SummerFest Countdown: 2001

(I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not gonna get this countdown done before the PPV.  Oh well, much like voting for Linda, you knew what you were getting into with me.  Once again I redid this one a few years back as a tandem rant with Michael Fitzgerald, so I’ll seamlessly splice in my matches from that rant after the original versions.  It’s fun for everyone to play along at home with!)  The SmarK Rant for WWF Summerslam 2001 – Live from San Jose, CA – Your hosts are JR & Paul E. – Opening match, Intercontinental title: Lance Storm v. Edge. Once again, Lance’s opening promo is interrupted by offbeat shenanigans. You know, if years of reading Mad Magazine have taught me anything, it’s that offbeat shenanigans are only funny until you run out of material, and then you’re just some hipster doofus sponsoring a sketch-comedy show on FOX. Think about it. (Cracked is far cooler now anyway, even if they no longer have a magazine.)  Mat stuff to start, and Edge gets a flapjack and dumps him. They head out and brawl, and back in Edge goes up with a flying bodypress for two. Storm reverses a suplex and tosses him, as Edge takes the railing bump. Back in, Edge eats knee and Storm gets two. Edge cradle gets two. Storm gets a front suplex, a rarely-used move these days. Storm starts working the ribs, as Edge comes back but misses a dropkick. Inside cradle gets two for Edge, but Storm comes back and pins him for two. They slug it out and Edge goes for a crucifix, reversed by Storm to a rolling fireman’s carry for two. Back to the ribs, and a senton gets two. Don’t see much of that, either. (Haven’t you ever seen a Bully Ray or Tensai match?  Oh, yeah, it’s only 2001, never mind.)  Edge fights back, but walks into an abdominal stretch, in one of the very few instances where it’s actually a sound move given the psychology. Edge hiptosses Storm out of the ring to escape, but Storm goes up…and gets powerslammed on the way down. Double KO and they slug it out, which Edge wins. Backdrop and heel kick get two. Storm suplex is reversed to the Edge-O-Matic for two. Edge blocks a rana with a powerbomb for two. Storm slaps on the Canadian Mapleleaf, however, and things are looking bleak. Edge makes the ropes and hooks his own half-crab, however. Christian decides to run in, spears Edge by mistake, and Storm gets…two. Thought that might be it. Superkick is blocked, and the Impaler finishes at 11:16 to give Edge his second IC title. Storm carried Edge to the match of his career, but once again the Great Toronto Conspiracy sees the Ontario boy going over the Albertan. **** Note to certain people: That last part was a joke.  (No it wasn’t.)  (Take 2!) Intercontinental title: Lance Storm v. Edge God, I’d totally forgotten about Storm’s IC title reign. It’s also kind of funny thinking of the days when Edge was a smiling babyface. Storm complains about offbeat shenangians in his pre-match promo, but sadly gets cut off by Edge. I wanted to hear his reasoning! (Maybe he’ll go into an extended rant on Figure Four Daily one day.)  I should note that Edge looks WAY more cut up back then than he does now. (…allegedly.) Not that I’m accusing him of anything. (Exactly!  I said “allegedly” after all, so legally I can say whatever I want!)  They fight over a lockup and Storm grabs a headlock, but Edge faceplants him and dropkicks him to the floor. They brawl on the floor and Edge heads up with a high cross when they get back in, and that gets two. Storm comes back and suplexes Edge onto the top rope and sends him back to the floor again. Back in, Storm stomps him down, but Edge comes back with a rollup for two. Lance takes him down with a gourdbuster for two and drops some knees on the midsection to work on that, which gets two. Not sure where he’s going with this yet. Edge fights back, but whiffs on a dropkick, then recovers with a small package for two. Storm takes him down for two, but Edge fights back again. Storm blocks a crucifix attempt with a Regal Roll, and that gets two. We hit the chinlock as I guess Storm is working on the general area of the back, and a senton splash gets two. He goes to the abdominal stretch, so I guess it’s just general torso psychology tonight. Storm tries to go up and gets powerslammed as a result, and we do the double knockout before Edge makes his comeback. Backdrop and leg lariat gets two. They reverse into the Edge-O-Matic, which gets two. Storm tries a rana, but Edge counters with a powerbomb for two. Storm manages to roll into the Canadian Maple Leaf (half crab), but Edge powers himself into the ropes and then reverses to his own. The ref gets bumped and Christian runs in, but hits his own brother and Storm gets two. Storm tries to finish with the superkick, but Edge catches it and finishes with the Impaler DDT at 11:18. Not a bad opener, but certainly not as good as I originally rated it. The psychology was all over the place but it had a good pace and some nice reversals. *** – Meanwhile, Test gets all bitter on Michael Cole. – Spike Dudley & The APA v. Test & The Dudley Boyz. Faarooq quickly takes the double-team neckbreaker and D-Von gets his twisty elbow thing, but he walks into a spinebuster. Test pounds on Faarooq in retaliation, but the APA double-team him. Bradshaw gets caught in the Alliance corner, but no-sells and DDTs D-Von for two. Spike comes in with a small package for two. Bubba drops him on the top rope in dramatic fashion and he’s YOUR face-in-peril, as if there was ever a doubt. Test gets a spinebuster and D-Von gets a table. Suddenly everyone in the room calls the finish from 10 miles away. Can you? Test tries to slam Spike through the table, but Spike falls back for two. Dudleyz flapjack him for two. D-Von goes up and misses, hot tag Bradshaw. The APA cleans house, leaving Bradshaw and Test. Powerbomb for Test gets two. Spike tries the Acid Drop on Test, and of course Test javelins him through the table outside. Bradshaw hits the Clothesline from Heck, and Shane-O-Mac makes a rare undercard appearance, clocking Bradshaw with a chair and giving Test the pin at 7:18. Man, Shane is just drooling to get Test over. Match was standard stuff, but pretty decent for what it was. *1/2 – Meanwhile, Christian gets a call from gramma…and gets blown off in favor of Edge. Ouch. (See, at this point they were still being portrayed as brothers within kayfabe, which is why it was made all the more confusing when they suddenly just became “good friends” years later.  IT’S STILL REAL TO ME, DAMMIT!)  – Meanwhile, Meat gets chewed out by Debra (In a manner of speaking), and decides to once again do something memorable, including changing his tights. “I don’t even KNOW what ‘mecca’ means!”. See, now they should just keep this guy around for comic relief. (Sadly, they did not and now he’s not even IN THIS BUSINESS anymore.)  – Title v. title: X-Pac v. Tajiri. If you don’t know who’s gonna win this match and why, you’re a sad, naïve soul and there’s no hope for you. They trade wristlockery to start, and Tajiri gets a standing moonsault for two. X-Pac rides him down, Tajiri responds in kind. Tajiri gets a rana, X-Pac bails, and Tajiri follows with a nice quebrada. X-Pac posts him low and kicks him in the back while he’s hanging there, for good measure. Back in, X-Pac spinkick gets two. Into the bow-and-arrow, but X-Pac’s shoulders are down for two. X-Pac powerbomb gets two. Broncobuster misses, and Tajiri kicks him in the corner and comes back with the handspring elbow for two. Tarantula and he goes up, but X-Pac reverses a bodypress for two. X-Pac goes up and lands in a weird pinning combo, but Tajiri catapults him into the turnbuckle and gets a german suplex for two. Tajiri gets dumped and X-Pac follows with a somersault plancha. Back in, Tajiri tries the handspring again, but X-Pac ducks it and gets the X-Factor for two, reversed to that weird submission move and a cradle for two. Albert lumbers out as X-Pac spinkicks Tajiri, but when he jumps onto the apron Tajiri mists him…and walks into the X-Factor for the pin at 7:33. Oh, what a shocking finish. Match was a bit on the short side, but good. **3/4 Notice the pattern: X-Pac finds the new hot thing (Kidman, Tajiri), puts them over to set up a rematch, and then wins the last match so that he can bury them and make sure they don’t get over. HHH must be teaching classes now or something.  (In fact he’s now head of developmental, so yes, in a manner of speaking, he is teaching classes.)  (Take 2!) Cruiserweight v. Light Heavyweight title: X-Pac v. Tajiri So Tajiri had the WWF belt and X-Pac had the WCW belt, despite them representing the opposite brands at this point. X-Pac was busy dragging both Justin Credible and Albert down with him via his “X Factor” stable. X-Pac takes Tajiri down with an armdrag while Jim Ross reminds people to call and harass DirectTV about not carrying WWF PPVs any longer. Boy, that was a one-sided fight, as it turned out. They trade takedowns and smack each other around, then X-Pac flips out of a hiptoss attempt before Tajiri dumps him and follows with a baseball slide. A nice plancha follows and they brawl on the floor, but Tajiri meets the post nut-first. Even his puffy pants couldn’t save him there. Back in, Tajiri tries flipping in, but X-Pac hits him with a spinkick to set up a bow-and-arrow. That results in X-Pac’s shoulders being down, so it gets two for Tajiri. Tajiri tries a rana, which is countered to a powerbomb for two. X-Pac misses the Bronco Buster and gets hung in the Tree of Woe, and Tajiri dropkicks him and makes the comeback. Handspring elbow gets two. Tarantula and he goes up with a high cross, but X-Pac rolls through for two. They fight in the corner and Tajiri gets a weird pinning combo for two, then catapults him in to the corner and into a german suplex for two. Tajiri goes to the apron and gets kicked to the floor as a result, and X-Pac follows with a somersault tope, actually showing some motivation tonight. Must have had the good shit delivered to him. (Allegedly.) Back in, the X-Factor gets two. Albert wanders out for moral support as Tajiri escapes a powerbomb, but Tajiri stops to spray the deadly RED MIST OF DEATH at Albert, allowing X-Pac to finish with another X-Factor at 7:23. (Little known fact:  The deadly red mist, which has strange, short-term effects on anyone sprayed with it, in fact made Albert believe himself to be Japanese for a time, so much so that he moved to Japan and tricked all the internet fans into thinking he didn’t still completely suck.)  Short but full of cool highspots and an energetic Sean Waltman. *** X-Pac had both belts as a result, although the WWF one, in a move very unlike the organization, would be jettisoned in favour of the WCW Cruiserweight title instead. – Chris Jericho v. Rhyno. Speaking of “As the Political World Turns”, here’s another interesting match, based more on connections than actual booking. (What, the PBS series hosted by James Burke?  Because that was AWESOME!) Slugfest is won by Rhyno, and he grabs a headlock. Jericho crossbodies him and unleashes MIDCARD VIOLENCE. Rhyno tosses him, but he comes back in with a shot off the top for two. Walls of Jericho are blocked, but Rhyno bails and gets hit with the springboard dropkick. He goes up, but Steph’s giant mammaries distract him and block out half the ringlights, allowing Rhyno to GOAR GOAR GOAR Jericho on the way down to the floor. Back in, it gets two. Rhyno goes all OLD-SKOOL~!, with a body-scissors and AIRPLANE SPIN, BABEE! See, I was just calling for the resurrection of that move in the Wrestling Gold rants. That’s service. We hit the chinlock, and Jericho fights out and gets a rollup for two. Rhynoplex and he goes up, but misses a splash. Of course, had Jericho not moved it wouldn’t have hit anyway, but that’s neither here nor there. Jericho backslide gets two, and he comes back. A moonsault press is BADLY blown, but gets two. Rhyno misses a blind charge and Jericho goes up, and manages to blow a missile dropkick in EVEN WORSE fashion, slipping off the top completely and nearly breaking his neck. Note to Chris: Get rid of the damn lifts, you’re not fooling anyone. Note to Stephanie: There’s your comeback next time he makes fun of your gigantic bazookas. Note to Rhyno: I don’t really have anything witty to say to you, but I didn’t want you feeling left out. They then break my first rule of wrestling by repeating the spot, and this time Jericho tries from the middle to play it safe, and thus hits it. But alas, Sable McMahon-Helmsley is distracting the ref, so Jericho heads over and kisses her, setting up what I think we all know is coming down the road. Lionsault gets two, but Rhyno comes back with a spinebuster and Walls of Rhyno! Jericho makes the ropes and Rhyno preps for the GOAR GOAR GOAR, but misses and Jericho finishes with a Rhynotamer at 12:34. Good effort from everyone not 3 inches taller than they should be. *** (This was of course a LEGENDARY source of botched spot hilarity later on.)  I hear through the grapevine that Jericho is now actively sucking up to the booking committee, which both delights and depresses me, for entirely differing reasons. (Pff, what’s that gonna get him, both WCW and WWF World titles at the same time for the first time in history?  Dream on, Jericho!)  But then I’m only truly faithful to the Other Chris when it comes down to it, (You know, Chris Evans, Captain America and Johnny Storm, that guy…) so what happens to Jericho at this point in his career has become less important to me with every PPV. Note to conspiracy theorists: JR sewed the seeds of the double-turn by declaring that Rhyno would look good in WWF colors. Maybe that just means he wants to dress him in a panda suit… (Oh that joke proved to be far too close to home, as it turned out.)  – Hardcore ladder match: Jeff Hardy v. Rob Van Dam. Matwork to start establishes parity. They trade kicks and Jeff legdrops him low, and Rob backs off. Jeff gets dumped, but hiptosses Rob out and follows with a corkscrew plancha. He comes off the top and hits railing, allowing RVD to get the guillotine legdrop and grab the ladder. Jeff meets with the railrunner and brings the ladder in himself, but takes it in the jaw. Rob straddles the ladder to pick it up, and takes it in the crotch. Hardy 1, RVD 0. Double-jump moonsault on the ladder follows, but a blind charge misses and Rob hangs him in the Tree of Woe and does bad stuff to him, like forcing him to watch those old matches from Shotgun in 98 where the Hardy Boyz were dressing like Bon Jovi and jobbing to Los Boriquas.  (As opposed to now, where Jeff paints eyes on his eyelids and looks like a rave party survivor.)  Okay, he just kicks him in the face a bunch of times, but I think the former would be more painful. Rob puts Jeff on the ladder and somersaults across the ring onto it, and then spinkicks and superkicks Jeff to set up another guillotine legdrop, this time onto the ladder. Rob showboats outside and turns around to meet the ladder face-first, buying Jeff some time. Jeff climbs but gets dropkicked off. A cartwheel splash onto the ladder kills Jeff. Rob should have one of those gymnastics balls and a length of ribbon tied around his wrist to complete his ensemble. I mean, a friggin’ CARTWHEEL? He climbs, but gets dropkicked and falls off, wiping out both guys. Jeff DDTs him and goes up, but misses the swanton. ***** frog splash also misses. Jeff climbs again, RVD follows, and superplexes Jeff off the ladder. Rob goes back up, Jeff follows, and powerbombs him off the ladder. Jeff climbs again and grabs the belt, but Rob yanks the ladder away, leaving him swinging there. Missile dropkick fails to dislodge him, but Jeff eventually falls anyway, without the belt. Jeff goes back up, but Rob pushes him over (and hurt Jeff’s leg on the ropes from the looks of things), climbs up himself, and regains the title at 16:33. You could see they were trying to tone down the crazy spots a lot, but the result is a lacklustre, although still really good, ladder match. **** (Take 2!) WWF Hardcore title, ladder match: Jeff Hardy v. Rob Van Dam This is a rematch from Invasion 2001, which basically unleashed RVD on the world. They do some mat-wrestling to start, but who are we kidding here? They slug it out and Rob blocks a rollup, but stops to pose and gets hiptossed to the floor. Jeff follows with a corkscrew quebrada and they brawl on the floor. Rob hits the post, but Jeff tries to follow with a dive and hits the railing instead. So I’d call it even. Rob guillotines him on the railing, but Jeff comes back and runs the railing to keep Rob from fetching the ladder. Jeff tries to bring the ladder into the ring, but Rob catapults it into his face, and then Jeff returns the favour. Both spots were pretty contrived. Jeff springboards back in with a moonsault and follows with his double legdrop thing, but runs into an elbow in the corner. RVD hangs him in the Tree of Woe and backflips into a shoulderblock. See, now there the flip makes sense, because it builds momentum for the strike by allowing him to spring off his legs. He puts Jeff on the ladder and hits him with Rolling Thunder onto it, back when that was a new move for WWF audiences. Jeff fights up, but Rob spinkicks him and then puts him on the ladder again with a superkick and springs over the top with a legdrop. He takes a breather on the floor, but Jeff dropkicks the ladder into his face and tries to climb for the first time. Rob dropkicks him off the ladder to break it up. He puts the ladder onto Hardy and moonsaults it, which is one of those spots where it can’t do enough damage to the other guy to justify the damage to yourself, but that’s wrestling for ya. Rob climbs and Jeff gives him a receipt on the dropkick, so now they’re even again. Jeff DDTs RVD and heads up, with nary a ladder in sight, but he misses the swanton and Rob then pops up and misses the frog splash. Talk about your 50/50 booking. Jeff is the least injured so he climbs, and Rob follows him up and brings him down with a suplex. So now Rob climbs and it’s Jeff’s turn to bring him down, in this case with a powerbomb. And people watch them taking flat back bumps like that and wonder why wrestlers get addicted to painkillers? (Or get caught holding them with intent to distribute…) Jeff climbs and grabs the belt, but Rob removes the ladder, leaving Hardy swinging in the proverbial wind. Rob tries a spectacular spot where he spinkicks him off the belt, but misses and it just looks silly. Jeff falls down anyway, so mission accomplished, if indirectly. Jeff climbs again, but Rob is on it and pushes the ladder over, and this time Jeff can’t stop him from reaching the title at 16:33. The finish was less than inspiring, but the bumps were sick and it turned RVD into a star, so good on them. ***1/2 – Meanwhile, Shane has a gift for Booker: Bookends made out of the announce table. Awww. – WWF v. WCW tag titles: DDP & Kanyon v. Underseller & Kane. The brothers dismantle the Jersey Boyz and no-sell EVERYTHING, including a lowblow and two shots to the cage from DDP. UT no-sells a clothesline and more carnage follows. Kanyon gets chokeslammed and DDT gets pole-vaulted into the cage. Kanyon finally manages a fame-asser on Kane and DDP DDTs UT. They climb, but UT grabs DDP and tells Kane to let Kanyon get out. So it’s 2-on-1, and they just absolutely murder DDP, giving him literally no offense. Finally, he just tells Page to get the hell out and don’t come back, but even then changes his mind, chokeslams him, and finishes with the Last Ride to unify the titles at 10:17. 1/2* You know, I know that DDP is being a jerk backstage and that’s why this match was made into what it was, but for someone paying $30 to watch this at home who DOESN’T know this stuff, this had no place on PPV. I mean, you’re paying DDP like $300,000 a year and using him as a JOB GUY for Undertaker? What’s the point? They already used O’Haire and Palumbo in that slot two shows in a row, and they make a hell of a lot less than DDP does and have FAR more years ahead of them in the business. I hope to GOD this feud is finally put to rest once and for all (it was) and they just get rid of DDP and get it over with so that Kanyon isn’t brought down any further.  (They did get rid of DDP the next year, but things didn’t end up good for Kanyon in the end.)  Wasting a potential money-drawing unification match to play political games is the kind of thing WCW used to do. I’m pretty sure that Vince McMahon is above that sort of stuff and I hope he’s gotten it out of his system now. (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!) And let’s place our bets now on what goofy non-finish is used to get the unified titles off them.  (Two fairly clean jobs, actually, one to the Dudley Boyz to get the WWF titles off them, and one to Booker T & Test to get the WCW belts.)  – WWF title match: Steve Austin v. Kurt Angle. Fight on the floor to start, and Austin whales on him. Into the ring, Angle takes him down and they pound on each other like schoolkids fighting over a girl. Angle stomps a mudhole, but makes a crucial tactical error by not walking it dry, and Austin gets his own shots in. Angle clothesline and bodyblock get two, however. He puts his head down and gets caught, and Austin works on the knee. Stepover toehold is countered with the anklelock, but Austin makes the ropes. Outside, Austin hits a clothesline and they head in, where Austin dumps him again to soften up the ankle. Back in, a triple suplex gets two, but Angle comes back and gets seven german suplexes. HEY! That’s gimmick infringement! Angle Slam is blocked, and Austin sends him to the turnbuckle. Austin puts him on top, but Angle blocks a superplex. Austin keeps wearing him down and gets it on the second try. Good psychology there. KICK WHAM STUNNER out of nowhere…gets two. Again, and Angle goes flying out of the ring on the rebound. Austin viciously posts him, drawing blood as promised on RAW. Another two postings are added for good luck, then one for the road and one to grow on. Angle, as you might guess, looks like Tommy Dreamer after taking a tour of the cheese grater factory. Austin slugs him down for two, then tosses him back out and back to that post again. Angle finally sends Austin into the crowd, but Austin suplexes him on the concrete. As Austin climbs back in, however, Angle catches the anklelock, then drags him into the ring by the foot and keeps it on until Austin makes the ropes. Austin bails as Angle bleeds to death. Belly to belly on the floor turns the tide for Angle, and a backdrop suplex there helps. Back in, Angle hits the Anglesault for two. Austin grabs a Million Dollar Dream (!!), but Angle shows awesome psychology by using the Bret Hart Counter from Survivor Series 96 for two, which Austin then counters by rolling out of it and maintaining the sleeperhold. I bow to the Buddha nature of these guys and am not worthy to recap their matches. Angle dumps him to break, but Austin sneaks back in, KICK WHAM STUNNER…gets two. The crowd and my young cousins nearly have a collective heart attack. (I have no idea who the hell I would have been watching with in 2001 unless I was off visiting my family at the time.  This was pre-marriage so I would have been watching with my usual crew in Edmonton, I would think.  Nothing you care about, of course, but I’m always curious about the off-hand things I would write and then forget about.)  Angle crawls up, blocks another Stunner, and gets the Angle Slam for the double KO. Angle crawls over for two. Anklelock, but Austin is in the ropes, and just in case he decks the ref. DDT from Angle, but a second ref counts two. Austin takes that ref out. Third ref in, third ref out. Angle Slam, no ref. Nick Patrick comes in, disqualifies Austin for grievous mistreatment of WWF officials, and the crowd is PISSED at 23:11. Man, they totally booked themselves into a corner with this match – they couldn’t put Austin over because it would destroy Kurt Angle, but they couldn’t put Angle over because they need Austin strong for the unification match against Rock. (Which never happened.) And that’s why DQs were invented. If it had a finish, it’s Match of the Year, but it didn’t, so it ain’t. ****1/2 (Take 2!)  WWF World title: Steve Austin v. Kurt Angle Ah, for the days when Angle wasn’t a bloated freak. Austin had of course just betrayed the WWF and joined the Alliance, in vain hopes of salvaging his horrible heel turn. Really, casting Austin as the Bad Guy and Angle as the All-American Boy was the wrong thing for both guys, when each worked better on the other side of the fence. Luckily for the booking team, September 11 came along and gave them a need for an American hero. It was of course unlucky for everyone else in the world, but the point still stands. Big brawl to start and Angle takes him down in the ring and pounds away in the corner, but Austin fires back with chops. Angle gets a clothesline out of the corner and follows with a bodypress for two, but puts his head down and gets clobbered. Austin stomps him down, but Angle quickly grabs the anklelock, forcing Austin to make the ropes. They head out and Austin wins a quick brawl, but Angle is game for a slugfest in the ring. Austin dumps him to end that. Back in, Austin gets a pair of suplexes, and a third one gets two. Angle fires back with the rolling germans, and he manages seven of them, but Austin goes to the eyes to block the Angle Slam. Austin puts Angle on top, but his superplex attempt is blocked, and he has to fight his way back up and get it on the second attempt. I love it when guys have to fight for a move like that, because it adds a touch of realism to a move that’s so fundamentally ridiculous if you stop and think about the cooperation needed to pull it off. KICK WHAM STUNNER gets two, and then a second one actually sends Angle flying out of the ring. Angle sends him SQUARE into the post, and if that isn’t a cue for blood I don’t know what is. And then again for good measure, because Austin is a bastard. And a third one, just so Angle knows who’s boss. Angle’s cartoonish, flat back sell of each one is awesome stuff. Austin gives him two more, although the sixth one is more of a blow to the shoulder, and sure enough Angle is bleeding. Austin, his facial expressions showing why he was the best wrestler in the world for so long, slugs on the cut with glee, and gets two back in the ring. Back to the floor and Angle gets a seventh trip to the post. You know, I don’t recall anyone else doing that kind of spot, where you punish a guy with multiple postings like that. Someone should steal it, because I totally forgot about it until watching it again now. Austin continues the beating, suplexing him into the crowd, but Angle snaps and anklelocks him on the floor. That’s just silly, but Angle is a smart guy and he drags Austin back in and does it again, forcing Austin to make the ropes. Austin bails, so now Angle goes on the offensive and hits him with a belly to belly suplex on the floor and then follows with a backdrop suplex. Back in, the Anglesault gets two. Austin tries a tilt-a-whirl and Angle escapes, so Austin changes gears and hooks the Million Dollar Dream, which JR makes sure to call the cobra clutch instead because Ted Dibiase was persona non grata with WWE at that point. Angle does the Bret Hart reversal for two, but it’s 5 years later and Austin knows better, and he hangs on. I don’t know if that was intentional, but that’s how I interpreted it. And it’s my review, so nyah. Angle dumps him to escape, but Austin (still selling the ankle) sneaks back in with malice and it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER for two. Austin’s evil expressions just make the match. Angle is a fabulous worker and talker, but Austin is on another planet when it comes to the little touches. Angle pulls himself up and Austin gives him the disdainful glare, which Angle uses as a chance for the Angle Slam. That gets two. Another anklelock try, but Austin was already in the ropes and he escapes. Ref is bumped and Angle DDTs Austin, which brings out another ref for the count. That gets two. Austin goes low on Angle and the new ref gets in his face, and you can guess what happens to him. A third ref comes in to prevent Austin from using the belt, but Steve beats on him like he was his wife or something. Angle Slam, but Evil Ref Nick Patrick runs in to finish off the three-ring circus of refs and disqualifies Steve Austin at 22:37. Angle’s great, but this was the Steve Austin Show, as he carried everything on two legs to match of the year candidates in 2001, including HHH, the Rock and then of course Angle. ****1/2 If this was a one-off thing then the DQ would piss me off more than it did, but Angle went over clean at Unforgiven so no biggie. My friend Ed Koskey later complained to me that Austin changed the booking around, altering the original plans of Angle beating on him so badly that he needed to get himself disqualified, but I think this way made for a better match anyway so I can understand both sides of the argument. – WCW Title match: Booker T v. The Rock. Rock slugs away and chases Shane, allowing Booker to catch him coming back in. Rock gets a Samoan drop for two, but walks into a kneelift. The Book unloads with chops, but Rock lays the smackdown. La Majistral gets two. Good lord, Rocky. Booker hits the sidekick for two, and they slug it out again. Booker gets bumped, and they brawl until Rock goes low, pissing off Paul Heyman. Booker crotches Rock on the railing and they head into the crowd. Wicked clothesline from the Bookerman. He sends Rock back to the ringside and preps the announce table, then tosses him into the ringpost (where’s Angle blood is apparently still congealing) while Shane loosens a turnbuckle. Back in, Rock fights back but walks into a spinkick for two. Short-arm clothesline and kneedrop, but Rock fights back…and gets hit with the forearm for two. Booker hits the chinlock, into the surfboard. He’s gotta do something about that habit if he wants to go from a ***1/2 guy to a ****1/2 guy. Rock escapes and hooks the Sharpshooter, but Shane distracts the ref. Rock chases and gets kicked in the head for two. Rock gets a clothesline and catapults Booker into that loose turnbuckle (O, the painful hand of irony!), and a DDT gets two. Shane gives Booker a chair and then lays out Rock with the WCW title while the ref removes said chair. The APA come out and lay out Shane in revenge for earlier in the night. BOOKEND, BOOKEND, BOOKEND…gets two. Rock comes back with the flying lariat and overhead belly to belly for two. Spinebuster sets up the People’s Elbow, but Shane pulls out the ref. Rock gives Shane Rock Bottom and heads back in. Booker gets a spinebuster, no cover. Axe Kick sets up THE MOST ELECTRIFYING MOVE IN SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT TODAY, the Spinarooni, but Rock pops up, Rock Bottom, goodbye at 15:18 as Rock wins the WCW title. Frighteningly, the Spinarooni got a Poparooni. Really good match, but not WWF main-event level good, more like WCW main-event level good. That’s not a knock on either guy, because Rock is rusty and Booker just needs more main events to learn the style, but nonetheless they weren’t gonna follow Austin-Angle and it was kinda silly to even try. ***3/4 (Take 2!  Courtesy the third Rock DVD review…) 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. *** The Bottom Line: Probably the second-best PPV of the year after Wrestlemania X-7 and definitely the best Summerslam ever  (WHOA THERE, cowboy!), with 7 good matches and only one total stinkeroo in the form of the tag title cage match. Still, the Austin-Angle match was kinda like having a heaping bowl of delicious chili and finding a used needle stuck to the roof of your mouth at the end of it. I was actually thinking they’d go Angle over Austin and Booker over Rock to set up rematches next month, but I guess the money is burning a hole in Vince’s pocket and he wants to shoot his unification wad at Unforgiven and get it over with. (Surprisingly, no.) But hey, it’s his company, and I can totally understand why he’d want to. Peace, we out…