF. Oddly enough, back in the days when WCW was going to be spun off as a separate show, Rock was intended to become the lead babyface for WCW Mark II. – Summerslam 2001: Rock wins the WCW World title from Booker T in a match where they just didn’t mesh like they could have. Which is weird, because Booker generally works up to the level of his opponent. – Rock talks about abusing Kevin Kelly and why he calls him a hermaphrodite? Because he has both sets of genitalia, is his theory. – Dateline: Omaha. Rock hangs out at Gold’s Gym and signs autographs for everyone, because he’s a cool guy. – Rock gets honoured by the Make-A-Wish Foundation after 30 different kids had their one wish of meeting him. Apparently Chuck Norris got the award as well, although you’d think he’d have just beaten up the diseases and cured the kids. The Extras WWF World title: Kurt Angle v. The Rock. This is from No Way Out 2001, and includes the classic "tick tock, tick tock" promo from the Rock in a video package. It also includes the pre-match interview with Rock and Michael Cole’s frosted boy band hair. Angle attacks to start, but Rock hits him with a lariat out of the corner and they slug it out. Rock elbows him down and follows with a legsweep for two, but Angle fights back with a clothesline and stomps him down. Rock slugs back, but Angle takes him down into the anklelock, forcing Rock to make the ropes. Angle hits him with a pair of belly to belly suplexes, so Rock fires back with his own. He follows quickly with the Scorpion King Deathlock, but Angle makes the ropes. Rock keeps coming with a samoan drop for two. Angle comes back with a backdrop suplex and goes up, but Rock crotches him and brings him down with a superplex for two. Angle dumps him and Rock teases a leg injury, so Angle hauls him in and DDTs him. And with both out, we get a walk-in by the Big Show, as he chokeslams everyone (including the ref) and then leaves. I still have no idea what that was supposed to accomplish. Angle gets the cover out of that, for two. Funny bit there as Earl Hebner and Tim White carry the poor traumatized ref out, but Earl drops him to make the count. He’s a REFEREE, dammit, that’s what he does! Rock recovers and hits Angle with the title, for two. Rock is openly limping now, so Angle POUNCES and hooks the anklelock, then hauls Rock into the middle of the ring, slams the knee on the mat, and hooks it again. This gives us the classic "TAP OUT OR I’LL BREAK YOUR FUCKING ANKLE!" quote, but Rock makes the ropes. Kurt keeps on the leg, but Rock fights up until his leg gives out, which allows Angle to pound on him. Rock gets a desperation spinebuster and People’s Elbow, but that only gets two. Nice touch with Rock limping during the Elbow. The crowd chants "bullshit" at Angle kicking out of it, because THAT’S the ludicrous thing — someone kicking out of the People’s Elbow. It’s amazing how something so silly can become a deadly finisher. Rock gets upset with the ref, which allows Angle to hit him in the People’s Junk, and he undoes a turnbuckle for full heel effect. Rock tries Rock Bottom, but Angle sends him into the steel, and into an Angle Slam for two. Where’s the bullshit chant now, Las Vegas? Rock slugs away in the corner, but Angle goes with the easy solution and kicks him in the leg, so Rock sends him into the steel and it’s Rock Bottom…for two. Angle didn’t actually kick out, but the ref stopped counting for some reason. So Rock hits another one and regains the WWF title at 16:52. This was a war of attrition, although you have to know that given another year of development for Angle it would have had another 10 minutes of trading finishers added onto it. ****1/2 The Rock v. Booker T & Shane McMahon. From Unforgiven 2001. Rock & Booker slug it out, and Rock lariats him. Neckbreaker gets two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Shane comes in and runs away, but Rock cuts him off and pounds him. Cheapshot puts Rock down, and a Booker sideslam gets two. They work him over, but Shane gets suplexed in melodramatic fashion. He comes back with that dreaded Shane Shuffle, but gets Sharpshooted. Booker dumps him and Shane gets yet another cheapshot, and a clothesline off the railing for good measure. Back in, Rock gets posted and Booker gets two. Rock tosses him, but Shane then tosses Rock in turn. Rock & Book do some brawling, and The Book gets the best of that. Back in, the delayed kneedrop sets up the SPINAROONI, which again gets a scary heel pop. Rock, however, oblivious to the potential damaging nature of the Most Electrifying Move In Sportz Entertainment, rolls up Booker for two. Book tosses Rock again, and abuses the Spanish table. Shane sets up for the Suicide Elbow, but Rock moves before anything can happen. Back in, Rock gets the samoan drop, but Shane grabs the WCW title…and hits Booker by mistake. Well, it’s officially a Shane-booked match now. He does manage to hit Rock eventually, and gets two. Shane goes up, but misses the elbow. Book & Rock slug it out, and Rock clotheslines both guys. DDT on Booker gets two. Shane nails him and goes for the McElbow, but Rock kips up and hits Rock Bottom. Spinebuster for Booker, but Test runs in and creams Rock, because I guess Rocky fending off only two guys and a crooked ref isn’t enough melodrama. Bradshaw chases off Test, yelling something about turning Toronto into a parking lot, I think, and they head into the audience. Nick Patrick hauls the fallen Rock in, but now Mike Ciota runs in to protest. He pulls Shane off at two, then Booker gets two. The refs brawl, Rock Bottom on Booker follows, and Earl Hebner runs in on the side of justice to make the pinfall at 15:24. WAY long and overbooked for what it was, which is namely an overhyped Smackdown main event. **3/4 This feud just never clicked at all. Street Fight: The Rock v. Shane McMahon From RAW in 2001. Shane accidentally loses his kendo stick, and so gets his ass kicked to start. Rock dumps him with a clothesline, but Shane fights back with a clothesline and sends Rock into the stairs. Rock one-ups him by throwing him into the crowd, and they fight up the stairs. Rock wins that battle, but back at ringside Shane uses a trashcan to regain the advantage. They fight up the ramp and Rock swings from the bottom of the Titantron and then beats Shane down with more trashcans. Nice spot as he puts the can on Shane’s head, then chairshots him down the ramp. Back into the ring, Shane finally gets his stick back and recovers enough to beat on the Rock with it. Booker runs in to no great effect, and Rock finishes Shane with Rock Bottom at 8:49. This was the typical "walk around the arena" style brawl in lieu of actual fighting, and it was kind of boring in fact. ** However, Shane drops an elbow from the top rope to the announce table after the win, which might have added another star to the match. – From Smackdown: Lillian tries to interview the Rock, but he puts the moves on her and gets her all flabbergasted and wet…with perspiration. Apparently she wants a piece of the People’s Strudel more than anything. And then because he’s awesome, he turns it around and immediately brushes her off. That part is classic and Rock’s body language is hilarious, the rest of the promo is forgettable. – From Smackdown: Kevin Kelly tries to interview Rock, but Rock is distracted by a previous nose-picking incident and punishes him for it. – From RAW: Kurt Angle meets up with Rock and suggests that he enjoys strudel. Rock clarifies: He loves PIE. Not strudel. This of course all goes over Kurt’s head. – Carrying on, Angle gives Rock a copy of his book, and it leads to a singing contest. – From RAW: Rock has to choose a partner for Test to face him in a handicap match. He needs someone fast, easy, and with no testicles, so that only leaves Stephanie. Rock sings "Here comes the Test, and the ho with the enormous breasts" to commemorate the occasion, which is likely why this is here. That and Rock making the "Keep your eyes up here" gesture to Michael Cole on multiple occasions. – And finally, Rock meets Bill Gates at CES 2001, unveiling my all-time favourite console…the Xbox. Yeah, that’s a pretty weak collection, I admit it. It’s mainly a hype piece for his movies more than anything. Apparently they re-released it with a second disc of matches later on, but given the Rock’s almost total non-involvement during the period this set covers I’m not actually sure why they bothered. Oh yeah, cash, silly me. Recommendation to avoid.

Survivor Series Countdown, DVD Edition: The Rock (Just Bring It)

The SmarK DVD Rant for The Rock: Just Bring It! Comment by brian_solo 2008-03-29 11:34:30 "Finished with the People’s Fellatio, Scott?" What, are you new here? – So this is the sequel to "The People’s Champ" DVD, which covered 1999, and this one covers 2000-2001, because you can never have enough Rock. – Hosted by the Rock, again.– Rock talks about the beginning of the "Just bring it" catchphrase, and we follow him into the lock room in Louisiana, where he harasses the showering Kurt Angle and makes fun of Perry Saturn. – Next , the portion where we’re all supposed to get excited about the Mummy Returns and go buy the DVD. Wow, that’s a very sneaky cross-promotional tactic, sucking us in with a Rock DVD and then shilling a movie. – Rock talks about his promos and how he only does live ones, never pre-tapes. He always liked to personalize the interviews for the city to connect with the fans.  (2011 Scott sez:  Time and Hollywood sure changed his policy about not doing pre-taped interviews) – From Fully Loaded 2000: Weird, there’s suddenly a huge gap in my DVD where match highlights would normally be. I THOUGHT I heard someone from the WWE breaking into my office last night and swapping discs on me. – Dateline: Shea Stadium. The Rock does a photo shoot with Mike Piazza. This was in support of a fluff piece in USA Today about which sport is America’s real pastime: Wrestling or baseball? These days, it’s which one is steroid dealers’ favorite pastime? – From No Mercy 2000: Kurt Angle wins his first WWF title from the Rock, back when that was considered a huge upset and Kurt wasn’t quite the wrestling machine he’d become later. – Rock talks about how he’s kind of like Superman, but he sells more. – From Survivor Series 2000: Rock does his damnedest to make a star out of Rikishi. I don’t remember a darn thing about that show, actually. There was a point when Rock v. Rikishi could have been a big money feud, but they just never knew what to do with Rikishi as a heel. – Behind the scenes of yet another WWF CD flop, as Rock sings "Pie" with Slick Rick. – Back to wrestling, as Rock well and truly takes Kurt Angle from here (some point a few inches from the ground) to HERE (as my arm strains to stretch as high as it can go) with one match, creating Crazy Motherfucker Angle and getting the World title back in the process. I love this match so very, very much, and if only the stupid portion with the Big Show’s pointless run-in was omitted, it might have been *****. Kurt Angle screaming "TAP OUT OR I’LL BREAK YOUR FUCKING ANKLE!" is a thing of beauty.  (2011 Scott sez:  Of course Angle took his crazy motherfucker character a bit too far into real life later on) – Rock talks about how much he loves working with Steve Austin, which naturally leads into the highlights of Wrestlemania X-7. Rock says "buyrate" more times per DVD than anyone I’ve ever heard. This is another match was ALMOST perfect, if only they had just booked Austin to go over clean and then done their silly bullshit on some other show. What’s really amazing is watching their 99 Wrestlemania main event and then watching how much more complex and brutal this one was compared to it, only two years later. The Rock is truly a guy who tried to better his artform with every match. – The next night on RAW, Rock challenges Austin in a cage match, but HHH joins with Austin as the Two Man Powertrip and destroys him. And so Rock leaves to make The Scorpion King. – And hey, let’s hear about the Scorpion King now. I’ve seen it a few times, still enjoy it, so I’d call it a success. – And more fluff about the Mummy Returns as we really hammer home the point of this DVD. Everyone predicts he’s going to be a big huge movie star. And so he is. – July 2001: Rock returns into the mess that is the Alliance storyline and joins Team WWF. Oddly enough, back in the days when WCW was going to be spun off as a separate show, Rock was intended to become the lead babyface for WCW Mark II. – Summerslam 2001: Rock wins the WCW World title from Booker T in a match where they just didn’t mesh like they could have. Which is weird, because Booker generally works up to the level of his opponent. – Rock talks about abusing Kevin Kelly and why he calls him a hermaphrodite? Because he has both sets of genitalia, is his theory. – Dateline: Omaha. Rock hangs out at Gold’s Gym and signs autographs for everyone, because he’s a cool guy. – Rock gets honoured by the Make-A-Wish Foundation after 30 different kids had their one wish of meeting him. Apparently Chuck Norris got the award as well, although you’d think he’d have just beaten up the diseases and cured the kids. The Extras WWF World title: Kurt Angle v. The Rock. This is from No Way Out 2001, and includes the classic "tick tock, tick tock" promo from the Rock in a video package. It also includes the pre-match interview with Rock and Michael Cole’s frosted boy band hair. Angle attacks to start, but Rock hits him with a lariat out of the corner and they slug it out. Rock elbows him down and follows with a legsweep for two, but Angle fights back with a clothesline and stomps him down. Rock slugs back, but Angle takes him down into the anklelock, forcing Rock to make the ropes. Angle hits him with a pair of belly to belly suplexes, so Rock fires back with his own. He follows quickly with the Scorpion King Deathlock, but Angle makes the ropes. Rock keeps coming with a samoan drop for two. Angle comes back with a backdrop suplex and goes up, but Rock crotches him and brings him down with a superplex for two. Angle dumps him and Rock teases a leg injury, so Angle hauls him in and DDTs him. And with both out, we get a walk-in by the Big Show, as he chokeslams everyone (including the ref) and then leaves. I still have no idea what that was supposed to accomplish. Angle gets the cover out of that, for two. Funny bit there as Earl Hebner and Tim White carry the poor traumatized ref out, but Earl drops him to make the count. He’s a REFEREE, dammit, that’s what he does! Rock recovers and hits Angle with the title, for two. Rock is openly limping now, so Angle POUNCES and hooks the anklelock, then hauls Rock into the middle of the ring, slams the knee on the mat, and hooks it again. This gives us the classic "TAP OUT OR I’LL BREAK YOUR FUCKING ANKLE!" quote, but Rock makes the ropes. Kurt keeps on the leg, but Rock fights up until his leg gives out, which allows Angle to pound on him. Rock gets a desperation spinebuster and People’s Elbow, but that only gets two. Nice touch with Rock limping during the Elbow. The crowd chants "bullshit" at Angle kicking out of it, because THAT’S the ludicrous thing — someone kicking out of the People’s Elbow. It’s amazing how something so silly can become a deadly finisher. Rock gets upset with the ref, which allows Angle to hit him in the People’s Junk, and he undoes a turnbuckle for full heel effect. Rock tries Rock Bottom, but Angle sends him into the steel, and into an Angle Slam for two. Where’s the bullshit chant now, Las Vegas? Rock slugs away in the corner, but Angle goes with the easy solution and kicks him in the leg, so Rock sends him into the steel and it’s Rock Bottom…for two. Angle didn’t actually kick out, but the ref stopped counting for some reason. So Rock hits another one and regains the WWF title at 16:52. This was a war of attrition, although you have to know that given another year of development for Angle it would have had another 10 minutes of trading finishers added onto it. ****1/2 The Rock v. Booker T & Shane McMahon. From Unforgiven 2001. Rock & Booker slug it out, and Rock lariats him. Neckbreaker gets two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Shane comes in and runs away, but Rock cuts him off and pounds him. Cheapshot puts Rock down, and a Booker sideslam gets two. They work him over, but Shane gets suplexed in melodramatic fashion. He comes back with that dreaded Shane Shuffle, but gets Sharpshooted. Booker dumps him and Shane gets yet another cheapshot, and a clothesline off the railing for good measure. Back in, Rock gets posted and Booker gets two. Rock tosses him, but Shane then tosses Rock in turn. Rock & Book do some brawling, and The Book gets the best of that. Back in, the delayed kneedrop sets up the SPINAROONI, which again gets a scary heel pop. Rock, however, oblivious to the potential damaging nature of the Most Electrifying Move In Sportz Entertainment, rolls up Booker for two. Book tosses Rock again, and abuses the Spanish table. Shane sets up for the Suicide Elbow, but Rock moves before anything can happen. Back in, Rock gets the samoan drop, but Shane grabs the WCW title…and hits Booker by mistake. Well, it’s officially a Shane-booked match now. He does manage to hit Rock eventually, and gets two. Shane goes up, but misses the elbow. Book & Rock slug it out, and Rock clotheslines both guys. DDT on Booker gets two. Shane nails him and goes for the McElbow, but Rock kips up and hits Rock Bottom. Spinebuster for Booker, but Test runs in and creams Rock, because I guess Rocky fending off only two guys and a crooked ref isn’t enough melodrama. Bradshaw chases off Test, yelling something about turning Toronto into a parking lot, I think, and they head into the audience. Nick Patrick hauls the fallen Rock in, but now Mike Ciota runs in to protest. He pulls Shane off at two, then Booker gets two. The refs brawl, Rock Bottom on Booker follows, and Earl Hebner runs in on the side of justice to make the pinfall at 15:24. WAY long and overbooked for what it was, which is namely an overhyped Smackdown main event. **3/4 This feud just never clicked at all. Street Fight: The Rock v. Shane McMahon From RAW in 2001. Shane accidentally loses his kendo stick, and so gets his ass kicked to start. Rock dumps him with a clothesline, but Shane fights back with a clothesline and sends Rock into the stairs. Rock one-ups him by throwing him into the crowd, and they fight up the stairs. Rock wins that battle, but back at ringside Shane uses a trashcan to regain the advantage. They fight up the ramp and Rock swings from the bottom of the Titantron and then beats Shane down with more trashcans. Nice spot as he puts the can on Shane’s head, then chairshots him down the ramp. Back into the ring, Shane finally gets his stick back and recovers enough to beat on the Rock with it. Booker runs in to no great effect, and Rock finishes Shane with Rock Bottom at 8:49. This was the typical "walk around the arena" style brawl in lieu of actual fighting, and it was kind of boring in fact. ** However, Shane drops an elbow from the top rope to the announce table after the win, which might have added another star to the match. – From Smackdown: Lillian tries to interview the Rock, but he puts the moves on her and gets her all flabbergasted and wet…with perspiration. Apparently she wants a piece of the People’s Strudel more than anything. And then because he’s awesome, he turns it around and immediately brushes her off. That part is classic and Rock’s body language is hilarious, the rest of the promo is forgettable. – From Smackdown: Kevin Kelly tries to interview Rock, but Rock is distracted by a previous nose-picking incident and punishes him for it. – From RAW: Kurt Angle meets up with Rock and suggests that he enjoys strudel. Rock clarifies: He loves PIE. Not strudel. This of course all goes over Kurt’s head. – Carrying on, Angle gives Rock a copy of his book, and it leads to a singing contest. – From RAW: Rock has to choose a partner for Test to face him in a handicap match. He needs someone fast, easy, and with no testicles, so that only leaves Stephanie. Rock sings "Here comes the Test, and the ho with the enormous breasts" to commemorate the occasion, which is likely why this is here. That and Rock making the "Keep your eyes up here" gesture to Michael Cole on multiple occasions. – And finally, Rock meets Bill Gates at CES 2001, unveiling my all-time favourite console…the Xbox. Yeah, that’s a pretty weak collection, I admit it. It’s mainly a hype piece for his movies more than anything. Apparently they re-released it with a second disc of matches later on, but given the Rock’s almost total non-involvement during the period this set covers I’m not actually sure why they bothered. Oh yeah, cash, silly me. Recommendation to avoid.

Survivor Series Countdown, DVD Edition: The Rock (The People’s Champ)

Yeah, it’s my shameless attempt to further milk the Rock’s return, so sue me.  Today it’s the three previous Rock DVD releases, as originally done by me in 2008.

The SmarK DVD Rant for The Rock: The People’s Champ

– So this, like many of the early WWF DVDs, is an expanded and remastered version of a video tape release from a few months before.

Section 1: “Let’s Rock”

– Taken from the original video tape, this is hosted by the Rock himself, because who else could?

– It’s good to know that even back in 1999, Steve Lombardi was making appearances on other people’s DVD releases to add his opinion.

– We start officially with a mixture of the places he’s “come back to”, followed by him busting on other guy’s catchphrases and abusing Michael Cole. Rock “talking smack in his sleep” is still hilarious. I had almost forgot about his impressions of Big Show, too.  (2011 Scott sez:  Why hasn’t Rock been abusing Michael Cole again?  Can you imagine the heat that Awesome Truth would have with Michael Cole as their mouthpiece, if the fans were promised a payoff of Rock beating the shit out of Cole at Survivor Series if they won?)

– First feud of the DVD sees Rock verbally abusing Undertaker and his “33 pound head” as he trolls for a title shot. This leads to highlights of a Rock v. Undertaker v. HHH triple threat match that Rock has to win to get the shot. Undertaker eats a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow, but Chyna breaks up the pin. So Rock pins HHH instead, back in the days when that wasn’t a big deal.

– D-Lo makes a good point: Rock was the only guy to stand up to the Undertaker and not talk about him in awed tones during his promos. He’d openly bust on him and make fun of his tattoos and huge head, which made Rock look like the bigger star.

– From King of the Ring: Rock has a really dull match with Undertaker. Cut down to a minute like it is here, it almost looks watchable. Don’t be fooled — it’s 20 minutes long and all the highspots are here.

– Rock throws out the first pitch at a Pirates game.

– Rock talks about the fans and we get a montage of them doing bad Rock impressions.

– Next up, Rock v. HHH in a cage match from RAW, as HHH walks out with the help of Chyna…but the ref is out and doesn’t see it. So Rock simply beats up HHH and brings him back in, then exits the cage to win. The editing makes it seem like a pretty good match, actually.  (2011 Scott sez:  I believe this is the match that later on spawned the famous “Billy Gunn as a part of a serious booking discussion” tag, in fact)

– A montage of people getting the Rock Bottom in a variety of situations and locales.

– The Rock insults celebrities!

– Fully Loaded 99 sees Rock v. HHH in a strap match, which is weird because you’d think the cage match would have blown it off enough, but that’s Russo for ya.

– Rock introduces his barber shop and tells the story about how he came up with shining things up because of the shoe-shine service there. Yes, The Rock gets a HAIRCUT and manages to make it entertaining.

– Moving onto the worthless Billy Gunn feud, notable only for the creation of “It doesn’t matter what your name is!” and Billy’s ass-rash.

– Jumping ahead to November, as HHH has the WWF title now and Rock wants it because HHH apparently can’t even hold the Rock’s jockstrap. This leads to a title match on Smackdown with Shawn Michaels as the special referee and playing babyface. Sadly, Shawn turns on Rock and that storyline is forgotten about pretty much by the next night as Shawn leaves again. I’m not even sure what the payoff was supposed to be there.

– The Rock visits a college football game.

– The Rock N Sock Connection! All the highlights condensed into a couple of minutes. Thankfully “This Is Your Life” is cut down to “You cut the Rock off a second base” and the poontang pie.

– And then a weird period, as Rock treats Mankind like crap and it’s building and building to Mick going crazy and turning into Cactus Jack to get revenge, but it just never happens.

– Onto Rock being a jerk while also being a babyface and the announcers talk about how it’s impossible to say anything bad about him because he’s so entertaining. Putting a shirt over Michael Cole’s head because he’s ugly is just classic stuff.

– Onto a compilation of “It doesn’t matter…”. The timing on the HHH one in particular, with HHH getting this look on his face like he’s ready to start revealing his master plan in intricate detail, and then Rock cutting him off, just kills me.  (2011 Scott sez:  We needed Rock back during the HHH-Punk feud.  Can you imagine what Rock would do with Johnny Ace?)

– Another low-level feud for Rock, as Al Snow annoys Rock, and Mankind chooses his partner over his friend.

– From Smackdown in December: Rock beats Snow in a cage match. They’re kind of reaching for highlights now.

– The Rock signs his book in New York. Really, 1999 was pretty early in his career to have a book out.

– Onto the Big Show feud in January 2000, as Rock wins the Royal Rumble to wrap up the tape.

– Man, 1999 kind of sucked for the Rock, didn’t it?

Section 2: “The Rock Says”

– This is a series of the Rock’s more famous promos from 1999.

– From Sunday Night Heat, a famous interview as Rock relates a story about Billy Gunn talking to God and thus giving the world “It doesn’t matter what your name is!” Rock totally burying Gunn here is hilarious, as he basically calls it a joke that Gunn won King of the Ring and says he can’t hang with him. And it’s true on both counts!

– From RAW, August 1999. Rock coins the term “Big Slow” and notes that his music is the signal for fans to go take a leak because Show sucks. The impression of Show’s chokeslam yell is the end of the edit. Interestingly, this segment is generally shown AFTER that point, when it goes on to give the world the debut of Chris Jericho, making it doubly awesome.

– From Smackdown, August 1999. Rock tells new WWF champion HHH that “his Game sucks”. Rock’s total command of the crowd here is amazing.

– From RAW, September 1999. Rock’s pre-match promo against Kane and X-Pac, where does the voicebox imitation. JR’s deadpan “I don’t think that Kane would say that at all, King,” is a funny detail I hadn’t noticed before.

– From Smackdown, September 1999. Rock is in Vegas, so he talks about how his opponents can win the Jabroni Jackpot on the People’s Slot Machine, complete with descriptions of Undertaker running around the casino like a girl and Kane scaring off the other patrons with his celebration. Really, he just talks about nothing and it’s entertaining no matter what.

– From Smackdown, October 1999. British Bulldog challenges HHH for the WWF Title with Rock supposedly the guest ref, but Rock is too busy doing commentary to bother. Bulldog has the pin, but Rock stops counting because he doesn’t like either guy, and lays them both out with the title and takes it for himself.  (2011 Scott sez:  Rock sliding in to drop the elbow kills me every time I see this one.)

– From RAW, October 1999. More greatness from Rock N Sock, as Mankind accidentally asks for the Rock’s hand in marriage, which has the Rock emphatically stating his heterosexuality. “Uh, Rock, I’m not a biology major, but I don’t think I have any poontang to offer you.” Mick clarifies: He just doesn’t want to end up like Skip and Zip, he wants to be the Three Musketeers, because he’s always been a fan of American history. Mick’s “I sure as hell don’t want to end up like Skip” is a little more uncomfortable now, but it was a funny line at the time. Chris Jericho and Mr. Hughes interrupt and Jericho calls the skit “unfunny”, so Rock counters that he’s not impressed because he “beat some jabroni named Juventud”. Jericho responds by miming ripping the mask off. Rock gets into his catchphrases and then nearly loses it when Mankind interrupts him by copying him, a rare moment of nearly cracking up for the normally unflappable Great One. This was AWESOME and you should look it up on YouTube if it’s available.

– From Smackdown, October 1999. Rock discusses the many types of pie before a match with Mankind.

– From Smackdown, November 1999. The Thanksgiving show sees Rock once again exploring the variety of pies available for the holiday, which leads to Michael Cole getting poontang pie for the first time. Nobody could abuse Cole like the Rock.

Section 3: The Interviews

– From RAW: Michael Cole is interviewing the Rock, but he’s far too ugly, so Rock hangs a t-shirt on his face to make it easier on the Rock.

– From Fully Loaded 99: Rock points out what a whiner HHH is and clarifies that they didn’t hold HHH down because of a hug with his friends, they did it because HHH sucks.

– From RAW: Rock does his Undertaker and Big Show impressions before a Buried Alive match with them.

– From Smackdown: Rock begins his running flirtation with Lillian Garcia before another interview about Buried Alive.

– From RAW: Rock meets Louise the security guard, who is having a birthday. Again, he’s got nothing to work with, but he just builds a little storyline about how he’s about to start abusing her and then holds back because he’s a decent guy. That’s why he was so tremendously entertaining.

– From RAW later in the same show: Since he held back on Louise, Michael Cole gets both barrels of the Rock’s abuse, which gives us the Rock talking trash in his sleep and another shirt on the head. Mick chanting along with the fans is one of those great character details they always worked in.

– From RAW after Steve Austin got run over: Detectives track down the Rock for questioning about his involvement, and he absolutely chews them up and spits them out. Of course, as it turned out, the whole thing really did involve the Rock.

– From Smackdown in December: Rock looks back on the millennium. Apparently the worst moment of the past 1000 years was Mrs. Snow giving birth to Al.

So there you go. Yeah, there’s no matches, but Rock’s 99 stuff sucked anyway so no big loss there. But if you want two hours of classic trash talk from what was probably his high point as a promo guy, definitely pick this one up if you can find it for cheap. It’s pure entertainment and really makes you realize what’s missing from the product these days. I’ll do “Just Bring It” in the next couple of days to contrast their next shot at a DVD set for him.

Survivor Series Countdown, DVD Edition: The Rock (The People’s Champ)

Yeah, it’s my shameless attempt to further milk the Rock’s return, so sue me.  Today it’s the three previous Rock DVD releases, as originally done by me in 2008.

The SmarK DVD Rant for The Rock: The People’s Champ

– So this, like many of the early WWF DVDs, is an expanded and remastered version of a video tape release from a few months before.

Section 1: “Let’s Rock”

– Taken from the original video tape, this is hosted by the Rock himself, because who else could?

– It’s good to know that even back in 1999, Steve Lombardi was making appearances on other people’s DVD releases to add his opinion.

– We start officially with a mixture of the places he’s “come back to”, followed by him busting on other guy’s catchphrases and abusing Michael Cole. Rock “talking smack in his sleep” is still hilarious. I had almost forgot about his impressions of Big Show, too.  (2011 Scott sez:  Why hasn’t Rock been abusing Michael Cole again?  Can you imagine the heat that Awesome Truth would have with Michael Cole as their mouthpiece, if the fans were promised a payoff of Rock beating the shit out of Cole at Survivor Series if they won?)

– First feud of the DVD sees Rock verbally abusing Undertaker and his “33 pound head” as he trolls for a title shot. This leads to highlights of a Rock v. Undertaker v. HHH triple threat match that Rock has to win to get the shot. Undertaker eats a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow, but Chyna breaks up the pin. So Rock pins HHH instead, back in the days when that wasn’t a big deal.

– D-Lo makes a good point: Rock was the only guy to stand up to the Undertaker and not talk about him in awed tones during his promos. He’d openly bust on him and make fun of his tattoos and huge head, which made Rock look like the bigger star.

– From King of the Ring: Rock has a really dull match with Undertaker. Cut down to a minute like it is here, it almost looks watchable. Don’t be fooled — it’s 20 minutes long and all the highspots are here.

– Rock throws out the first pitch at a Pirates game.

– Rock talks about the fans and we get a montage of them doing bad Rock impressions.

– Next up, Rock v. HHH in a cage match from RAW, as HHH walks out with the help of Chyna…but the ref is out and doesn’t see it. So Rock simply beats up HHH and brings him back in, then exits the cage to win. The editing makes it seem like a pretty good match, actually.  (2011 Scott sez:  I believe this is the match that later on spawned the famous “Billy Gunn as a part of a serious booking discussion” tag, in fact)

– A montage of people getting the Rock Bottom in a variety of situations and locales.

– The Rock insults celebrities!

– Fully Loaded 99 sees Rock v. HHH in a strap match, which is weird because you’d think the cage match would have blown it off enough, but that’s Russo for ya.

– Rock introduces his barber shop and tells the story about how he came up with shining things up because of the shoe-shine service there. Yes, The Rock gets a HAIRCUT and manages to make it entertaining.

– Moving onto the worthless Billy Gunn feud, notable only for the creation of “It doesn’t matter what your name is!” and Billy’s ass-rash.

– Jumping ahead to November, as HHH has the WWF title now and Rock wants it because HHH apparently can’t even hold the Rock’s jockstrap. This leads to a title match on Smackdown with Shawn Michaels as the special referee and playing babyface. Sadly, Shawn turns on Rock and that storyline is forgotten about pretty much by the next night as Shawn leaves again. I’m not even sure what the payoff was supposed to be there.

– The Rock visits a college football game.

– The Rock N Sock Connection! All the highlights condensed into a couple of minutes. Thankfully “This Is Your Life” is cut down to “You cut the Rock off a second base” and the poontang pie.

– And then a weird period, as Rock treats Mankind like crap and it’s building and building to Mick going crazy and turning into Cactus Jack to get revenge, but it just never happens.

– Onto Rock being a jerk while also being a babyface and the announcers talk about how it’s impossible to say anything bad about him because he’s so entertaining. Putting a shirt over Michael Cole’s head because he’s ugly is just classic stuff.

– Onto a compilation of “It doesn’t matter…”. The timing on the HHH one in particular, with HHH getting this look on his face like he’s ready to start revealing his master plan in intricate detail, and then Rock cutting him off, just kills me.  (2011 Scott sez:  We needed Rock back during the HHH-Punk feud.  Can you imagine what Rock would do with Johnny Ace?)

– Another low-level feud for Rock, as Al Snow annoys Rock, and Mankind chooses his partner over his friend.

– From Smackdown in December: Rock beats Snow in a cage match. They’re kind of reaching for highlights now.

– The Rock signs his book in New York. Really, 1999 was pretty early in his career to have a book out.

– Onto the Big Show feud in January 2000, as Rock wins the Royal Rumble to wrap up the tape.

– Man, 1999 kind of sucked for the Rock, didn’t it?

Section 2: “The Rock Says”

– This is a series of the Rock’s more famous promos from 1999.

– From Sunday Night Heat, a famous interview as Rock relates a story about Billy Gunn talking to God and thus giving the world “It doesn’t matter what your name is!” Rock totally burying Gunn here is hilarious, as he basically calls it a joke that Gunn won King of the Ring and says he can’t hang with him. And it’s true on both counts!

– From RAW, August 1999. Rock coins the term “Big Slow” and notes that his music is the signal for fans to go take a leak because Show sucks. The impression of Show’s chokeslam yell is the end of the edit. Interestingly, this segment is generally shown AFTER that point, when it goes on to give the world the debut of Chris Jericho, making it doubly awesome.

– From Smackdown, August 1999. Rock tells new WWF champion HHH that “his Game sucks”. Rock’s total command of the crowd here is amazing.

– From RAW, September 1999. Rock’s pre-match promo against Kane and X-Pac, where does the voicebox imitation. JR’s deadpan “I don’t think that Kane would say that at all, King,” is a funny detail I hadn’t noticed before.

– From Smackdown, September 1999. Rock is in Vegas, so he talks about how his opponents can win the Jabroni Jackpot on the People’s Slot Machine, complete with descriptions of Undertaker running around the casino like a girl and Kane scaring off the other patrons with his celebration. Really, he just talks about nothing and it’s entertaining no matter what.

– From Smackdown, October 1999. British Bulldog challenges HHH for the WWF Title with Rock supposedly the guest ref, but Rock is too busy doing commentary to bother. Bulldog has the pin, but Rock stops counting because he doesn’t like either guy, and lays them both out with the title and takes it for himself.  (2011 Scott sez:  Rock sliding in to drop the elbow kills me every time I see this one.)

– From RAW, October 1999. More greatness from Rock N Sock, as Mankind accidentally asks for the Rock’s hand in marriage, which has the Rock emphatically stating his heterosexuality. “Uh, Rock, I’m not a biology major, but I don’t think I have any poontang to offer you.” Mick clarifies: He just doesn’t want to end up like Skip and Zip, he wants to be the Three Musketeers, because he’s always been a fan of American history. Mick’s “I sure as hell don’t want to end up like Skip” is a little more uncomfortable now, but it was a funny line at the time. Chris Jericho and Mr. Hughes interrupt and Jericho calls the skit “unfunny”, so Rock counters that he’s not impressed because he “beat some jabroni named Juventud”. Jericho responds by miming ripping the mask off. Rock gets into his catchphrases and then nearly loses it when Mankind interrupts him by copying him, a rare moment of nearly cracking up for the normally unflappable Great One. This was AWESOME and you should look it up on YouTube if it’s available.

– From Smackdown, October 1999. Rock discusses the many types of pie before a match with Mankind.

– From Smackdown, November 1999. The Thanksgiving show sees Rock once again exploring the variety of pies available for the holiday, which leads to Michael Cole getting poontang pie for the first time. Nobody could abuse Cole like the Rock.

Section 3: The Interviews

– From RAW: Michael Cole is interviewing the Rock, but he’s far too ugly, so Rock hangs a t-shirt on his face to make it easier on the Rock.

– From Fully Loaded 99: Rock points out what a whiner HHH is and clarifies that they didn’t hold HHH down because of a hug with his friends, they did it because HHH sucks.

– From RAW: Rock does his Undertaker and Big Show impressions before a Buried Alive match with them.

– From Smackdown: Rock begins his running flirtation with Lillian Garcia before another interview about Buried Alive.

– From RAW: Rock meets Louise the security guard, who is having a birthday. Again, he’s got nothing to work with, but he just builds a little storyline about how he’s about to start abusing her and then holds back because he’s a decent guy. That’s why he was so tremendously entertaining.

– From RAW later in the same show: Since he held back on Louise, Michael Cole gets both barrels of the Rock’s abuse, which gives us the Rock talking trash in his sleep and another shirt on the head. Mick chanting along with the fans is one of those great character details they always worked in.

– From RAW after Steve Austin got run over: Detectives track down the Rock for questioning about his involvement, and he absolutely chews them up and spits them out. Of course, as it turned out, the whole thing really did involve the Rock.

– From Smackdown in December: Rock looks back on the millennium. Apparently the worst moment of the past 1000 years was Mrs. Snow giving birth to Al.

So there you go. Yeah, there’s no matches, but Rock’s 99 stuff sucked anyway so no big loss there. But if you want two hours of classic trash talk from what was probably his high point as a promo guy, definitely pick this one up if you can find it for cheap. It’s pure entertainment and really makes you realize what’s missing from the product these days. I’ll do “Just Bring It” in the next couple of days to contrast their next shot at a DVD set for him.

Survivor Series Countdown, DVD Edition: The Rock (The People’s Champ)

Yeah, it’s my shameless attempt to further milk the Rock’s return, so sue me.  Today it’s the three previous Rock DVD releases, as originally done by me in 2008.

The SmarK DVD Rant for The Rock: The People’s Champ

– So this, like many of the early WWF DVDs, is an expanded and remastered version of a video tape release from a few months before.

Section 1: “Let’s Rock”

– Taken from the original video tape, this is hosted by the Rock himself, because who else could?

– It’s good to know that even back in 1999, Steve Lombardi was making appearances on other people’s DVD releases to add his opinion.

– We start officially with a mixture of the places he’s “come back to”, followed by him busting on other guy’s catchphrases and abusing Michael Cole. Rock “talking smack in his sleep” is still hilarious. I had almost forgot about his impressions of Big Show, too.  (2011 Scott sez:  Why hasn’t Rock been abusing Michael Cole again?  Can you imagine the heat that Awesome Truth would have with Michael Cole as their mouthpiece, if the fans were promised a payoff of Rock beating the shit out of Cole at Survivor Series if they won?)

– First feud of the DVD sees Rock verbally abusing Undertaker and his “33 pound head” as he trolls for a title shot. This leads to highlights of a Rock v. Undertaker v. HHH triple threat match that Rock has to win to get the shot. Undertaker eats a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow, but Chyna breaks up the pin. So Rock pins HHH instead, back in the days when that wasn’t a big deal.

– D-Lo makes a good point: Rock was the only guy to stand up to the Undertaker and not talk about him in awed tones during his promos. He’d openly bust on him and make fun of his tattoos and huge head, which made Rock look like the bigger star.

– From King of the Ring: Rock has a really dull match with Undertaker. Cut down to a minute like it is here, it almost looks watchable. Don’t be fooled — it’s 20 minutes long and all the highspots are here.

– Rock throws out the first pitch at a Pirates game.

– Rock talks about the fans and we get a montage of them doing bad Rock impressions.

– Next up, Rock v. HHH in a cage match from RAW, as HHH walks out with the help of Chyna…but the ref is out and doesn’t see it. So Rock simply beats up HHH and brings him back in, then exits the cage to win. The editing makes it seem like a pretty good match, actually.  (2011 Scott sez:  I believe this is the match that later on spawned the famous “Billy Gunn as a part of a serious booking discussion” tag, in fact)

– A montage of people getting the Rock Bottom in a variety of situations and locales.

– The Rock insults celebrities!

– Fully Loaded 99 sees Rock v. HHH in a strap match, which is weird because you’d think the cage match would have blown it off enough, but that’s Russo for ya.

– Rock introduces his barber shop and tells the story about how he came up with shining things up because of the shoe-shine service there. Yes, The Rock gets a HAIRCUT and manages to make it entertaining.

– Moving onto the worthless Billy Gunn feud, notable only for the creation of “It doesn’t matter what your name is!” and Billy’s ass-rash.

– Jumping ahead to November, as HHH has the WWF title now and Rock wants it because HHH apparently can’t even hold the Rock’s jockstrap. This leads to a title match on Smackdown with Shawn Michaels as the special referee and playing babyface. Sadly, Shawn turns on Rock and that storyline is forgotten about pretty much by the next night as Shawn leaves again. I’m not even sure what the payoff was supposed to be there.

– The Rock visits a college football game.

– The Rock N Sock Connection! All the highlights condensed into a couple of minutes. Thankfully “This Is Your Life” is cut down to “You cut the Rock off a second base” and the poontang pie.

– And then a weird period, as Rock treats Mankind like crap and it’s building and building to Mick going crazy and turning into Cactus Jack to get revenge, but it just never happens.

– Onto Rock being a jerk while also being a babyface and the announcers talk about how it’s impossible to say anything bad about him because he’s so entertaining. Putting a shirt over Michael Cole’s head because he’s ugly is just classic stuff.

– Onto a compilation of “It doesn’t matter…”. The timing on the HHH one in particular, with HHH getting this look on his face like he’s ready to start revealing his master plan in intricate detail, and then Rock cutting him off, just kills me.  (2011 Scott sez:  We needed Rock back during the HHH-Punk feud.  Can you imagine what Rock would do with Johnny Ace?)

– Another low-level feud for Rock, as Al Snow annoys Rock, and Mankind chooses his partner over his friend.

– From Smackdown in December: Rock beats Snow in a cage match. They’re kind of reaching for highlights now.

– The Rock signs his book in New York. Really, 1999 was pretty early in his career to have a book out.

– Onto the Big Show feud in January 2000, as Rock wins the Royal Rumble to wrap up the tape.

– Man, 1999 kind of sucked for the Rock, didn’t it?

Section 2: “The Rock Says”

– This is a series of the Rock’s more famous promos from 1999.

– From Sunday Night Heat, a famous interview as Rock relates a story about Billy Gunn talking to God and thus giving the world “It doesn’t matter what your name is!” Rock totally burying Gunn here is hilarious, as he basically calls it a joke that Gunn won King of the Ring and says he can’t hang with him. And it’s true on both counts!

– From RAW, August 1999. Rock coins the term “Big Slow” and notes that his music is the signal for fans to go take a leak because Show sucks. The impression of Show’s chokeslam yell is the end of the edit. Interestingly, this segment is generally shown AFTER that point, when it goes on to give the world the debut of Chris Jericho, making it doubly awesome.

– From Smackdown, August 1999. Rock tells new WWF champion HHH that “his Game sucks”. Rock’s total command of the crowd here is amazing.

– From RAW, September 1999. Rock’s pre-match promo against Kane and X-Pac, where does the voicebox imitation. JR’s deadpan “I don’t think that Kane would say that at all, King,” is a funny detail I hadn’t noticed before.

– From Smackdown, September 1999. Rock is in Vegas, so he talks about how his opponents can win the Jabroni Jackpot on the People’s Slot Machine, complete with descriptions of Undertaker running around the casino like a girl and Kane scaring off the other patrons with his celebration. Really, he just talks about nothing and it’s entertaining no matter what.

– From Smackdown, October 1999. British Bulldog challenges HHH for the WWF Title with Rock supposedly the guest ref, but Rock is too busy doing commentary to bother. Bulldog has the pin, but Rock stops counting because he doesn’t like either guy, and lays them both out with the title and takes it for himself.  (2011 Scott sez:  Rock sliding in to drop the elbow kills me every time I see this one.)

– From RAW, October 1999. More greatness from Rock N Sock, as Mankind accidentally asks for the Rock’s hand in marriage, which has the Rock emphatically stating his heterosexuality. “Uh, Rock, I’m not a biology major, but I don’t think I have any poontang to offer you.” Mick clarifies: He just doesn’t want to end up like Skip and Zip, he wants to be the Three Musketeers, because he’s always been a fan of American history. Mick’s “I sure as hell don’t want to end up like Skip” is a little more uncomfortable now, but it was a funny line at the time. Chris Jericho and Mr. Hughes interrupt and Jericho calls the skit “unfunny”, so Rock counters that he’s not impressed because he “beat some jabroni named Juventud”. Jericho responds by miming ripping the mask off. Rock gets into his catchphrases and then nearly loses it when Mankind interrupts him by copying him, a rare moment of nearly cracking up for the normally unflappable Great One. This was AWESOME and you should look it up on YouTube if it’s available.

– From Smackdown, October 1999. Rock discusses the many types of pie before a match with Mankind.

– From Smackdown, November 1999. The Thanksgiving show sees Rock once again exploring the variety of pies available for the holiday, which leads to Michael Cole getting poontang pie for the first time. Nobody could abuse Cole like the Rock.

Section 3: The Interviews

– From RAW: Michael Cole is interviewing the Rock, but he’s far too ugly, so Rock hangs a t-shirt on his face to make it easier on the Rock.

– From Fully Loaded 99: Rock points out what a whiner HHH is and clarifies that they didn’t hold HHH down because of a hug with his friends, they did it because HHH sucks.

– From RAW: Rock does his Undertaker and Big Show impressions before a Buried Alive match with them.

– From Smackdown: Rock begins his running flirtation with Lillian Garcia before another interview about Buried Alive.

– From RAW: Rock meets Louise the security guard, who is having a birthday. Again, he’s got nothing to work with, but he just builds a little storyline about how he’s about to start abusing her and then holds back because he’s a decent guy. That’s why he was so tremendously entertaining.

– From RAW later in the same show: Since he held back on Louise, Michael Cole gets both barrels of the Rock’s abuse, which gives us the Rock talking trash in his sleep and another shirt on the head. Mick chanting along with the fans is one of those great character details they always worked in.

– From RAW after Steve Austin got run over: Detectives track down the Rock for questioning about his involvement, and he absolutely chews them up and spits them out. Of course, as it turned out, the whole thing really did involve the Rock.

– From Smackdown in December: Rock looks back on the millennium. Apparently the worst moment of the past 1000 years was Mrs. Snow giving birth to Al.

So there you go. Yeah, there’s no matches, but Rock’s 99 stuff sucked anyway so no big loss there. But if you want two hours of classic trash talk from what was probably his high point as a promo guy, definitely pick this one up if you can find it for cheap. It’s pure entertainment and really makes you realize what’s missing from the product these days. I’ll do “Just Bring It” in the next couple of days to contrast their next shot at a DVD set for him.