Let’s See What’s In The News Today…

Hey Scott–
Long-time reader, first-time e-mailer.  Two recent news items caught my eye and I thought I’d send ’em your way.
Don’t know how much you’ve been paying attention to the US Presidential election (hopefully not at all), but there’s a non-zero chance that Pennsylvania wingnut Rick Santorum could secure the Republican nomination, much ot the consternation/panic of American liberals.  He apparently played some manner of role in ending state regulation of pro wrestling back in the late-80s, so stories like this one have been floating around liberal news sites as of late.  I find the mock shock and horror on display to be pretty hilarious – the bit about blading at the end is a howler!
Also, apparently Damien Demento is now an artist.  Good for him, I guess…
Keep up the good work.

I pay almost no attention to anything political, so the only frame of reference I have for Santorum is that he hates gays, because I read Savage Love on a regular basis.  And wrestling has long been an easy topic for politicians to attack, because no one involved in it is seemingly able to defend themselves without sounding like Stephanie on the 9/11 special, so it’s pretty much free points. Last I had seen of Demento, he was ranting on YouTube and answering viewer mail, so it’s nice to know he’s finding something else to do with his days now. 

Wrestlemania Countdown: 16 (2000)

The Netcop Rant for Wrestlemania 2000 – Brought to you by refreshing, chilled orange soda! Don’t worry, it’s just an inside joke… – Note on the pre-game show: Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan. Rahim and I were the only two out of the group to be true wrestling geeks and endure the entire 8 hour pre-game show (with all 6 outfits worn by Ivory), although I gave up on my pledge to recap the whole thing once the tension headache set in around Wrestlemania V, and it lasted until Wrestlemania XII when the Tylenol kicked in. That’s just too damn much wrestling for any one person. As a general note on the show, the editing choices were kind of weird, as were the match selections and clipping, and we counted about 17 different kinds of special effects used by the graphics people, with all sorts of letterboxing, color tinting, fades, dissolves and every other neato trick learned in film school. Owen v. Bret was shown almost in it’s entirety, but Steamboat v. Savage was clipped to three minutes? Still, a very interesting and LONG look back at all the Wrestlemanias.  (Wonder why they never released the entire thing on DVD?  They’ll release any other stupid thing they can fill 8 hours of space with now, it seems.)  – As a note, the picks for the main event going in were running 6-1 for Mick Foley, with my vote for the Rock being the sole exception. – Live from Anaheim, California. – Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. – Opening match: The Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan. Ice-T raps Team Pimp down to the ring. Godfather and D-Lo control with some standard stuff. Bull rebounds out of the corner with a flying lariat to make D-Lo the Pimp in Peril. Scissor kick gets two. D-Lo fights back with a top rope rana. Hot tag to Godfather, who hits the corner splash on Bossman. D-Lo goes up to finish but gets knocked off and Bossman-slammed. Bull legdrops him off the top to finish. Bull looked good, the rest was lacklustre. *1/2 – Hardcore battle royale: Tazz, Kaientai, Hardcore Holly, Mean Street Posse, the Headbangers, Viscera & The Acolytes v. Crash Holly. Every pinfall in the 15-minute time limit results in a title change. Last person to be the Hardcore champion wins. (Kind of a redonkulous stipulation if you think about it, as the entire point of the title was that you could win it outside of the confines of the match.)  Tazz suplexes Crash to win the title 30 seconds in. Viscera splashes Tazz on the floor to win it. Crash is busted open as the Acolytes go after Viscera. Lots of nasty weapons shots from Bradshaw leave everyone laying. Viscera escapes from both Hardcore & Mosh to retain for 5 minutes, which sets the record for the match. Pete Gas absolutely taps an artery and bleeds all over his sweater vest. Acolytes slam Viscera off the top, then put Funaki on top to give HIM the title. See, they don’t even care about the title, they just want to hurt people. Funaki runs like the wind to back and everyone follows. Rodney catches him first and gets a title reign. Joey Abs clobbers him and wins it. Thrasher rams him into a steel door and pins him to win the title. Everyone beats the shit out of him and we head back up the aisle. Pete Gas sprays Thrasher with a fire extinguisher, then nails him with it and gets his second title. Back to the ring as Tazz suplexes Pete and gets HIS second title. Three minutes left, the Hollies double-team Tazz in the ring and get several two-counts. They keep stopping each other. Crash gets the pin with 30 seconds left, but Tazz slaps on the Tazzmission as time winds down. With 7 seconds left, Hardcore smashes a jar of candy over both their heads and pins Crash to win the Hardcore title for good. That was quite the entertaining little crapfest, I gotta admit. ***1/2 The ending seemed blown, as Tim White was apparently supposed to have time run out before counting the pin. Oh well, I predicted Hardcore would take it pre-show, so I’m happy. – Head Cheese v. T & A. (So much fail here.)  Al Snow introduces us to their new mascot: Chester McCheeserton. He’s a pygmie dressed as a wedge of cheese, you see. As captivating as it sounds. This match is a total waste, with everyone wandering around the ring randomly for a few minutes and blowing EVERYTHING. Stage fright, I guess. Crowd is dead. Snow & Blackman get the legdrop finisher (the Cheese Grater?) but Test drops the big elbow on Blackman for the pin. JR found about 7 different diplomatic ways to say that this sucked. No shit, everyone was saying that BEFORE the show. DUD – WWF World tag title match: The Dudley Boyz v. Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. There’s three ladders to start, with more to come presumably. ON WITH THE SPOTS! Three-way brawl to start. Buh Buh nails Jeff with a backdrop and full-nelson drop. Ladder comes into the ring and Buh Buh gets splatted with it. Matt elbowdrops D-Von on a ladder. Jeff misses a 450 on a ladder and looks to kill his leg. Buh Buh sentons him under a ladder. He then does the Terry Funk spinning ladder bit to knock everyone down. He gets dropkicked, however, and the Blondes pancake D-Von onto the ladder. Christian puts the ladder near the apron and dives off it onto Buh Buh and Matt, drawing the first “Holy Shit” chant of the night. Jeff climbs for the belts, but Edge spears him off it from the second rope. Edge goes up and gets powerbombed off by Matt. D-Von slams Matt off. Christian knocks D-Von off with a ladder. Three ladders get set up, and Buh Buh hits his half of 3D off the top on Christian. Another “Holy Shit” chant for that. Hardyz go up one ladder each and hit Rolling thunder off them. Jeff takes a crazy bump to the floor, then, and back in the ring the Blondes double-suplex D-Von off the top of the ladder. Hardyz and Blondes each go up and knock each other off. Crowd chants for tables. All six climb ladders, and Christian & Jeff go flying to the floor in a suicidal bump, while Edge & Matt get crotched on the top rope. The leaves the Dudleys alone. Christian crawls back in and gets smashed. Edge gets 3D. Tables are introduced to a HUGE pop. Dudleys put a table on top of two ladders, making a scaffold of sorts. Oh man, that’s kinda insane. Much like the rest of this match. Two more are set up below in the ring. Buh Buh takes Matt outside and powerbombs him through a table as D-Von misses a dive and goes through one in the ring. Jeff’s rail run is blocked with a VICIOUS ladder shot to the face. Holy shit! Buh Buh finds a HUGE twenty-foot ladder down the aisle and sets it up, plus a table, but gets nailed with the ringbell and put on the table by Jeff, who proceeds to deliver the SENTON BOMB FROM THE LADDER, THROUGH THE TABLE! Buh Buh is dead. Back in, D-Von gets taken out by Matt and Christian, who proceed to climb onto the scaffold. Edge joins them, knocks Matt off, and Edge & Christian grab the titles to become the new WWF tag team champions. I need a vacation after just WATCHING that. ***** I’m starting to fear for Jeff Hardy’s life, however. – The Kat v. Terri. Throwaway junk here, as Val Venis is the special referee and both women are wearing body stockings. Various shenanigans allow Terri to toss the Kat out first behind Val’s back with help from Moolah and get the win. Kat tears a good portion of Terri’s clothing off afterwards. Served it’s purpose, I guess. DUD – The Radicalz v. Too Cool & Chyna. Pre-match, Eddie promises to use his “Latino Heat” to charm Chyna, which may become the new catchphrase for this millennium. (Can I call ‘em or what?) He just plays an awesome sleazebag, and I mean that in the nicest way. (And he rode it all the way to the World title.)  Color coordination report for the Rads tonight: Purple and black. Eddie tags out quickly to escape Chyna, who is dressed like Disco Inferno. Grandmaster Sexay gets caught in the corner for a bit, then Scotty comes in and gets nailed with the springboard senton by Eddie. Eddie gets suplexed to the floor and Saturn & Malenko take a double Worm, but rebound to double-team Scotty. Eddie goes to the top but gets superplexed. Hotty tag to Chyna, who cleans house with a nice double handspring elbow sequence and double ballshot to Saturn and Malenko. Eddie tries a powerbomb but Chyna escapes and splits her disco pants. She manages a drop sleeper on Guerrero, whose boots she is not worthy to carry, and gets the pin. Match was okay, if disjointed. **1/2 – Euro-Continental title match: Kurt Angle v. Chris Jericho v. Chris Benoit. First fall for the I-C title: Benoit chops Jericho to start, then Jericho and Angle go. Jericho dropkicks both off the apron and Angle whips him into the stairs. Back in, Benoit & Jericho hammer each other and Jericho goes flying into the Spanish table. Benoit gets a pair of suplexes on Angle for two. Jericho takes out Angle, who comes back to suplex Benoit for two. Jericho camel clutches Benoit, then hits a hanging suplex on Angle that gets two for Benoit. Angle suplexes Jericho for two. Benoit blocks a sunset flip for two. Jericho gets caught with the cross-face chicken-wing by Angle, broken up by Benoit. Flying headbutt on Jericho gets the pin and the title for MY BOY! Whoo-hoo! Guess that’s the reward for carrying the Rock to one of his best matches. Second fall, for the Euro title: Angle takes out both, but Benoit superplexes Jericho and Angle misses a moonsault (!). Jericho covers for two, then locks on the Liontamer. Benoit breaks. Triple collision sequence leads to the double powerbomb by Jericho on Angle, which leads to the rolling german suplexes on Jericho, for two. Dragon suplex on Angle gets two for Benoit. Ref gets bumped, and Benoit hooks the crossface on Jericho, who escapes and hooks the Liontamer. Angle blasts him with the Euro title for two. Benoit suplexes Angle, but misses the headbutt, and Jericho hits the Lionsault for the pin and the European title. Angle is understandably pissed, having dropped both titles (cleanly, too) without losing a fall. Match was, of course, great, and I think we’re all just waiting for the Benoit v. Jericho wars to follow now. ****  (I find it interesting that Jericho didn’t like this match, because although the concept is bizarre and kind of hard-to-digest, I thought they made it work the best they could.)  Kane & Rikishi v. The Pot Puffers. (I’m referring to the D-X remnant team of X-Pac and Road Dogg, by the way) This is really just an excuse for a Pete Rose appearance. Everyone hits their signature spots on everyone else (Salad tosser, bronco buster, crazy-legs kneedrop) in short order before X-Pac takes a diamond cutter from Rikishi and a tombstone from Kane finishes quickly, hopefully ending this for good. *1/2 Too Cool and the San Diego Chicken come out to dance, as Kane glances at the chicken suspiciously. However, when Kane goes after the innocent mascot, the REAL deal, Pete Rose, attacks from behind with a baseball bat…and gets killed, as usual. Rikishi rubs his ass in his face for good measure. Well, there’s always next year. – WWF World title: HHH v. The Big Show v. The Rock v. Mick Foley. (Random fact:  Originally it was to be Chris Jericho representing Linda McMahon, but Vince wanted a bigger star and so Foley got drafted out of retirement.)  Big brawl to start. Mick v. HHH and Rock v. Show result. Show tosses HHH & Rock around the ring. Sideslam on Rock, chokeslam on HHH, but Mick nails him in the knee to stop the momentum. All three of the others gang up on the Show. Mick & HHH fight outside as Rocky finishes Big Show quickly with a Rock Bottom for the pin, to no one’s surprise. So we’re down to three. HHH tries reasoning with both men, but the Rock n Sock Connection attacks him. They brawl outside the ring. Rock nails Mick with the ringbell, showing what an idiot Foley is at times. Rock and HHH fight, but Mick finds the barbed-wire 2×4. HHH lowblows him and delivers his own shot with it. HHH tosses Rock, out, but Mick DDTs him and it’s the return of Socko! Rock blasts HHH with the WWF title, but Mick puts the Sock on Rock instead. HHH ballshots them both. Vince passes a chair into the ring as Mick clotheslines Rock for two. Double-arm DDT gets two to freak out the crowd. Rock comes back with a floatover DDT for two. HHH takes him down and Foley helps to beat on him. Foley kneelift gets two. HHH kneedrop gets two. They head outside and Mick tastes the STEEL stairs. HHH nails Rock with those stairs, then puts him on the Spanish table and sends Mick to the 2nd rope. He misses badly, nailing his arm on the table, so HHH improvises and puts Rock through the old-fashioned way: He jumps on him really hard. Back in, HHH turns on Mick and Pedigrees him for two. Chairshot and Pedigree on the chair gets the pin. Well, what the hell was the point of having Mick in there? We’re down to Rock v. HHH, at any rate. Mick comes back and blasts HHH with the 2×4, then leaves for real. It gets two for Rocky. They fight down the aisle, and back to ringside, where Rock charges with the stairs and gets nailed with a chair by HHH. Piledriver on the stairs follows. Ouch. Back in, it gets two. Rock fights back, but HHH escapes the Rock Bottom and tries the Pedigree. Rock backdrops HHH to the floor to escape. Back into the crowd, and then Rock spinebusters HHH on the floor. He suplexes him through the announce table for good measure. HHH hits a drop-toehold to the stairs, however, so Vince snaps and rams HHH into the ringpost. Shane then attacks Vince from behind, ramming a monitor into his head. Vince no-sells and beats on Shane back to the aisle, where Shane smokes Vince with a chairshot. Rock & HHH recover in the ring as Vince is carried off. Rock makes the comeback. DDT gets two. Tilt-a-whirl gets two. HHH comes back with a facebuster and 2×4 shot. Shane comes in and Rock catapults HHH into him to prevent interference. Vince returns and takes Shane out…then turns on the Rock! Chairshot gets two for HHH, and a second one GETS THE PIN?!? The crowd is PISSED. The McMahons reunite (with the exception of Linda), and Rocky makes somewhat good by Rock Bottoming both Vince and Shane, then doing it to Steph and delivering a People’s Elbow to her in addition. But this McMahon nonsense is getting WAY out of hand. I can’t argue with the logic of keeping HHH as the champion, however, even if it was pretty heartbreaking to see the heel actually walk out of Wrestlemania with the title this year. ***1/2 Post-Game highlights: Hardcore Holly calls Michael Cole the Little Goatee Wearing Bitch a shithead, Edge & Christian give a victory speech while still selling the injuries sustained, Mick regrets not being 23 years old when he tried that dive, Pete Rose explains that he’s a competitor, and there’s always next year, and Vince finishes by giving a non-sensical explanation for his turn, which probably boils down to “Watch RAW tomorrow”. The Bottom Line: Bizarre final match booking aside, this was an AWESOME show, featuring a *****, a **** and two ***1/2 matches, and just generally being entertaining for the entire 3 ½ hours. I *think* that they might hotshot the title onto the Rock on RAW, thus getting the biggest rating in history while unopposed. Or maybe another McMahon will win a title, who knows. Huge thumbs up here, at any rate, even if the ending left us all shell-shocked. The SmarK Retro Rant for Wrestlemania 2000 (XVI) – Okay, so we’re back again with a fresh re-rant after a week of reposts. Unless of you’re reading this for the big repost fest on 411 in the year 2024 for the Wrestlemania XL festivities. In which case, I can’t help you. – Live from Anaheim, CA. – Your hosts are JR & King. – This is one reason why the WWF was always better at certain things than WCW was – for instance, I don’t remember most of 1999-2000, so their constant video packages actually make it easy to remember the reasons for the midcard matches. – Opening match: Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan. I barely remember any of this period, with Godfather and D-Lo as twin pimps and Bossman training Bull as a prison guard or something. Ice T raps the black dudes down to the ring, to almost no reaction. Or record sales, judging by how badly “Aggression” bombed. D-Lo starts with Bull and slugs away, but Bull blocks a rollup and D-Lo dropkicks him. Back elbow and Godfather comes in with a slam and a double-team splash/legdrop from the pimps. He misses an elbow and Bossman comes in and pounds Godfather in the corner, getting a clothesline out of the corner, and a back kick for two. Bull comes in and goes with D-Lo, as Brown slugs away in the corner, but Bull hits him with the rebound clothesline that he would go on to screw up 150,000 times before getting fired in 2003. Bossman gets a cheapshot to turn the tide, and the prison guards get a double-sliding punch for two. Bossman gets a big boot and Bull follows with an axe kick for two. They switch off on D-Lo and work him over, and a double elbow gets two for Bossman. King starts talking about the “electric atmosphere” while the crowd sits on their hands for this crap. Bull goes to the bearhug, but D-Lo slugs out, so Bull & Bossman pound him down again. They slug it out and D-Lo goes for a crossbody, but Bossman gets a backbreaker for two. JR makes a reference to an “XFL fair catch”, and BOY you don’t hear those references anymore. Bull comes off the top with a double axehandle and keeps punching, but goes up and crotches himself with help from Godfather. D-Lo follows with a rana, which Bull seems unable to sell properly, and it’s hot tag Godfather. Backdrop and the heels collide, as Bossman misses a charge and Godfather hits him with the Ho Train. D-Lo goes up and gets shoved off by Bull, but he lands on his feet. Dropkick on Bossman, but he walks into the Bossman slam and Bull finishes with a legdrop for the pin at 9:04. INSANELY long and boring. * – Meanwhile, HHH and Stephanie admire their belts. Ah, for the days when Stephanie was Women’s champion and everyone else in the division was so bad that it was a blessing not to have someone who wrestled as champion. – Hardcore Battle Royale: This is a 15-minute match, and whoever is the Hardcore champion when it’s over…is, uh, the Hardcore champion. OK, that sounds stupid, but whatever. So we’ve got Tazz (he used to be a wrestler, you know), Viscera, Pete Gas, Rodney, Joey Abs, Hardcore Holly, Taka, Funaki, Mosh, Thrasher, Faarooq, Bradshaw and of course Crash Holly (RIP). As expected, it’s a big brawl to start, and Tazz hits Crash with a capture suplex for the pin at 0:25 to win the title. So Tazz is now the champion. Viscera rams him into the post and slams him for the title at 1:00. Now see, the psychology is all off here, as everyone should just gang up on the champion in a sane world. Viscera fights with the Mean Street Posse using the Japanese flag as a weapon, but they fight back as people start to catch on. The APA (back when Bradshaw had heterosexual hair) try beating on him, but he fires back with the deadly COOKIE SHEET OF PAIN. Dull segment as everyone stands around outside and hits each other with no rhyme or reason. Bradshaw goes CRAZY with the cookie sheet. Hopefully no one gives him a spatula. Holly gets two on Viscera after a street sign, and so does Mosh. JR notes that “all these young pups taking these head shots will never forget their first Wrestlemania”. Actually, Jim, they probably did, which is kind of the problem. More heads hit with more signs. Into the ring, Viscera lays everyone out with the cookie sheet, which seems to the weapon of choice, but he goes up and gets slammed off by the APA. Faarooq uses a 2×4 to set up a Bradshaw shoulderblock and Kaientai covers to make Funaki the champ at 7:13. Taka turns on him and chases him outside, and they head back to the dressing room, where Rodney pins him at 8:10 to win the title. Joey Abs turns on him and gets a gutwrench at 8:23 for the title. Thrasher sends him into the door for the title at 8:43. Viscera pounds on him with the cookie sheet, and Thrasher stumbles back to the ring, but gets hit by Pete Gas with a fire extinguisher for the title at 9:28. Tazz attacks him and sends him into the post, as he does a gory bladejob, and Tazz suplexes him on the floor to win the title at 10:15 for the second time in the same match. Hardcore Holly sends him into the stairs for two. They slug it out and it’s back to more weapons. Mosh gets two off a cookie sheet. In the ring, the Hollies double-team Tazz, but Crash turns on Hardcore, and Tazz lays him out with the cookie sheet. That gets two. Why even make a cover? JR & King ask the same question. The Hollies keep fighting over who gets to pin Tazz, but Tazz gets another suplex on Crash. Hardcore powerslams Tazz for one, and Crash gets two. Hardcore tosses Crash and gets the DROPKICK OF DEATH on Tazz for two. Tazz hits him with a northern lights suplex and Hardcore bails, and Crash gets another cookie sheet shot on Tazz for the pin at 14:19 to win the title. Tazz comes back with the Tazzmission to a huge pop, but Hardcore breaks it up with a jar of candy and gets two on Crash, but Fink announces Hardcore as the champion. In the grand scheme of things, no one gave a fuck. The time was supposed to have run out, but it didn’t, and Tim White had to pretend Crash kicked out at two, even though he didn’t. I must have been hitting the firewater to give this pile of horseshit *** upon first viewing, as 90% of it was meaningless fighting outside. ½*  (I figured that one would drop rapidly upon rewatching it.)  – Steve Blackman & Al Snow v. Test & Albert. Okay, quick word of explanation here. Blackman and Snow were Head Cheese, as Snow engaged in a quest to find a personality for Blackman. Test & Albert were Trish Stratus’ first stint in the WWF, which just shows how incredibly far she’s come as a character and a worker since her debut in 2000. For one thing, she’s no longer overly muscled and freakishly tanned. Nor does she wear 6 inch lifts in her boots. Test starts with Blackman, but gets superkicked. Snow comes in for a quick double-team and Snow slugs away, but Test clotheslines him and brings in Albert. Test gets the big boot. Snow comes in with an enzuigiri on Albert, but they beat on him in the corner. Albert gets double-teamed in the Head Cheese corner and they get a double-clothesline for two. Snow suplexes him for two. Blackman kicks him down for two as things get REALLY ugly and the match just falls apart. Snow & Blackman work Albert over, but he comes back with a butterfly suplex and makes what appears to be a hot tag for the heels, as Test comes in and cleans house on Head Cheese and gets a sideslam on Snow for two. I don’t get this at all. Double powerbomb on Snow, so devastating that Snow pulls up his tights in mid-sell, gets two. JR apologizes about 18 times for the match as Snow hits Albert with a quebrada outside, and Blackman pounds on Test to set up a Decapitation double-team on Test for two. Albert baldobombs Snow and dumps him, and presses Test onto Blackman for two. JR keeps burying the match as Blackman superkicks Albert, but Albert basically no-sells and Test finishes Blackman with a flying elbow at 6:59 to end the suffering. If this wasn’t in the running for Worst Match of the Year, it should have been. –**  (Poor Test, dude appeared at 3 Wrestlemanias and was involved in some of the biggest fiascos in each one.)  WWF tag title ladder match: The Dudley Boyz v. Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. (I find it interesting to this day how completely the tag team division was stripped down and rebuilt around this time.  The Outlaws and the various super-teams who were dominating for years suddenly disappeared, and these three completely took over for a long time.  Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy to do the same thing on top of the promotion.)  This used to be a FRESH matchup, for those who don’t remember those days. This was also the days when the Dudleyz were the hottest act in tag team wrestling and Bubba still had a southern accent. Edge & Christian were ZERO-time tag team champions at this point. Big brawl outside to start, and Matt starts in the ring with Christian, but gets dropkicked. Next up, D-Von and Edge, as Edge gets a leg lariat and they head out again. Finally, Bubba & Jeff, as Bubba chops him in the corner but gets hit with a corkscrew out of the corner. Bubba backdrops him and gets the Bubba Bomb, and they brawl out again. Back into the ring, as everyone fights it out in various combinations, and Matt tosses a ladder at Bubba, allowing Jeff to slam into it, and it’s the same situation on the other side of the ring with E&C v. D-Von. Matt slams D-Von onto the ladder and hits him with a yodeling elbow. Jeff DDTs Bubba and puts him on the ladder, but misses a 450 splash and splats on it. Wonder why Jeff stopped using that? Bubba retaliates with his senton off the middle ropes (one of the few times it actually hits), and then Edge rides a ladder down from the top, onto another one that’s on Matt. Everyone is out, so D-Von legdrops Edge beneath another ladder. Bubba does the Terry Funk spot with the ladder on his shoulders, but E&C double-dropkick it back at him. They flapjack D-Von into another ladder in the corner, and Christian climbs up a ladder by the apron, hitting Bubba & Matt with a dive to the floor. Jeff makes the first climb for the belts, but Edge spears Matt off the ladder. He climbs next, but Matt brings him down with a Fire Thunder Bomb and climbs himself. D-Von slams him off to break that up and climbs, but Christian tosses a ladder at him to stop it. Now Christian climbs, but Bubba sets up two more ladders and climbs one to chase, bringing him down with a Bubba Cutter off the ladder. The Hardyz swoop in and toss Christian, and then climb up two ladders and hit a splash/legdrop combo on Bubba from the top of them. Edge tosses Jeff, however, and E&C double-suplex D-Von off a pair of ladders. Everyone is out again. Now The Hardyz duel with E&C on the top of two ladders, and they bring each other down. So now the Dudleyz join the fray, and all six guys climb three ladders and fight it out, but Christian & Jeff get dumped over the top, while Edge & Matt get crotched on the top rope, leaving the Dudleyz all alone in the ring. Christian staggers in, so the Dudleyz sandwich him between two ladders and hit Edge with 3D. It’s time for D-Von to get the tables, but that catchphrase didn’t exist yet. So they set up two ladders and put a table on top of them as a makeshift scaffolding, but the Hardy Boyz bring them down again. They all brawl outside and Bubba powerbombs Matt through a table outside, as D-Von misses a splash and puts himself through a table in the ring. Jeff tries a railrunner on Bubba, but walks into a ladder. Bubba then finds an insanely high ladder and sets up a table next to it, but Christian hits him with the bell to put him on the table, and Jeff climbs the ladder and puts Bubba through the table with a swanton bomb to take both guys out of play. In the ring, D-Von suplexes Christian and climbs the structure, but Matt returns to pull him down and hits the Twist of Fate. Matt then climbs, along with Christian, and they slug it out up there until Edge follows them up and gets rid of Matt, and they grab the titles at 22:28, their first reign of seven. Time and perspective have shown that although the match was insanely influential, the rematch at Summerslam 2000 (Tables Ladders & Chairs) was the superior match, and this one had a slower pace and featured too much contrived setting up of the crazy spots. **** – Terri v. The Kat. I don’t even remember the backstory with this, but Terri has Moolah and Kat has Mae Young. Terri is wearing a bodystocking in lieu of tights, as is Kat. Well, at least they’re being honest about it. They fight it out on the mat to start, and special referee Val Venis breaks it up with a kiss. This incites jealousy and the dreaded hairtosses and they roll around a lot. Kat tosses Terri, but Mae Young was busy distracting Val and it continues. Unfortunately. Mae & Moolah get involved, and Terri gets tossed again, but Val is still distracted. Terri gets back in and Kat is out, so Val declares Terri the winner at 2:25. JR told us not to use the star rating system before it started, but I’ve never been good at following orders. –****  (These two actually made Kelly Kelly look like a nuanced worker.)  Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero & Perry Saturn v. Chyna & Too Cool. This was the start of Eddie’s “Latino Heat”, as he spent weeks hitting on Chyna, with no results until the night after Wrestlemania. Eddie starts with Scotty and grabs a headlock, but gets monkey-flipped. Scotty with a backbreaker and some moonwalking, and Chyna comes in, but Eddie hides behind Malenko. Dean comes in and gets clotheslined and Chyna slugs away, before Scotty gets a cheapshot from outside. Grandmaster Sexay comes in with a double-suplex with Chyna, and they get down, which is a truly scary sight. Sexay slams Dean, and Eddie comes back in, but walks into a backdrop suplex. Sexay goes up, but Saturn shoves him off. Saturn then stomps him down and the Radicalz work him over. Eddie gets a suplex, but puts his head down and Scotty 2 Hotty comes back in. He walks right into a hotshot, however, and Eddie keeps making eyes at Chyna. Backdrop suplex and slingshot senton, but he stops to knock Chyna off the apron and gets suplexed by Sexay to the floor as a result. It’s BONZO GONZO in the ring and Scotty puts Saturn in Worm position, and it’s a Double Worm on Saturn & Malenko, back when it was REALLY over. The Radicalz drag him out, however, and send him into the railing, while Chyna pounds on Eddie in the ring. This match is a mess. So back in the ring, it seems like they’ve finally got their shit together and Scotty is the face-in-peril, so Saturn superkicks him and goes up with a flying elbow. Eddie goes up and Scotty crotches him and brings him down with a superplex. Hot tag Chyna, and the Radicalz all have to bump like pinballs for her, as she hits Saturn & Dean with handspring elbows and stereo ballshots. Eddie lays her out, however, but she counters a powerbomb and gets one of her own. The dreaded IRON TESTICULAR CLAW sets up a press slam, and a drop sleeper finishes at 9:39. The stuff with Chyna was ridiculous, especially with a 150-pound woman supposedly able to dead-lift a 220 pound guy, and the match was almost totally lacking in flow. ** – Eurocontinental title match: Kurt Angle v. Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho. The first fall is for the IC title, and the second fall is for the European title. Angle has both titles at this point. The DVD has commentary from all three guys (at the expense of the bitrate), so I’ll listen to Jericho’s commentary for the first fall and Benoit’s for the second fall. I still don’t get why they don’t do more wrestler commentaries for big shows. Benoit shoves Angle into Jericho, but gets clotheslined by Jericho. They all slug it out in the corner, and Jericho elbows Angle down, but Benoit unleashes the chops and Jericho dropkicks him into the corner and out. Jericho dropkicks Angle, but Benoit trips him up on the springboard dropkick and goes after Angle on the apron, but Jericho recovers and dropkicks both of them. Good spot. Jericho is really easy-going and funny on commentary, by the way, riffing on Benoit the whole time and talking about the spots. Angle hotshots Jericho on the stairs and gets two off it back in. Benoit saves and clotheslines Angle for two. Jericho saves and chops Benoit again, as they slug it out in the corner, and then he goes after Angle with a backbreaker, but goes up and gets shoved off into the table by Benoit. Benoit suplexes Angle for two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Jericho comes back in with a dropkick to Benoit and goes up, getting a missile dropkick on Angle for two, but Benoit saves. Jericho talks a bit about how much he likes working with Benoit and how they came up together. Angle suplexes Benoit for two while Jericho talks about working WWF style and working stuff from Japan. Jericho bulldogs Angle for two and gets into another chopfest with Benoit, but Angle suplexes Benoit for two. Jericho saves. Angle takes a powder and Jericho puts Benoit in the camel clutch, then releases to suplex Angle, but Benoit steals a near-fall. Angle slugs away on Jericho, but charges and hits boot, then recovers with a double underhook suplex for two. Benoit gets whipped into Jericho, but Jericho goes for a sunset flip, which Benoit blocks for two. Jericho tries another powerbomb, but Angle reverses to the crossface chickenwing, which he used briefly before discovering the anklelock. Benoit saves. He tosses Angle into the crowd and goes up with the diving headbutt to win the IC title at 7:55. Benoit then tries an immediate cover on Jericho again and gets two, as the European title match begins. Angle suplexes Benoit for two. I switch to Benoit’s commentary now. Angle goes up and gets crotched and Jericho follows, but Benoit crotches HIM and it’s a backdrop superplex, but both are out and Angle follows with a moonsault, which misses. Benoit is talking about the match more in kayfabe than the more-open Jericho. Hey, let’s try Angle. They all get a two-count as Angle admits that he knocked his own wind out of himself on the missed moonsault. Jericho tries the Walls on Angle, but Benoit saves, so Angle slugs away on him and slams him, then goes back to Jericho. Angle’s self-centered commentary is hilarious. Jericho comes back with a leg lariat, hitting Benoit, and then powerbombing Angle for one. Benoit saves with the rolling germans on Jericho for two. Dragon Suplex on Angle gets two. Angle complains that his shoulders weren’t even down. The ref is bumped and Benoit takes Jericho down with the crossface, but releases and gets caught in the Walls. Angle breaks the Walls down with a beltshot and pins Jericho, but only gets two. Benoit & Angle slug it out and Benoit gets a backdrop suplex, but misses the diving headbutt, allowing Jericho to Lionsault him for the pin and the Euro title at 13:46. This match was WAAAAAY ahead of its time, and it’s still a really cool technical exhibition, although Angle’s offense was much weaker in 2000 and the ex-WCW guys were shackled by the then-current WWF style. ***1/2 – Road Dogg & X-Pac v. Rikishi & Kane. (They should actually bring in Sean Waltman to help out Road Dogg on the Are You Serious? show, because it seems like the kind of thing he could pull off pretty easily.)  D-X double-team Rikishi to start, but X-Pac goes after Kane outside and they brawl, and Rikishi gets a quick Stinkface on Road Dogg. Tori (not Torrie) tries to hide from Kane in the ring, but gets caught by Rikishi, and D-X save her from potential ass-eating action. D-X takes a walk, but Kane grabs X-Pac and they all head back to the ring. X-Pac kicks Rikishi down in the corner to set up a broncobuster and Road Dogg comes in to slug away, but Rikishi no-sells the punches. Kneedrop gets two. X-Pac comes in and pounds him with kicks, which Rikishi no-sells, and it’s a Bubba Cutter to set up the tag to Kane. Was that the hot tag? He destroys both D-X guys and backdrops X-Pac, then Paul Bearer brings Tori into the ring for a Stinkface from Rikishi. Tombstone kills X-Pac dead at 4:14. Basically a squash to give Kane revenge for being dumped by Tori. ¾* This all sets up Too Cool and the San Diego chicken coming in for dancing, but Kane doesn’t trust the Chicken. However, the real Pete Rose tries to attack from behind, and gets chokeslammed for his troubles. And then Stinkfaced. I think he earned his spot in the WWE Hall of Fame with this appearance. – WWF title match: Stephanie McMahon v. Vince McMahon v. Shane McMahon v. Linda McMahon. Oh, wait, sorry, that’s just what the ads made it seem like. – WWF title match: HHH v. The Rock v. Big Show v. Mick Foley. This was Mick’s second retirement match, although to his credit he managed to stay retired for another four years after this one. HHH starts with Foley and Show starts with Rock, and they all slug it out, and HHH loses his battle with Mick. Knee in the corner from Foley, but Show clotheslines both of them and knocks Rock down with a forearm. He hiptosses HHH and presses Rock, then hits HHH with more of the same. Notice HHH bumping all over for people. SELLING. Show chokes Rock out in the corner, but Foley jumps on his back, so Show falls back on him. Sideslam for Rock and chokeslam for HHH, but Foley breaks it up with a kick in the shin. So all three guys go after Show and knock him down with clotheslines, then team up to bootfuck him. That alliance doesn’t last, as Mick turns on HHH and hits him with a Cactus clothesline, leaving Rock to slug away on Show in the ring. Show comes back with a big boot as Foley chairs HHH. Mick chairs Show and Rock gets the Rock Bottom to eliminate him at 4:48. So it’s a three-way now, as the Rock N Sock Connection decide to go after HHH while HHH tries to convince each one to turn on the other. It doesn’t work, and it’s beatdown time. They pinball HHH with punches and Foley tosses him, and the beating continues on the floor. Foley whips HHH into a Rock clothesline and Mick grabs the bell, but Rock hits Mick with it by accident. HHH whips Rock into the post to take over and drops him on the railing, but Foley finds his trusty barbed-wire 2×4, so HHH goes low to counter. He beats on Foley with it, but Rock saves. This whole segment is actually really bad. HHH tosses Rock but gets DDT’d by Mick, and it’s Mr. Socko time. Rock lays HHH out with the belt for good measure to set up the People’s Elbow, but Mick opts to go for the Mandible Sock on Rock. HHH breaks that up with a low blow and everyone is out. Vince leaves a chair for Rock, who hits HHH with a clothesline, but Mick clotheslines Rock in turn and gets two. Mick slugs away in the corner and DDTs Rock for two. Rock gets his own for two. Pace is too slow, with too much laying around in between spots. Mick calls for an alliance with HHH to get rid of Rock, and they work him over, as Mick gets a kneelift for two. Double suplex into a HHH kneedrop gets two. Rock gets dumped by Foley, but comes back to whip Mick into the stairs. Mick grabs the stairs and hits Rock with them, visibly winded. HHH & Rock set up on the Spanish announce table and Mick goes up, but misses by a foot and knocks himself out on the table. That was just sad to see. HHH tries to cover by dropping elbows on Rock until the table breaks, but it just looked silly. One poor idiot in the crowd tries to start a “Holy shit” chant. Yeah. In the ring, 2 does of KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finish Foley at 19:40. Mick was totally gassed and obviously done at that point anyway. (I feel like, with the benefit of hindsight, had they wanted Mick to hang around until this show they should have had him win the title at No Way Out with his career on the line.  Then he could have goaded HHH into putting his own career as collateral for a final deciding title match here, where HHH gets the belt and retires Mick in one shot at the biggest stage possible.  And Rock can get his revenge on Big Show in a singles match, or team with Vince against Shane & Show, and you get your Vince turn there.)  So we’re down to HHH v. Rock, which is what they should have booked in the FIRST PLACE. As Mick said later, this was a really sad way for Mick to exit the WWF as a wrestler. He does, however, stop to lay HHH out with the barbed wire before leaving. Rock gets two off that. They slug it out, won by Rock, and HHH gets dumped with a clothesline. Brawl outside and Rock suplexes him on the floor. They head back to ringside, as Rock backdrops him into the ringside area, but HHH uses a chair to counter Rock’s stairs. HHH follows with a piledriver on the stairs and they head back in, where HHH gets two. Rock fights back and backdrops HHH over the top to block a Pedigree, and they fight into the crowd to waste some time. Rock comes back with a spinebuster on the floor, and both guys are out. They head over to the tables and HHH gets suplexed on the surviving one, but comes back to send Rock into the stairs. Vince attacks HHH, however, ramming him into the post and sending him into the ring, but that draws Shane out to attack his father in turn. The match is just dying at this point. Vince no-sells a shot with a monitor like he’s the Undertaker or something, and chases Shane back to the aisle, but falls victim to a chairshot. Meanwhile, there’s a wrestling match going on (in case you forgot) as Rock makes the comeback and DDTs HHH for two. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. HHH comes back with a facecrusher and hits Rock with a weak barbed wire shot, but Rock catapults HHH into Shane. Rock Bottom, but Vince makes a miraculous return as this gets more and more overbooked, but then turns on Rock with a chairshot, and HHH gets two. Another chairshot finishes for HHH at 36:25. Bad match, WAY wrong finish (especially for Wrestlemania), bad finish to begin with, major boredom throughout, and an end to the show that only succeeded in pissing off the crowd. **1/2 The Bottom Line: This was a MAJOR LEAGUE misfire during a very hot period for the WWF, as this was a two-match show and the main event was a huge disappointment. It was also the first time a heel walked out of Wrestlemania with the title, but not the last, as they did the exact same thing the next year and nearly drove themselves into the ground as a result. I can’t recommend it for the show, but the two good matches are good enough, and the bonus disc of the DVD set is excellent, covering about 3 hours of the “Wrestlemania All Day” special that preceded the PPV broadcast (minus the fluff with Ivory) with interviews and history of Wrestlemania, plus memorable matches from the first 15 of them. The show is a recommendation to avoid, the DVD is mildly recommended.

Wrestlemania Countdown: 16 (2000)

The Netcop Rant for Wrestlemania 2000 – Brought to you by refreshing, chilled orange soda! Don’t worry, it’s just an inside joke… – Note on the pre-game show: Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan. Rahim and I were the only two out of the group to be true wrestling geeks and endure the entire 8 hour pre-game show (with all 6 outfits worn by Ivory), although I gave up on my pledge to recap the whole thing once the tension headache set in around Wrestlemania V, and it lasted until Wrestlemania XII when the Tylenol kicked in. That’s just too damn much wrestling for any one person. As a general note on the show, the editing choices were kind of weird, as were the match selections and clipping, and we counted about 17 different kinds of special effects used by the graphics people, with all sorts of letterboxing, color tinting, fades, dissolves and every other neato trick learned in film school. Owen v. Bret was shown almost in it’s entirety, but Steamboat v. Savage was clipped to three minutes? Still, a very interesting and LONG look back at all the Wrestlemanias.  (Wonder why they never released the entire thing on DVD?  They’ll release any other stupid thing they can fill 8 hours of space with now, it seems.)  – As a note, the picks for the main event going in were running 6-1 for Mick Foley, with my vote for the Rock being the sole exception. – Live from Anaheim, California. – Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. – Opening match: The Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan. Ice-T raps Team Pimp down to the ring. Godfather and D-Lo control with some standard stuff. Bull rebounds out of the corner with a flying lariat to make D-Lo the Pimp in Peril. Scissor kick gets two. D-Lo fights back with a top rope rana. Hot tag to Godfather, who hits the corner splash on Bossman. D-Lo goes up to finish but gets knocked off and Bossman-slammed. Bull legdrops him off the top to finish. Bull looked good, the rest was lacklustre. *1/2 – Hardcore battle royale: Tazz, Kaientai, Hardcore Holly, Mean Street Posse, the Headbangers, Viscera & The Acolytes v. Crash Holly. Every pinfall in the 15-minute time limit results in a title change. Last person to be the Hardcore champion wins. (Kind of a redonkulous stipulation if you think about it, as the entire point of the title was that you could win it outside of the confines of the match.)  Tazz suplexes Crash to win the title 30 seconds in. Viscera splashes Tazz on the floor to win it. Crash is busted open as the Acolytes go after Viscera. Lots of nasty weapons shots from Bradshaw leave everyone laying. Viscera escapes from both Hardcore & Mosh to retain for 5 minutes, which sets the record for the match. Pete Gas absolutely taps an artery and bleeds all over his sweater vest. Acolytes slam Viscera off the top, then put Funaki on top to give HIM the title. See, they don’t even care about the title, they just want to hurt people. Funaki runs like the wind to back and everyone follows. Rodney catches him first and gets a title reign. Joey Abs clobbers him and wins it. Thrasher rams him into a steel door and pins him to win the title. Everyone beats the shit out of him and we head back up the aisle. Pete Gas sprays Thrasher with a fire extinguisher, then nails him with it and gets his second title. Back to the ring as Tazz suplexes Pete and gets HIS second title. Three minutes left, the Hollies double-team Tazz in the ring and get several two-counts. They keep stopping each other. Crash gets the pin with 30 seconds left, but Tazz slaps on the Tazzmission as time winds down. With 7 seconds left, Hardcore smashes a jar of candy over both their heads and pins Crash to win the Hardcore title for good. That was quite the entertaining little crapfest, I gotta admit. ***1/2 The ending seemed blown, as Tim White was apparently supposed to have time run out before counting the pin. Oh well, I predicted Hardcore would take it pre-show, so I’m happy. – Head Cheese v. T & A. (So much fail here.)  Al Snow introduces us to their new mascot: Chester McCheeserton. He’s a pygmie dressed as a wedge of cheese, you see. As captivating as it sounds. This match is a total waste, with everyone wandering around the ring randomly for a few minutes and blowing EVERYTHING. Stage fright, I guess. Crowd is dead. Snow & Blackman get the legdrop finisher (the Cheese Grater?) but Test drops the big elbow on Blackman for the pin. JR found about 7 different diplomatic ways to say that this sucked. No shit, everyone was saying that BEFORE the show. DUD – WWF World tag title match: The Dudley Boyz v. Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. There’s three ladders to start, with more to come presumably. ON WITH THE SPOTS! Three-way brawl to start. Buh Buh nails Jeff with a backdrop and full-nelson drop. Ladder comes into the ring and Buh Buh gets splatted with it. Matt elbowdrops D-Von on a ladder. Jeff misses a 450 on a ladder and looks to kill his leg. Buh Buh sentons him under a ladder. He then does the Terry Funk spinning ladder bit to knock everyone down. He gets dropkicked, however, and the Blondes pancake D-Von onto the ladder. Christian puts the ladder near the apron and dives off it onto Buh Buh and Matt, drawing the first “Holy Shit” chant of the night. Jeff climbs for the belts, but Edge spears him off it from the second rope. Edge goes up and gets powerbombed off by Matt. D-Von slams Matt off. Christian knocks D-Von off with a ladder. Three ladders get set up, and Buh Buh hits his half of 3D off the top on Christian. Another “Holy Shit” chant for that. Hardyz go up one ladder each and hit Rolling thunder off them. Jeff takes a crazy bump to the floor, then, and back in the ring the Blondes double-suplex D-Von off the top of the ladder. Hardyz and Blondes each go up and knock each other off. Crowd chants for tables. All six climb ladders, and Christian & Jeff go flying to the floor in a suicidal bump, while Edge & Matt get crotched on the top rope. The leaves the Dudleys alone. Christian crawls back in and gets smashed. Edge gets 3D. Tables are introduced to a HUGE pop. Dudleys put a table on top of two ladders, making a scaffold of sorts. Oh man, that’s kinda insane. Much like the rest of this match. Two more are set up below in the ring. Buh Buh takes Matt outside and powerbombs him through a table as D-Von misses a dive and goes through one in the ring. Jeff’s rail run is blocked with a VICIOUS ladder shot to the face. Holy shit! Buh Buh finds a HUGE twenty-foot ladder down the aisle and sets it up, plus a table, but gets nailed with the ringbell and put on the table by Jeff, who proceeds to deliver the SENTON BOMB FROM THE LADDER, THROUGH THE TABLE! Buh Buh is dead. Back in, D-Von gets taken out by Matt and Christian, who proceed to climb onto the scaffold. Edge joins them, knocks Matt off, and Edge & Christian grab the titles to become the new WWF tag team champions. I need a vacation after just WATCHING that. ***** I’m starting to fear for Jeff Hardy’s life, however. – The Kat v. Terri. Throwaway junk here, as Val Venis is the special referee and both women are wearing body stockings. Various shenanigans allow Terri to toss the Kat out first behind Val’s back with help from Moolah and get the win. Kat tears a good portion of Terri’s clothing off afterwards. Served it’s purpose, I guess. DUD – The Radicalz v. Too Cool & Chyna. Pre-match, Eddie promises to use his “Latino Heat” to charm Chyna, which may become the new catchphrase for this millennium. (Can I call ‘em or what?) He just plays an awesome sleazebag, and I mean that in the nicest way. (And he rode it all the way to the World title.)  Color coordination report for the Rads tonight: Purple and black. Eddie tags out quickly to escape Chyna, who is dressed like Disco Inferno. Grandmaster Sexay gets caught in the corner for a bit, then Scotty comes in and gets nailed with the springboard senton by Eddie. Eddie gets suplexed to the floor and Saturn & Malenko take a double Worm, but rebound to double-team Scotty. Eddie goes to the top but gets superplexed. Hotty tag to Chyna, who cleans house with a nice double handspring elbow sequence and double ballshot to Saturn and Malenko. Eddie tries a powerbomb but Chyna escapes and splits her disco pants. She manages a drop sleeper on Guerrero, whose boots she is not worthy to carry, and gets the pin. Match was okay, if disjointed. **1/2 – Euro-Continental title match: Kurt Angle v. Chris Jericho v. Chris Benoit. First fall for the I-C title: Benoit chops Jericho to start, then Jericho and Angle go. Jericho dropkicks both off the apron and Angle whips him into the stairs. Back in, Benoit & Jericho hammer each other and Jericho goes flying into the Spanish table. Benoit gets a pair of suplexes on Angle for two. Jericho takes out Angle, who comes back to suplex Benoit for two. Jericho camel clutches Benoit, then hits a hanging suplex on Angle that gets two for Benoit. Angle suplexes Jericho for two. Benoit blocks a sunset flip for two. Jericho gets caught with the cross-face chicken-wing by Angle, broken up by Benoit. Flying headbutt on Jericho gets the pin and the title for MY BOY! Whoo-hoo! Guess that’s the reward for carrying the Rock to one of his best matches. Second fall, for the Euro title: Angle takes out both, but Benoit superplexes Jericho and Angle misses a moonsault (!). Jericho covers for two, then locks on the Liontamer. Benoit breaks. Triple collision sequence leads to the double powerbomb by Jericho on Angle, which leads to the rolling german suplexes on Jericho, for two. Dragon suplex on Angle gets two for Benoit. Ref gets bumped, and Benoit hooks the crossface on Jericho, who escapes and hooks the Liontamer. Angle blasts him with the Euro title for two. Benoit suplexes Angle, but misses the headbutt, and Jericho hits the Lionsault for the pin and the European title. Angle is understandably pissed, having dropped both titles (cleanly, too) without losing a fall. Match was, of course, great, and I think we’re all just waiting for the Benoit v. Jericho wars to follow now. ****  (I find it interesting that Jericho didn’t like this match, because although the concept is bizarre and kind of hard-to-digest, I thought they made it work the best they could.)  Kane & Rikishi v. The Pot Puffers. (I’m referring to the D-X remnant team of X-Pac and Road Dogg, by the way) This is really just an excuse for a Pete Rose appearance. Everyone hits their signature spots on everyone else (Salad tosser, bronco buster, crazy-legs kneedrop) in short order before X-Pac takes a diamond cutter from Rikishi and a tombstone from Kane finishes quickly, hopefully ending this for good. *1/2 Too Cool and the San Diego Chicken come out to dance, as Kane glances at the chicken suspiciously. However, when Kane goes after the innocent mascot, the REAL deal, Pete Rose, attacks from behind with a baseball bat…and gets killed, as usual. Rikishi rubs his ass in his face for good measure. Well, there’s always next year. – WWF World title: HHH v. The Big Show v. The Rock v. Mick Foley. (Random fact:  Originally it was to be Chris Jericho representing Linda McMahon, but Vince wanted a bigger star and so Foley got drafted out of retirement.)  Big brawl to start. Mick v. HHH and Rock v. Show result. Show tosses HHH & Rock around the ring. Sideslam on Rock, chokeslam on HHH, but Mick nails him in the knee to stop the momentum. All three of the others gang up on the Show. Mick & HHH fight outside as Rocky finishes Big Show quickly with a Rock Bottom for the pin, to no one’s surprise. So we’re down to three. HHH tries reasoning with both men, but the Rock n Sock Connection attacks him. They brawl outside the ring. Rock nails Mick with the ringbell, showing what an idiot Foley is at times. Rock and HHH fight, but Mick finds the barbed-wire 2×4. HHH lowblows him and delivers his own shot with it. HHH tosses Rock, out, but Mick DDTs him and it’s the return of Socko! Rock blasts HHH with the WWF title, but Mick puts the Sock on Rock instead. HHH ballshots them both. Vince passes a chair into the ring as Mick clotheslines Rock for two. Double-arm DDT gets two to freak out the crowd. Rock comes back with a floatover DDT for two. HHH takes him down and Foley helps to beat on him. Foley kneelift gets two. HHH kneedrop gets two. They head outside and Mick tastes the STEEL stairs. HHH nails Rock with those stairs, then puts him on the Spanish table and sends Mick to the 2nd rope. He misses badly, nailing his arm on the table, so HHH improvises and puts Rock through the old-fashioned way: He jumps on him really hard. Back in, HHH turns on Mick and Pedigrees him for two. Chairshot and Pedigree on the chair gets the pin. Well, what the hell was the point of having Mick in there? We’re down to Rock v. HHH, at any rate. Mick comes back and blasts HHH with the 2×4, then leaves for real. It gets two for Rocky. They fight down the aisle, and back to ringside, where Rock charges with the stairs and gets nailed with a chair by HHH. Piledriver on the stairs follows. Ouch. Back in, it gets two. Rock fights back, but HHH escapes the Rock Bottom and tries the Pedigree. Rock backdrops HHH to the floor to escape. Back into the crowd, and then Rock spinebusters HHH on the floor. He suplexes him through the announce table for good measure. HHH hits a drop-toehold to the stairs, however, so Vince snaps and rams HHH into the ringpost. Shane then attacks Vince from behind, ramming a monitor into his head. Vince no-sells and beats on Shane back to the aisle, where Shane smokes Vince with a chairshot. Rock & HHH recover in the ring as Vince is carried off. Rock makes the comeback. DDT gets two. Tilt-a-whirl gets two. HHH comes back with a facebuster and 2×4 shot. Shane comes in and Rock catapults HHH into him to prevent interference. Vince returns and takes Shane out…then turns on the Rock! Chairshot gets two for HHH, and a second one GETS THE PIN?!? The crowd is PISSED. The McMahons reunite (with the exception of Linda), and Rocky makes somewhat good by Rock Bottoming both Vince and Shane, then doing it to Steph and delivering a People’s Elbow to her in addition. But this McMahon nonsense is getting WAY out of hand. I can’t argue with the logic of keeping HHH as the champion, however, even if it was pretty heartbreaking to see the heel actually walk out of Wrestlemania with the title this year. ***1/2 Post-Game highlights: Hardcore Holly calls Michael Cole the Little Goatee Wearing Bitch a shithead, Edge & Christian give a victory speech while still selling the injuries sustained, Mick regrets not being 23 years old when he tried that dive, Pete Rose explains that he’s a competitor, and there’s always next year, and Vince finishes by giving a non-sensical explanation for his turn, which probably boils down to “Watch RAW tomorrow”. The Bottom Line: Bizarre final match booking aside, this was an AWESOME show, featuring a *****, a **** and two ***1/2 matches, and just generally being entertaining for the entire 3 ½ hours. I *think* that they might hotshot the title onto the Rock on RAW, thus getting the biggest rating in history while unopposed. Or maybe another McMahon will win a title, who knows. Huge thumbs up here, at any rate, even if the ending left us all shell-shocked. The SmarK Retro Rant for Wrestlemania 2000 (XVI) – Okay, so we’re back again with a fresh re-rant after a week of reposts. Unless of you’re reading this for the big repost fest on 411 in the year 2024 for the Wrestlemania XL festivities. In which case, I can’t help you. – Live from Anaheim, CA. – Your hosts are JR & King. – This is one reason why the WWF was always better at certain things than WCW was – for instance, I don’t remember most of 1999-2000, so their constant video packages actually make it easy to remember the reasons for the midcard matches. – Opening match: Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan. I barely remember any of this period, with Godfather and D-Lo as twin pimps and Bossman training Bull as a prison guard or something. Ice T raps the black dudes down to the ring, to almost no reaction. Or record sales, judging by how badly “Aggression” bombed. D-Lo starts with Bull and slugs away, but Bull blocks a rollup and D-Lo dropkicks him. Back elbow and Godfather comes in with a slam and a double-team splash/legdrop from the pimps. He misses an elbow and Bossman comes in and pounds Godfather in the corner, getting a clothesline out of the corner, and a back kick for two. Bull comes in and goes with D-Lo, as Brown slugs away in the corner, but Bull hits him with the rebound clothesline that he would go on to screw up 150,000 times before getting fired in 2003. Bossman gets a cheapshot to turn the tide, and the prison guards get a double-sliding punch for two. Bossman gets a big boot and Bull follows with an axe kick for two. They switch off on D-Lo and work him over, and a double elbow gets two for Bossman. King starts talking about the “electric atmosphere” while the crowd sits on their hands for this crap. Bull goes to the bearhug, but D-Lo slugs out, so Bull & Bossman pound him down again. They slug it out and D-Lo goes for a crossbody, but Bossman gets a backbreaker for two. JR makes a reference to an “XFL fair catch”, and BOY you don’t hear those references anymore. Bull comes off the top with a double axehandle and keeps punching, but goes up and crotches himself with help from Godfather. D-Lo follows with a rana, which Bull seems unable to sell properly, and it’s hot tag Godfather. Backdrop and the heels collide, as Bossman misses a charge and Godfather hits him with the Ho Train. D-Lo goes up and gets shoved off by Bull, but he lands on his feet. Dropkick on Bossman, but he walks into the Bossman slam and Bull finishes with a legdrop for the pin at 9:04. INSANELY long and boring. * – Meanwhile, HHH and Stephanie admire their belts. Ah, for the days when Stephanie was Women’s champion and everyone else in the division was so bad that it was a blessing not to have someone who wrestled as champion. – Hardcore Battle Royale: This is a 15-minute match, and whoever is the Hardcore champion when it’s over…is, uh, the Hardcore champion. OK, that sounds stupid, but whatever. So we’ve got Tazz (he used to be a wrestler, you know), Viscera, Pete Gas, Rodney, Joey Abs, Hardcore Holly, Taka, Funaki, Mosh, Thrasher, Faarooq, Bradshaw and of course Crash Holly (RIP). As expected, it’s a big brawl to start, and Tazz hits Crash with a capture suplex for the pin at 0:25 to win the title. So Tazz is now the champion. Viscera rams him into the post and slams him for the title at 1:00. Now see, the psychology is all off here, as everyone should just gang up on the champion in a sane world. Viscera fights with the Mean Street Posse using the Japanese flag as a weapon, but they fight back as people start to catch on. The APA (back when Bradshaw had heterosexual hair) try beating on him, but he fires back with the deadly COOKIE SHEET OF PAIN. Dull segment as everyone stands around outside and hits each other with no rhyme or reason. Bradshaw goes CRAZY with the cookie sheet. Hopefully no one gives him a spatula. Holly gets two on Viscera after a street sign, and so does Mosh. JR notes that “all these young pups taking these head shots will never forget their first Wrestlemania”. Actually, Jim, they probably did, which is kind of the problem. More heads hit with more signs. Into the ring, Viscera lays everyone out with the cookie sheet, which seems to the weapon of choice, but he goes up and gets slammed off by the APA. Faarooq uses a 2×4 to set up a Bradshaw shoulderblock and Kaientai covers to make Funaki the champ at 7:13. Taka turns on him and chases him outside, and they head back to the dressing room, where Rodney pins him at 8:10 to win the title. Joey Abs turns on him and gets a gutwrench at 8:23 for the title. Thrasher sends him into the door for the title at 8:43. Viscera pounds on him with the cookie sheet, and Thrasher stumbles back to the ring, but gets hit by Pete Gas with a fire extinguisher for the title at 9:28. Tazz attacks him and sends him into the post, as he does a gory bladejob, and Tazz suplexes him on the floor to win the title at 10:15 for the second time in the same match. Hardcore Holly sends him into the stairs for two. They slug it out and it’s back to more weapons. Mosh gets two off a cookie sheet. In the ring, the Hollies double-team Tazz, but Crash turns on Hardcore, and Tazz lays him out with the cookie sheet. That gets two. Why even make a cover? JR & King ask the same question. The Hollies keep fighting over who gets to pin Tazz, but Tazz gets another suplex on Crash. Hardcore powerslams Tazz for one, and Crash gets two. Hardcore tosses Crash and gets the DROPKICK OF DEATH on Tazz for two. Tazz hits him with a northern lights suplex and Hardcore bails, and Crash gets another cookie sheet shot on Tazz for the pin at 14:19 to win the title. Tazz comes back with the Tazzmission to a huge pop, but Hardcore breaks it up with a jar of candy and gets two on Crash, but Fink announces Hardcore as the champion. In the grand scheme of things, no one gave a fuck. The time was supposed to have run out, but it didn’t, and Tim White had to pretend Crash kicked out at two, even though he didn’t. I must have been hitting the firewater to give this pile of horseshit *** upon first viewing, as 90% of it was meaningless fighting outside. ½*  (I figured that one would drop rapidly upon rewatching it.)  – Steve Blackman & Al Snow v. Test & Albert. Okay, quick word of explanation here. Blackman and Snow were Head Cheese, as Snow engaged in a quest to find a personality for Blackman. Test & Albert were Trish Stratus’ first stint in the WWF, which just shows how incredibly far she’s come as a character and a worker since her debut in 2000. For one thing, she’s no longer overly muscled and freakishly tanned. Nor does she wear 6 inch lifts in her boots. Test starts with Blackman, but gets superkicked. Snow comes in for a quick double-team and Snow slugs away, but Test clotheslines him and brings in Albert. Test gets the big boot. Snow comes in with an enzuigiri on Albert, but they beat on him in the corner. Albert gets double-teamed in the Head Cheese corner and they get a double-clothesline for two. Snow suplexes him for two. Blackman kicks him down for two as things get REALLY ugly and the match just falls apart. Snow & Blackman work Albert over, but he comes back with a butterfly suplex and makes what appears to be a hot tag for the heels, as Test comes in and cleans house on Head Cheese and gets a sideslam on Snow for two. I don’t get this at all. Double powerbomb on Snow, so devastating that Snow pulls up his tights in mid-sell, gets two. JR apologizes about 18 times for the match as Snow hits Albert with a quebrada outside, and Blackman pounds on Test to set up a Decapitation double-team on Test for two. Albert baldobombs Snow and dumps him, and presses Test onto Blackman for two. JR keeps burying the match as Blackman superkicks Albert, but Albert basically no-sells and Test finishes Blackman with a flying elbow at 6:59 to end the suffering. If this wasn’t in the running for Worst Match of the Year, it should have been. –**  (Poor Test, dude appeared at 3 Wrestlemanias and was involved in some of the biggest fiascos in each one.)  WWF tag title ladder match: The Dudley Boyz v. Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. (I find it interesting to this day how completely the tag team division was stripped down and rebuilt around this time.  The Outlaws and the various super-teams who were dominating for years suddenly disappeared, and these three completely took over for a long time.  Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy to do the same thing on top of the promotion.)  This used to be a FRESH matchup, for those who don’t remember those days. This was also the days when the Dudleyz were the hottest act in tag team wrestling and Bubba still had a southern accent. Edge & Christian were ZERO-time tag team champions at this point. Big brawl outside to start, and Matt starts in the ring with Christian, but gets dropkicked. Next up, D-Von and Edge, as Edge gets a leg lariat and they head out again. Finally, Bubba & Jeff, as Bubba chops him in the corner but gets hit with a corkscrew out of the corner. Bubba backdrops him and gets the Bubba Bomb, and they brawl out again. Back into the ring, as everyone fights it out in various combinations, and Matt tosses a ladder at Bubba, allowing Jeff to slam into it, and it’s the same situation on the other side of the ring with E&C v. D-Von. Matt slams D-Von onto the ladder and hits him with a yodeling elbow. Jeff DDTs Bubba and puts him on the ladder, but misses a 450 splash and splats on it. Wonder why Jeff stopped using that? Bubba retaliates with his senton off the middle ropes (one of the few times it actually hits), and then Edge rides a ladder down from the top, onto another one that’s on Matt. Everyone is out, so D-Von legdrops Edge beneath another ladder. Bubba does the Terry Funk spot with the ladder on his shoulders, but E&C double-dropkick it back at him. They flapjack D-Von into another ladder in the corner, and Christian climbs up a ladder by the apron, hitting Bubba & Matt with a dive to the floor. Jeff makes the first climb for the belts, but Edge spears Matt off the ladder. He climbs next, but Matt brings him down with a Fire Thunder Bomb and climbs himself. D-Von slams him off to break that up and climbs, but Christian tosses a ladder at him to stop it. Now Christian climbs, but Bubba sets up two more ladders and climbs one to chase, bringing him down with a Bubba Cutter off the ladder. The Hardyz swoop in and toss Christian, and then climb up two ladders and hit a splash/legdrop combo on Bubba from the top of them. Edge tosses Jeff, however, and E&C double-suplex D-Von off a pair of ladders. Everyone is out again. Now The Hardyz duel with E&C on the top of two ladders, and they bring each other down. So now the Dudleyz join the fray, and all six guys climb three ladders and fight it out, but Christian & Jeff get dumped over the top, while Edge & Matt get crotched on the top rope, leaving the Dudleyz all alone in the ring. Christian staggers in, so the Dudleyz sandwich him between two ladders and hit Edge with 3D. It’s time for D-Von to get the tables, but that catchphrase didn’t exist yet. So they set up two ladders and put a table on top of them as a makeshift scaffolding, but the Hardy Boyz bring them down again. They all brawl outside and Bubba powerbombs Matt through a table outside, as D-Von misses a splash and puts himself through a table in the ring. Jeff tries a railrunner on Bubba, but walks into a ladder. Bubba then finds an insanely high ladder and sets up a table next to it, but Christian hits him with the bell to put him on the table, and Jeff climbs the ladder and puts Bubba through the table with a swanton bomb to take both guys out of play. In the ring, D-Von suplexes Christian and climbs the structure, but Matt returns to pull him down and hits the Twist of Fate. Matt then climbs, along with Christian, and they slug it out up there until Edge follows them up and gets rid of Matt, and they grab the titles at 22:28, their first reign of seven. Time and perspective have shown that although the match was insanely influential, the rematch at Summerslam 2000 (Tables Ladders & Chairs) was the superior match, and this one had a slower pace and featured too much contrived setting up of the crazy spots. **** – Terri v. The Kat. I don’t even remember the backstory with this, but Terri has Moolah and Kat has Mae Young. Terri is wearing a bodystocking in lieu of tights, as is Kat. Well, at least they’re being honest about it. They fight it out on the mat to start, and special referee Val Venis breaks it up with a kiss. This incites jealousy and the dreaded hairtosses and they roll around a lot. Kat tosses Terri, but Mae Young was busy distracting Val and it continues. Unfortunately. Mae & Moolah get involved, and Terri gets tossed again, but Val is still distracted. Terri gets back in and Kat is out, so Val declares Terri the winner at 2:25. JR told us not to use the star rating system before it started, but I’ve never been good at following orders. –****  (These two actually made Kelly Kelly look like a nuanced worker.)  Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero & Perry Saturn v. Chyna & Too Cool. This was the start of Eddie’s “Latino Heat”, as he spent weeks hitting on Chyna, with no results until the night after Wrestlemania. Eddie starts with Scotty and grabs a headlock, but gets monkey-flipped. Scotty with a backbreaker and some moonwalking, and Chyna comes in, but Eddie hides behind Malenko. Dean comes in and gets clotheslined and Chyna slugs away, before Scotty gets a cheapshot from outside. Grandmaster Sexay comes in with a double-suplex with Chyna, and they get down, which is a truly scary sight. Sexay slams Dean, and Eddie comes back in, but walks into a backdrop suplex. Sexay goes up, but Saturn shoves him off. Saturn then stomps him down and the Radicalz work him over. Eddie gets a suplex, but puts his head down and Scotty 2 Hotty comes back in. He walks right into a hotshot, however, and Eddie keeps making eyes at Chyna. Backdrop suplex and slingshot senton, but he stops to knock Chyna off the apron and gets suplexed by Sexay to the floor as a result. It’s BONZO GONZO in the ring and Scotty puts Saturn in Worm position, and it’s a Double Worm on Saturn & Malenko, back when it was REALLY over. The Radicalz drag him out, however, and send him into the railing, while Chyna pounds on Eddie in the ring. This match is a mess. So back in the ring, it seems like they’ve finally got their shit together and Scotty is the face-in-peril, so Saturn superkicks him and goes up with a flying elbow. Eddie goes up and Scotty crotches him and brings him down with a superplex. Hot tag Chyna, and the Radicalz all have to bump like pinballs for her, as she hits Saturn & Dean with handspring elbows and stereo ballshots. Eddie lays her out, however, but she counters a powerbomb and gets one of her own. The dreaded IRON TESTICULAR CLAW sets up a press slam, and a drop sleeper finishes at 9:39. The stuff with Chyna was ridiculous, especially with a 150-pound woman supposedly able to dead-lift a 220 pound guy, and the match was almost totally lacking in flow. ** – Eurocontinental title match: Kurt Angle v. Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho. The first fall is for the IC title, and the second fall is for the European title. Angle has both titles at this point. The DVD has commentary from all three guys (at the expense of the bitrate), so I’ll listen to Jericho’s commentary for the first fall and Benoit’s for the second fall. I still don’t get why they don’t do more wrestler commentaries for big shows. Benoit shoves Angle into Jericho, but gets clotheslined by Jericho. They all slug it out in the corner, and Jericho elbows Angle down, but Benoit unleashes the chops and Jericho dropkicks him into the corner and out. Jericho dropkicks Angle, but Benoit trips him up on the springboard dropkick and goes after Angle on the apron, but Jericho recovers and dropkicks both of them. Good spot. Jericho is really easy-going and funny on commentary, by the way, riffing on Benoit the whole time and talking about the spots. Angle hotshots Jericho on the stairs and gets two off it back in. Benoit saves and clotheslines Angle for two. Jericho saves and chops Benoit again, as they slug it out in the corner, and then he goes after Angle with a backbreaker, but goes up and gets shoved off into the table by Benoit. Benoit suplexes Angle for two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Jericho comes back in with a dropkick to Benoit and goes up, getting a missile dropkick on Angle for two, but Benoit saves. Jericho talks a bit about how much he likes working with Benoit and how they came up together. Angle suplexes Benoit for two while Jericho talks about working WWF style and working stuff from Japan. Jericho bulldogs Angle for two and gets into another chopfest with Benoit, but Angle suplexes Benoit for two. Jericho saves. Angle takes a powder and Jericho puts Benoit in the camel clutch, then releases to suplex Angle, but Benoit steals a near-fall. Angle slugs away on Jericho, but charges and hits boot, then recovers with a double underhook suplex for two. Benoit gets whipped into Jericho, but Jericho goes for a sunset flip, which Benoit blocks for two. Jericho tries another powerbomb, but Angle reverses to the crossface chickenwing, which he used briefly before discovering the anklelock. Benoit saves. He tosses Angle into the crowd and goes up with the diving headbutt to win the IC title at 7:55. Benoit then tries an immediate cover on Jericho again and gets two, as the European title match begins. Angle suplexes Benoit for two. I switch to Benoit’s commentary now. Angle goes up and gets crotched and Jericho follows, but Benoit crotches HIM and it’s a backdrop superplex, but both are out and Angle follows with a moonsault, which misses. Benoit is talking about the match more in kayfabe than the more-open Jericho. Hey, let’s try Angle. They all get a two-count as Angle admits that he knocked his own wind out of himself on the missed moonsault. Jericho tries the Walls on Angle, but Benoit saves, so Angle slugs away on him and slams him, then goes back to Jericho. Angle’s self-centered commentary is hilarious. Jericho comes back with a leg lariat, hitting Benoit, and then powerbombing Angle for one. Benoit saves with the rolling germans on Jericho for two. Dragon Suplex on Angle gets two. Angle complains that his shoulders weren’t even down. The ref is bumped and Benoit takes Jericho down with the crossface, but releases and gets caught in the Walls. Angle breaks the Walls down with a beltshot and pins Jericho, but only gets two. Benoit & Angle slug it out and Benoit gets a backdrop suplex, but misses the diving headbutt, allowing Jericho to Lionsault him for the pin and the Euro title at 13:46. This match was WAAAAAY ahead of its time, and it’s still a really cool technical exhibition, although Angle’s offense was much weaker in 2000 and the ex-WCW guys were shackled by the then-current WWF style. ***1/2 – Road Dogg & X-Pac v. Rikishi & Kane. (They should actually bring in Sean Waltman to help out Road Dogg on the Are You Serious? show, because it seems like the kind of thing he could pull off pretty easily.)  D-X double-team Rikishi to start, but X-Pac goes after Kane outside and they brawl, and Rikishi gets a quick Stinkface on Road Dogg. Tori (not Torrie) tries to hide from Kane in the ring, but gets caught by Rikishi, and D-X save her from potential ass-eating action. D-X takes a walk, but Kane grabs X-Pac and they all head back to the ring. X-Pac kicks Rikishi down in the corner to set up a broncobuster and Road Dogg comes in to slug away, but Rikishi no-sells the punches. Kneedrop gets two. X-Pac comes in and pounds him with kicks, which Rikishi no-sells, and it’s a Bubba Cutter to set up the tag to Kane. Was that the hot tag? He destroys both D-X guys and backdrops X-Pac, then Paul Bearer brings Tori into the ring for a Stinkface from Rikishi. Tombstone kills X-Pac dead at 4:14. Basically a squash to give Kane revenge for being dumped by Tori. ¾* This all sets up Too Cool and the San Diego chicken coming in for dancing, but Kane doesn’t trust the Chicken. However, the real Pete Rose tries to attack from behind, and gets chokeslammed for his troubles. And then Stinkfaced. I think he earned his spot in the WWE Hall of Fame with this appearance. – WWF title match: Stephanie McMahon v. Vince McMahon v. Shane McMahon v. Linda McMahon. Oh, wait, sorry, that’s just what the ads made it seem like. – WWF title match: HHH v. The Rock v. Big Show v. Mick Foley. This was Mick’s second retirement match, although to his credit he managed to stay retired for another four years after this one. HHH starts with Foley and Show starts with Rock, and they all slug it out, and HHH loses his battle with Mick. Knee in the corner from Foley, but Show clotheslines both of them and knocks Rock down with a forearm. He hiptosses HHH and presses Rock, then hits HHH with more of the same. Notice HHH bumping all over for people. SELLING. Show chokes Rock out in the corner, but Foley jumps on his back, so Show falls back on him. Sideslam for Rock and chokeslam for HHH, but Foley breaks it up with a kick in the shin. So all three guys go after Show and knock him down with clotheslines, then team up to bootfuck him. That alliance doesn’t last, as Mick turns on HHH and hits him with a Cactus clothesline, leaving Rock to slug away on Show in the ring. Show comes back with a big boot as Foley chairs HHH. Mick chairs Show and Rock gets the Rock Bottom to eliminate him at 4:48. So it’s a three-way now, as the Rock N Sock Connection decide to go after HHH while HHH tries to convince each one to turn on the other. It doesn’t work, and it’s beatdown time. They pinball HHH with punches and Foley tosses him, and the beating continues on the floor. Foley whips HHH into a Rock clothesline and Mick grabs the bell, but Rock hits Mick with it by accident. HHH whips Rock into the post to take over and drops him on the railing, but Foley finds his trusty barbed-wire 2×4, so HHH goes low to counter. He beats on Foley with it, but Rock saves. This whole segment is actually really bad. HHH tosses Rock but gets DDT’d by Mick, and it’s Mr. Socko time. Rock lays HHH out with the belt for good measure to set up the People’s Elbow, but Mick opts to go for the Mandible Sock on Rock. HHH breaks that up with a low blow and everyone is out. Vince leaves a chair for Rock, who hits HHH with a clothesline, but Mick clotheslines Rock in turn and gets two. Mick slugs away in the corner and DDTs Rock for two. Rock gets his own for two. Pace is too slow, with too much laying around in between spots. Mick calls for an alliance with HHH to get rid of Rock, and they work him over, as Mick gets a kneelift for two. Double suplex into a HHH kneedrop gets two. Rock gets dumped by Foley, but comes back to whip Mick into the stairs. Mick grabs the stairs and hits Rock with them, visibly winded. HHH & Rock set up on the Spanish announce table and Mick goes up, but misses by a foot and knocks himself out on the table. That was just sad to see. HHH tries to cover by dropping elbows on Rock until the table breaks, but it just looked silly. One poor idiot in the crowd tries to start a “Holy shit” chant. Yeah. In the ring, 2 does of KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finish Foley at 19:40. Mick was totally gassed and obviously done at that point anyway. (I feel like, with the benefit of hindsight, had they wanted Mick to hang around until this show they should have had him win the title at No Way Out with his career on the line.  Then he could have goaded HHH into putting his own career as collateral for a final deciding title match here, where HHH gets the belt and retires Mick in one shot at the biggest stage possible.  And Rock can get his revenge on Big Show in a singles match, or team with Vince against Shane & Show, and you get your Vince turn there.)  So we’re down to HHH v. Rock, which is what they should have booked in the FIRST PLACE. As Mick said later, this was a really sad way for Mick to exit the WWF as a wrestler. He does, however, stop to lay HHH out with the barbed wire before leaving. Rock gets two off that. They slug it out, won by Rock, and HHH gets dumped with a clothesline. Brawl outside and Rock suplexes him on the floor. They head back to ringside, as Rock backdrops him into the ringside area, but HHH uses a chair to counter Rock’s stairs. HHH follows with a piledriver on the stairs and they head back in, where HHH gets two. Rock fights back and backdrops HHH over the top to block a Pedigree, and they fight into the crowd to waste some time. Rock comes back with a spinebuster on the floor, and both guys are out. They head over to the tables and HHH gets suplexed on the surviving one, but comes back to send Rock into the stairs. Vince attacks HHH, however, ramming him into the post and sending him into the ring, but that draws Shane out to attack his father in turn. The match is just dying at this point. Vince no-sells a shot with a monitor like he’s the Undertaker or something, and chases Shane back to the aisle, but falls victim to a chairshot. Meanwhile, there’s a wrestling match going on (in case you forgot) as Rock makes the comeback and DDTs HHH for two. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. HHH comes back with a facecrusher and hits Rock with a weak barbed wire shot, but Rock catapults HHH into Shane. Rock Bottom, but Vince makes a miraculous return as this gets more and more overbooked, but then turns on Rock with a chairshot, and HHH gets two. Another chairshot finishes for HHH at 36:25. Bad match, WAY wrong finish (especially for Wrestlemania), bad finish to begin with, major boredom throughout, and an end to the show that only succeeded in pissing off the crowd. **1/2 The Bottom Line: This was a MAJOR LEAGUE misfire during a very hot period for the WWF, as this was a two-match show and the main event was a huge disappointment. It was also the first time a heel walked out of Wrestlemania with the title, but not the last, as they did the exact same thing the next year and nearly drove themselves into the ground as a result. I can’t recommend it for the show, but the two good matches are good enough, and the bonus disc of the DVD set is excellent, covering about 3 hours of the “Wrestlemania All Day” special that preceded the PPV broadcast (minus the fluff with Ivory) with interviews and history of Wrestlemania, plus memorable matches from the first 15 of them. The show is a recommendation to avoid, the DVD is mildly recommended.

Wrestlemania Countdown: 16 (2000)

The Netcop Rant for Wrestlemania 2000 – Brought to you by refreshing, chilled orange soda! Don’t worry, it’s just an inside joke… – Note on the pre-game show: Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan. Rahim and I were the only two out of the group to be true wrestling geeks and endure the entire 8 hour pre-game show (with all 6 outfits worn by Ivory), although I gave up on my pledge to recap the whole thing once the tension headache set in around Wrestlemania V, and it lasted until Wrestlemania XII when the Tylenol kicked in. That’s just too damn much wrestling for any one person. As a general note on the show, the editing choices were kind of weird, as were the match selections and clipping, and we counted about 17 different kinds of special effects used by the graphics people, with all sorts of letterboxing, color tinting, fades, dissolves and every other neato trick learned in film school. Owen v. Bret was shown almost in it’s entirety, but Steamboat v. Savage was clipped to three minutes? Still, a very interesting and LONG look back at all the Wrestlemanias.  (Wonder why they never released the entire thing on DVD?  They’ll release any other stupid thing they can fill 8 hours of space with now, it seems.)  – As a note, the picks for the main event going in were running 6-1 for Mick Foley, with my vote for the Rock being the sole exception. – Live from Anaheim, California. – Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. – Opening match: The Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan. Ice-T raps Team Pimp down to the ring. Godfather and D-Lo control with some standard stuff. Bull rebounds out of the corner with a flying lariat to make D-Lo the Pimp in Peril. Scissor kick gets two. D-Lo fights back with a top rope rana. Hot tag to Godfather, who hits the corner splash on Bossman. D-Lo goes up to finish but gets knocked off and Bossman-slammed. Bull legdrops him off the top to finish. Bull looked good, the rest was lacklustre. *1/2 – Hardcore battle royale: Tazz, Kaientai, Hardcore Holly, Mean Street Posse, the Headbangers, Viscera & The Acolytes v. Crash Holly. Every pinfall in the 15-minute time limit results in a title change. Last person to be the Hardcore champion wins. (Kind of a redonkulous stipulation if you think about it, as the entire point of the title was that you could win it outside of the confines of the match.)  Tazz suplexes Crash to win the title 30 seconds in. Viscera splashes Tazz on the floor to win it. Crash is busted open as the Acolytes go after Viscera. Lots of nasty weapons shots from Bradshaw leave everyone laying. Viscera escapes from both Hardcore & Mosh to retain for 5 minutes, which sets the record for the match. Pete Gas absolutely taps an artery and bleeds all over his sweater vest. Acolytes slam Viscera off the top, then put Funaki on top to give HIM the title. See, they don’t even care about the title, they just want to hurt people. Funaki runs like the wind to back and everyone follows. Rodney catches him first and gets a title reign. Joey Abs clobbers him and wins it. Thrasher rams him into a steel door and pins him to win the title. Everyone beats the shit out of him and we head back up the aisle. Pete Gas sprays Thrasher with a fire extinguisher, then nails him with it and gets his second title. Back to the ring as Tazz suplexes Pete and gets HIS second title. Three minutes left, the Hollies double-team Tazz in the ring and get several two-counts. They keep stopping each other. Crash gets the pin with 30 seconds left, but Tazz slaps on the Tazzmission as time winds down. With 7 seconds left, Hardcore smashes a jar of candy over both their heads and pins Crash to win the Hardcore title for good. That was quite the entertaining little crapfest, I gotta admit. ***1/2 The ending seemed blown, as Tim White was apparently supposed to have time run out before counting the pin. Oh well, I predicted Hardcore would take it pre-show, so I’m happy. – Head Cheese v. T & A. (So much fail here.)  Al Snow introduces us to their new mascot: Chester McCheeserton. He’s a pygmie dressed as a wedge of cheese, you see. As captivating as it sounds. This match is a total waste, with everyone wandering around the ring randomly for a few minutes and blowing EVERYTHING. Stage fright, I guess. Crowd is dead. Snow & Blackman get the legdrop finisher (the Cheese Grater?) but Test drops the big elbow on Blackman for the pin. JR found about 7 different diplomatic ways to say that this sucked. No shit, everyone was saying that BEFORE the show. DUD – WWF World tag title match: The Dudley Boyz v. Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. There’s three ladders to start, with more to come presumably. ON WITH THE SPOTS! Three-way brawl to start. Buh Buh nails Jeff with a backdrop and full-nelson drop. Ladder comes into the ring and Buh Buh gets splatted with it. Matt elbowdrops D-Von on a ladder. Jeff misses a 450 on a ladder and looks to kill his leg. Buh Buh sentons him under a ladder. He then does the Terry Funk spinning ladder bit to knock everyone down. He gets dropkicked, however, and the Blondes pancake D-Von onto the ladder. Christian puts the ladder near the apron and dives off it onto Buh Buh and Matt, drawing the first “Holy Shit” chant of the night. Jeff climbs for the belts, but Edge spears him off it from the second rope. Edge goes up and gets powerbombed off by Matt. D-Von slams Matt off. Christian knocks D-Von off with a ladder. Three ladders get set up, and Buh Buh hits his half of 3D off the top on Christian. Another “Holy Shit” chant for that. Hardyz go up one ladder each and hit Rolling thunder off them. Jeff takes a crazy bump to the floor, then, and back in the ring the Blondes double-suplex D-Von off the top of the ladder. Hardyz and Blondes each go up and knock each other off. Crowd chants for tables. All six climb ladders, and Christian & Jeff go flying to the floor in a suicidal bump, while Edge & Matt get crotched on the top rope. The leaves the Dudleys alone. Christian crawls back in and gets smashed. Edge gets 3D. Tables are introduced to a HUGE pop. Dudleys put a table on top of two ladders, making a scaffold of sorts. Oh man, that’s kinda insane. Much like the rest of this match. Two more are set up below in the ring. Buh Buh takes Matt outside and powerbombs him through a table as D-Von misses a dive and goes through one in the ring. Jeff’s rail run is blocked with a VICIOUS ladder shot to the face. Holy shit! Buh Buh finds a HUGE twenty-foot ladder down the aisle and sets it up, plus a table, but gets nailed with the ringbell and put on the table by Jeff, who proceeds to deliver the SENTON BOMB FROM THE LADDER, THROUGH THE TABLE! Buh Buh is dead. Back in, D-Von gets taken out by Matt and Christian, who proceed to climb onto the scaffold. Edge joins them, knocks Matt off, and Edge & Christian grab the titles to become the new WWF tag team champions. I need a vacation after just WATCHING that. ***** I’m starting to fear for Jeff Hardy’s life, however. – The Kat v. Terri. Throwaway junk here, as Val Venis is the special referee and both women are wearing body stockings. Various shenanigans allow Terri to toss the Kat out first behind Val’s back with help from Moolah and get the win. Kat tears a good portion of Terri’s clothing off afterwards. Served it’s purpose, I guess. DUD – The Radicalz v. Too Cool & Chyna. Pre-match, Eddie promises to use his “Latino Heat” to charm Chyna, which may become the new catchphrase for this millennium. (Can I call ‘em or what?) He just plays an awesome sleazebag, and I mean that in the nicest way. (And he rode it all the way to the World title.)  Color coordination report for the Rads tonight: Purple and black. Eddie tags out quickly to escape Chyna, who is dressed like Disco Inferno. Grandmaster Sexay gets caught in the corner for a bit, then Scotty comes in and gets nailed with the springboard senton by Eddie. Eddie gets suplexed to the floor and Saturn & Malenko take a double Worm, but rebound to double-team Scotty. Eddie goes to the top but gets superplexed. Hotty tag to Chyna, who cleans house with a nice double handspring elbow sequence and double ballshot to Saturn and Malenko. Eddie tries a powerbomb but Chyna escapes and splits her disco pants. She manages a drop sleeper on Guerrero, whose boots she is not worthy to carry, and gets the pin. Match was okay, if disjointed. **1/2 – Euro-Continental title match: Kurt Angle v. Chris Jericho v. Chris Benoit. First fall for the I-C title: Benoit chops Jericho to start, then Jericho and Angle go. Jericho dropkicks both off the apron and Angle whips him into the stairs. Back in, Benoit & Jericho hammer each other and Jericho goes flying into the Spanish table. Benoit gets a pair of suplexes on Angle for two. Jericho takes out Angle, who comes back to suplex Benoit for two. Jericho camel clutches Benoit, then hits a hanging suplex on Angle that gets two for Benoit. Angle suplexes Jericho for two. Benoit blocks a sunset flip for two. Jericho gets caught with the cross-face chicken-wing by Angle, broken up by Benoit. Flying headbutt on Jericho gets the pin and the title for MY BOY! Whoo-hoo! Guess that’s the reward for carrying the Rock to one of his best matches. Second fall, for the Euro title: Angle takes out both, but Benoit superplexes Jericho and Angle misses a moonsault (!). Jericho covers for two, then locks on the Liontamer. Benoit breaks. Triple collision sequence leads to the double powerbomb by Jericho on Angle, which leads to the rolling german suplexes on Jericho, for two. Dragon suplex on Angle gets two for Benoit. Ref gets bumped, and Benoit hooks the crossface on Jericho, who escapes and hooks the Liontamer. Angle blasts him with the Euro title for two. Benoit suplexes Angle, but misses the headbutt, and Jericho hits the Lionsault for the pin and the European title. Angle is understandably pissed, having dropped both titles (cleanly, too) without losing a fall. Match was, of course, great, and I think we’re all just waiting for the Benoit v. Jericho wars to follow now. ****  (I find it interesting that Jericho didn’t like this match, because although the concept is bizarre and kind of hard-to-digest, I thought they made it work the best they could.)  Kane & Rikishi v. The Pot Puffers. (I’m referring to the D-X remnant team of X-Pac and Road Dogg, by the way) This is really just an excuse for a Pete Rose appearance. Everyone hits their signature spots on everyone else (Salad tosser, bronco buster, crazy-legs kneedrop) in short order before X-Pac takes a diamond cutter from Rikishi and a tombstone from Kane finishes quickly, hopefully ending this for good. *1/2 Too Cool and the San Diego Chicken come out to dance, as Kane glances at the chicken suspiciously. However, when Kane goes after the innocent mascot, the REAL deal, Pete Rose, attacks from behind with a baseball bat…and gets killed, as usual. Rikishi rubs his ass in his face for good measure. Well, there’s always next year. – WWF World title: HHH v. The Big Show v. The Rock v. Mick Foley. (Random fact:  Originally it was to be Chris Jericho representing Linda McMahon, but Vince wanted a bigger star and so Foley got drafted out of retirement.)  Big brawl to start. Mick v. HHH and Rock v. Show result. Show tosses HHH & Rock around the ring. Sideslam on Rock, chokeslam on HHH, but Mick nails him in the knee to stop the momentum. All three of the others gang up on the Show. Mick & HHH fight outside as Rocky finishes Big Show quickly with a Rock Bottom for the pin, to no one’s surprise. So we’re down to three. HHH tries reasoning with both men, but the Rock n Sock Connection attacks him. They brawl outside the ring. Rock nails Mick with the ringbell, showing what an idiot Foley is at times. Rock and HHH fight, but Mick finds the barbed-wire 2×4. HHH lowblows him and delivers his own shot with it. HHH tosses Rock, out, but Mick DDTs him and it’s the return of Socko! Rock blasts HHH with the WWF title, but Mick puts the Sock on Rock instead. HHH ballshots them both. Vince passes a chair into the ring as Mick clotheslines Rock for two. Double-arm DDT gets two to freak out the crowd. Rock comes back with a floatover DDT for two. HHH takes him down and Foley helps to beat on him. Foley kneelift gets two. HHH kneedrop gets two. They head outside and Mick tastes the STEEL stairs. HHH nails Rock with those stairs, then puts him on the Spanish table and sends Mick to the 2nd rope. He misses badly, nailing his arm on the table, so HHH improvises and puts Rock through the old-fashioned way: He jumps on him really hard. Back in, HHH turns on Mick and Pedigrees him for two. Chairshot and Pedigree on the chair gets the pin. Well, what the hell was the point of having Mick in there? We’re down to Rock v. HHH, at any rate. Mick comes back and blasts HHH with the 2×4, then leaves for real. It gets two for Rocky. They fight down the aisle, and back to ringside, where Rock charges with the stairs and gets nailed with a chair by HHH. Piledriver on the stairs follows. Ouch. Back in, it gets two. Rock fights back, but HHH escapes the Rock Bottom and tries the Pedigree. Rock backdrops HHH to the floor to escape. Back into the crowd, and then Rock spinebusters HHH on the floor. He suplexes him through the announce table for good measure. HHH hits a drop-toehold to the stairs, however, so Vince snaps and rams HHH into the ringpost. Shane then attacks Vince from behind, ramming a monitor into his head. Vince no-sells and beats on Shane back to the aisle, where Shane smokes Vince with a chairshot. Rock & HHH recover in the ring as Vince is carried off. Rock makes the comeback. DDT gets two. Tilt-a-whirl gets two. HHH comes back with a facebuster and 2×4 shot. Shane comes in and Rock catapults HHH into him to prevent interference. Vince returns and takes Shane out…then turns on the Rock! Chairshot gets two for HHH, and a second one GETS THE PIN?!? The crowd is PISSED. The McMahons reunite (with the exception of Linda), and Rocky makes somewhat good by Rock Bottoming both Vince and Shane, then doing it to Steph and delivering a People’s Elbow to her in addition. But this McMahon nonsense is getting WAY out of hand. I can’t argue with the logic of keeping HHH as the champion, however, even if it was pretty heartbreaking to see the heel actually walk out of Wrestlemania with the title this year. ***1/2 Post-Game highlights: Hardcore Holly calls Michael Cole the Little Goatee Wearing Bitch a shithead, Edge & Christian give a victory speech while still selling the injuries sustained, Mick regrets not being 23 years old when he tried that dive, Pete Rose explains that he’s a competitor, and there’s always next year, and Vince finishes by giving a non-sensical explanation for his turn, which probably boils down to “Watch RAW tomorrow”. The Bottom Line: Bizarre final match booking aside, this was an AWESOME show, featuring a *****, a **** and two ***1/2 matches, and just generally being entertaining for the entire 3 ½ hours. I *think* that they might hotshot the title onto the Rock on RAW, thus getting the biggest rating in history while unopposed. Or maybe another McMahon will win a title, who knows. Huge thumbs up here, at any rate, even if the ending left us all shell-shocked. The SmarK Retro Rant for Wrestlemania 2000 (XVI) – Okay, so we’re back again with a fresh re-rant after a week of reposts. Unless of you’re reading this for the big repost fest on 411 in the year 2024 for the Wrestlemania XL festivities. In which case, I can’t help you. – Live from Anaheim, CA. – Your hosts are JR & King. – This is one reason why the WWF was always better at certain things than WCW was – for instance, I don’t remember most of 1999-2000, so their constant video packages actually make it easy to remember the reasons for the midcard matches. – Opening match: Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan. I barely remember any of this period, with Godfather and D-Lo as twin pimps and Bossman training Bull as a prison guard or something. Ice T raps the black dudes down to the ring, to almost no reaction. Or record sales, judging by how badly “Aggression” bombed. D-Lo starts with Bull and slugs away, but Bull blocks a rollup and D-Lo dropkicks him. Back elbow and Godfather comes in with a slam and a double-team splash/legdrop from the pimps. He misses an elbow and Bossman comes in and pounds Godfather in the corner, getting a clothesline out of the corner, and a back kick for two. Bull comes in and goes with D-Lo, as Brown slugs away in the corner, but Bull hits him with the rebound clothesline that he would go on to screw up 150,000 times before getting fired in 2003. Bossman gets a cheapshot to turn the tide, and the prison guards get a double-sliding punch for two. Bossman gets a big boot and Bull follows with an axe kick for two. They switch off on D-Lo and work him over, and a double elbow gets two for Bossman. King starts talking about the “electric atmosphere” while the crowd sits on their hands for this crap. Bull goes to the bearhug, but D-Lo slugs out, so Bull & Bossman pound him down again. They slug it out and D-Lo goes for a crossbody, but Bossman gets a backbreaker for two. JR makes a reference to an “XFL fair catch”, and BOY you don’t hear those references anymore. Bull comes off the top with a double axehandle and keeps punching, but goes up and crotches himself with help from Godfather. D-Lo follows with a rana, which Bull seems unable to sell properly, and it’s hot tag Godfather. Backdrop and the heels collide, as Bossman misses a charge and Godfather hits him with the Ho Train. D-Lo goes up and gets shoved off by Bull, but he lands on his feet. Dropkick on Bossman, but he walks into the Bossman slam and Bull finishes with a legdrop for the pin at 9:04. INSANELY long and boring. * – Meanwhile, HHH and Stephanie admire their belts. Ah, for the days when Stephanie was Women’s champion and everyone else in the division was so bad that it was a blessing not to have someone who wrestled as champion. – Hardcore Battle Royale: This is a 15-minute match, and whoever is the Hardcore champion when it’s over…is, uh, the Hardcore champion. OK, that sounds stupid, but whatever. So we’ve got Tazz (he used to be a wrestler, you know), Viscera, Pete Gas, Rodney, Joey Abs, Hardcore Holly, Taka, Funaki, Mosh, Thrasher, Faarooq, Bradshaw and of course Crash Holly (RIP). As expected, it’s a big brawl to start, and Tazz hits Crash with a capture suplex for the pin at 0:25 to win the title. So Tazz is now the champion. Viscera rams him into the post and slams him for the title at 1:00. Now see, the psychology is all off here, as everyone should just gang up on the champion in a sane world. Viscera fights with the Mean Street Posse using the Japanese flag as a weapon, but they fight back as people start to catch on. The APA (back when Bradshaw had heterosexual hair) try beating on him, but he fires back with the deadly COOKIE SHEET OF PAIN. Dull segment as everyone stands around outside and hits each other with no rhyme or reason. Bradshaw goes CRAZY with the cookie sheet. Hopefully no one gives him a spatula. Holly gets two on Viscera after a street sign, and so does Mosh. JR notes that “all these young pups taking these head shots will never forget their first Wrestlemania”. Actually, Jim, they probably did, which is kind of the problem. More heads hit with more signs. Into the ring, Viscera lays everyone out with the cookie sheet, which seems to the weapon of choice, but he goes up and gets slammed off by the APA. Faarooq uses a 2×4 to set up a Bradshaw shoulderblock and Kaientai covers to make Funaki the champ at 7:13. Taka turns on him and chases him outside, and they head back to the dressing room, where Rodney pins him at 8:10 to win the title. Joey Abs turns on him and gets a gutwrench at 8:23 for the title. Thrasher sends him into the door for the title at 8:43. Viscera pounds on him with the cookie sheet, and Thrasher stumbles back to the ring, but gets hit by Pete Gas with a fire extinguisher for the title at 9:28. Tazz attacks him and sends him into the post, as he does a gory bladejob, and Tazz suplexes him on the floor to win the title at 10:15 for the second time in the same match. Hardcore Holly sends him into the stairs for two. They slug it out and it’s back to more weapons. Mosh gets two off a cookie sheet. In the ring, the Hollies double-team Tazz, but Crash turns on Hardcore, and Tazz lays him out with the cookie sheet. That gets two. Why even make a cover? JR & King ask the same question. The Hollies keep fighting over who gets to pin Tazz, but Tazz gets another suplex on Crash. Hardcore powerslams Tazz for one, and Crash gets two. Hardcore tosses Crash and gets the DROPKICK OF DEATH on Tazz for two. Tazz hits him with a northern lights suplex and Hardcore bails, and Crash gets another cookie sheet shot on Tazz for the pin at 14:19 to win the title. Tazz comes back with the Tazzmission to a huge pop, but Hardcore breaks it up with a jar of candy and gets two on Crash, but Fink announces Hardcore as the champion. In the grand scheme of things, no one gave a fuck. The time was supposed to have run out, but it didn’t, and Tim White had to pretend Crash kicked out at two, even though he didn’t. I must have been hitting the firewater to give this pile of horseshit *** upon first viewing, as 90% of it was meaningless fighting outside. ½*  (I figured that one would drop rapidly upon rewatching it.)  – Steve Blackman & Al Snow v. Test & Albert. Okay, quick word of explanation here. Blackman and Snow were Head Cheese, as Snow engaged in a quest to find a personality for Blackman. Test & Albert were Trish Stratus’ first stint in the WWF, which just shows how incredibly far she’s come as a character and a worker since her debut in 2000. For one thing, she’s no longer overly muscled and freakishly tanned. Nor does she wear 6 inch lifts in her boots. Test starts with Blackman, but gets superkicked. Snow comes in for a quick double-team and Snow slugs away, but Test clotheslines him and brings in Albert. Test gets the big boot. Snow comes in with an enzuigiri on Albert, but they beat on him in the corner. Albert gets double-teamed in the Head Cheese corner and they get a double-clothesline for two. Snow suplexes him for two. Blackman kicks him down for two as things get REALLY ugly and the match just falls apart. Snow & Blackman work Albert over, but he comes back with a butterfly suplex and makes what appears to be a hot tag for the heels, as Test comes in and cleans house on Head Cheese and gets a sideslam on Snow for two. I don’t get this at all. Double powerbomb on Snow, so devastating that Snow pulls up his tights in mid-sell, gets two. JR apologizes about 18 times for the match as Snow hits Albert with a quebrada outside, and Blackman pounds on Test to set up a Decapitation double-team on Test for two. Albert baldobombs Snow and dumps him, and presses Test onto Blackman for two. JR keeps burying the match as Blackman superkicks Albert, but Albert basically no-sells and Test finishes Blackman with a flying elbow at 6:59 to end the suffering. If this wasn’t in the running for Worst Match of the Year, it should have been. –**  (Poor Test, dude appeared at 3 Wrestlemanias and was involved in some of the biggest fiascos in each one.)  WWF tag title ladder match: The Dudley Boyz v. Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. (I find it interesting to this day how completely the tag team division was stripped down and rebuilt around this time.  The Outlaws and the various super-teams who were dominating for years suddenly disappeared, and these three completely took over for a long time.  Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy to do the same thing on top of the promotion.)  This used to be a FRESH matchup, for those who don’t remember those days. This was also the days when the Dudleyz were the hottest act in tag team wrestling and Bubba still had a southern accent. Edge & Christian were ZERO-time tag team champions at this point. Big brawl outside to start, and Matt starts in the ring with Christian, but gets dropkicked. Next up, D-Von and Edge, as Edge gets a leg lariat and they head out again. Finally, Bubba & Jeff, as Bubba chops him in the corner but gets hit with a corkscrew out of the corner. Bubba backdrops him and gets the Bubba Bomb, and they brawl out again. Back into the ring, as everyone fights it out in various combinations, and Matt tosses a ladder at Bubba, allowing Jeff to slam into it, and it’s the same situation on the other side of the ring with E&C v. D-Von. Matt slams D-Von onto the ladder and hits him with a yodeling elbow. Jeff DDTs Bubba and puts him on the ladder, but misses a 450 splash and splats on it. Wonder why Jeff stopped using that? Bubba retaliates with his senton off the middle ropes (one of the few times it actually hits), and then Edge rides a ladder down from the top, onto another one that’s on Matt. Everyone is out, so D-Von legdrops Edge beneath another ladder. Bubba does the Terry Funk spot with the ladder on his shoulders, but E&C double-dropkick it back at him. They flapjack D-Von into another ladder in the corner, and Christian climbs up a ladder by the apron, hitting Bubba & Matt with a dive to the floor. Jeff makes the first climb for the belts, but Edge spears Matt off the ladder. He climbs next, but Matt brings him down with a Fire Thunder Bomb and climbs himself. D-Von slams him off to break that up and climbs, but Christian tosses a ladder at him to stop it. Now Christian climbs, but Bubba sets up two more ladders and climbs one to chase, bringing him down with a Bubba Cutter off the ladder. The Hardyz swoop in and toss Christian, and then climb up two ladders and hit a splash/legdrop combo on Bubba from the top of them. Edge tosses Jeff, however, and E&C double-suplex D-Von off a pair of ladders. Everyone is out again. Now The Hardyz duel with E&C on the top of two ladders, and they bring each other down. So now the Dudleyz join the fray, and all six guys climb three ladders and fight it out, but Christian & Jeff get dumped over the top, while Edge & Matt get crotched on the top rope, leaving the Dudleyz all alone in the ring. Christian staggers in, so the Dudleyz sandwich him between two ladders and hit Edge with 3D. It’s time for D-Von to get the tables, but that catchphrase didn’t exist yet. So they set up two ladders and put a table on top of them as a makeshift scaffolding, but the Hardy Boyz bring them down again. They all brawl outside and Bubba powerbombs Matt through a table outside, as D-Von misses a splash and puts himself through a table in the ring. Jeff tries a railrunner on Bubba, but walks into a ladder. Bubba then finds an insanely high ladder and sets up a table next to it, but Christian hits him with the bell to put him on the table, and Jeff climbs the ladder and puts Bubba through the table with a swanton bomb to take both guys out of play. In the ring, D-Von suplexes Christian and climbs the structure, but Matt returns to pull him down and hits the Twist of Fate. Matt then climbs, along with Christian, and they slug it out up there until Edge follows them up and gets rid of Matt, and they grab the titles at 22:28, their first reign of seven. Time and perspective have shown that although the match was insanely influential, the rematch at Summerslam 2000 (Tables Ladders & Chairs) was the superior match, and this one had a slower pace and featured too much contrived setting up of the crazy spots. **** – Terri v. The Kat. I don’t even remember the backstory with this, but Terri has Moolah and Kat has Mae Young. Terri is wearing a bodystocking in lieu of tights, as is Kat. Well, at least they’re being honest about it. They fight it out on the mat to start, and special referee Val Venis breaks it up with a kiss. This incites jealousy and the dreaded hairtosses and they roll around a lot. Kat tosses Terri, but Mae Young was busy distracting Val and it continues. Unfortunately. Mae & Moolah get involved, and Terri gets tossed again, but Val is still distracted. Terri gets back in and Kat is out, so Val declares Terri the winner at 2:25. JR told us not to use the star rating system before it started, but I’ve never been good at following orders. –****  (These two actually made Kelly Kelly look like a nuanced worker.)  Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero & Perry Saturn v. Chyna & Too Cool. This was the start of Eddie’s “Latino Heat”, as he spent weeks hitting on Chyna, with no results until the night after Wrestlemania. Eddie starts with Scotty and grabs a headlock, but gets monkey-flipped. Scotty with a backbreaker and some moonwalking, and Chyna comes in, but Eddie hides behind Malenko. Dean comes in and gets clotheslined and Chyna slugs away, before Scotty gets a cheapshot from outside. Grandmaster Sexay comes in with a double-suplex with Chyna, and they get down, which is a truly scary sight. Sexay slams Dean, and Eddie comes back in, but walks into a backdrop suplex. Sexay goes up, but Saturn shoves him off. Saturn then stomps him down and the Radicalz work him over. Eddie gets a suplex, but puts his head down and Scotty 2 Hotty comes back in. He walks right into a hotshot, however, and Eddie keeps making eyes at Chyna. Backdrop suplex and slingshot senton, but he stops to knock Chyna off the apron and gets suplexed by Sexay to the floor as a result. It’s BONZO GONZO in the ring and Scotty puts Saturn in Worm position, and it’s a Double Worm on Saturn & Malenko, back when it was REALLY over. The Radicalz drag him out, however, and send him into the railing, while Chyna pounds on Eddie in the ring. This match is a mess. So back in the ring, it seems like they’ve finally got their shit together and Scotty is the face-in-peril, so Saturn superkicks him and goes up with a flying elbow. Eddie goes up and Scotty crotches him and brings him down with a superplex. Hot tag Chyna, and the Radicalz all have to bump like pinballs for her, as she hits Saturn & Dean with handspring elbows and stereo ballshots. Eddie lays her out, however, but she counters a powerbomb and gets one of her own. The dreaded IRON TESTICULAR CLAW sets up a press slam, and a drop sleeper finishes at 9:39. The stuff with Chyna was ridiculous, especially with a 150-pound woman supposedly able to dead-lift a 220 pound guy, and the match was almost totally lacking in flow. ** – Eurocontinental title match: Kurt Angle v. Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho. The first fall is for the IC title, and the second fall is for the European title. Angle has both titles at this point. The DVD has commentary from all three guys (at the expense of the bitrate), so I’ll listen to Jericho’s commentary for the first fall and Benoit’s for the second fall. I still don’t get why they don’t do more wrestler commentaries for big shows. Benoit shoves Angle into Jericho, but gets clotheslined by Jericho. They all slug it out in the corner, and Jericho elbows Angle down, but Benoit unleashes the chops and Jericho dropkicks him into the corner and out. Jericho dropkicks Angle, but Benoit trips him up on the springboard dropkick and goes after Angle on the apron, but Jericho recovers and dropkicks both of them. Good spot. Jericho is really easy-going and funny on commentary, by the way, riffing on Benoit the whole time and talking about the spots. Angle hotshots Jericho on the stairs and gets two off it back in. Benoit saves and clotheslines Angle for two. Jericho saves and chops Benoit again, as they slug it out in the corner, and then he goes after Angle with a backbreaker, but goes up and gets shoved off into the table by Benoit. Benoit suplexes Angle for two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Jericho comes back in with a dropkick to Benoit and goes up, getting a missile dropkick on Angle for two, but Benoit saves. Jericho talks a bit about how much he likes working with Benoit and how they came up together. Angle suplexes Benoit for two while Jericho talks about working WWF style and working stuff from Japan. Jericho bulldogs Angle for two and gets into another chopfest with Benoit, but Angle suplexes Benoit for two. Jericho saves. Angle takes a powder and Jericho puts Benoit in the camel clutch, then releases to suplex Angle, but Benoit steals a near-fall. Angle slugs away on Jericho, but charges and hits boot, then recovers with a double underhook suplex for two. Benoit gets whipped into Jericho, but Jericho goes for a sunset flip, which Benoit blocks for two. Jericho tries another powerbomb, but Angle reverses to the crossface chickenwing, which he used briefly before discovering the anklelock. Benoit saves. He tosses Angle into the crowd and goes up with the diving headbutt to win the IC title at 7:55. Benoit then tries an immediate cover on Jericho again and gets two, as the European title match begins. Angle suplexes Benoit for two. I switch to Benoit’s commentary now. Angle goes up and gets crotched and Jericho follows, but Benoit crotches HIM and it’s a backdrop superplex, but both are out and Angle follows with a moonsault, which misses. Benoit is talking about the match more in kayfabe than the more-open Jericho. Hey, let’s try Angle. They all get a two-count as Angle admits that he knocked his own wind out of himself on the missed moonsault. Jericho tries the Walls on Angle, but Benoit saves, so Angle slugs away on him and slams him, then goes back to Jericho. Angle’s self-centered commentary is hilarious. Jericho comes back with a leg lariat, hitting Benoit, and then powerbombing Angle for one. Benoit saves with the rolling germans on Jericho for two. Dragon Suplex on Angle gets two. Angle complains that his shoulders weren’t even down. The ref is bumped and Benoit takes Jericho down with the crossface, but releases and gets caught in the Walls. Angle breaks the Walls down with a beltshot and pins Jericho, but only gets two. Benoit & Angle slug it out and Benoit gets a backdrop suplex, but misses the diving headbutt, allowing Jericho to Lionsault him for the pin and the Euro title at 13:46. This match was WAAAAAY ahead of its time, and it’s still a really cool technical exhibition, although Angle’s offense was much weaker in 2000 and the ex-WCW guys were shackled by the then-current WWF style. ***1/2 – Road Dogg & X-Pac v. Rikishi & Kane. (They should actually bring in Sean Waltman to help out Road Dogg on the Are You Serious? show, because it seems like the kind of thing he could pull off pretty easily.)  D-X double-team Rikishi to start, but X-Pac goes after Kane outside and they brawl, and Rikishi gets a quick Stinkface on Road Dogg. Tori (not Torrie) tries to hide from Kane in the ring, but gets caught by Rikishi, and D-X save her from potential ass-eating action. D-X takes a walk, but Kane grabs X-Pac and they all head back to the ring. X-Pac kicks Rikishi down in the corner to set up a broncobuster and Road Dogg comes in to slug away, but Rikishi no-sells the punches. Kneedrop gets two. X-Pac comes in and pounds him with kicks, which Rikishi no-sells, and it’s a Bubba Cutter to set up the tag to Kane. Was that the hot tag? He destroys both D-X guys and backdrops X-Pac, then Paul Bearer brings Tori into the ring for a Stinkface from Rikishi. Tombstone kills X-Pac dead at 4:14. Basically a squash to give Kane revenge for being dumped by Tori. ¾* This all sets up Too Cool and the San Diego chicken coming in for dancing, but Kane doesn’t trust the Chicken. However, the real Pete Rose tries to attack from behind, and gets chokeslammed for his troubles. And then Stinkfaced. I think he earned his spot in the WWE Hall of Fame with this appearance. – WWF title match: Stephanie McMahon v. Vince McMahon v. Shane McMahon v. Linda McMahon. Oh, wait, sorry, that’s just what the ads made it seem like. – WWF title match: HHH v. The Rock v. Big Show v. Mick Foley. This was Mick’s second retirement match, although to his credit he managed to stay retired for another four years after this one. HHH starts with Foley and Show starts with Rock, and they all slug it out, and HHH loses his battle with Mick. Knee in the corner from Foley, but Show clotheslines both of them and knocks Rock down with a forearm. He hiptosses HHH and presses Rock, then hits HHH with more of the same. Notice HHH bumping all over for people. SELLING. Show chokes Rock out in the corner, but Foley jumps on his back, so Show falls back on him. Sideslam for Rock and chokeslam for HHH, but Foley breaks it up with a kick in the shin. So all three guys go after Show and knock him down with clotheslines, then team up to bootfuck him. That alliance doesn’t last, as Mick turns on HHH and hits him with a Cactus clothesline, leaving Rock to slug away on Show in the ring. Show comes back with a big boot as Foley chairs HHH. Mick chairs Show and Rock gets the Rock Bottom to eliminate him at 4:48. So it’s a three-way now, as the Rock N Sock Connection decide to go after HHH while HHH tries to convince each one to turn on the other. It doesn’t work, and it’s beatdown time. They pinball HHH with punches and Foley tosses him, and the beating continues on the floor. Foley whips HHH into a Rock clothesline and Mick grabs the bell, but Rock hits Mick with it by accident. HHH whips Rock into the post to take over and drops him on the railing, but Foley finds his trusty barbed-wire 2×4, so HHH goes low to counter. He beats on Foley with it, but Rock saves. This whole segment is actually really bad. HHH tosses Rock but gets DDT’d by Mick, and it’s Mr. Socko time. Rock lays HHH out with the belt for good measure to set up the People’s Elbow, but Mick opts to go for the Mandible Sock on Rock. HHH breaks that up with a low blow and everyone is out. Vince leaves a chair for Rock, who hits HHH with a clothesline, but Mick clotheslines Rock in turn and gets two. Mick slugs away in the corner and DDTs Rock for two. Rock gets his own for two. Pace is too slow, with too much laying around in between spots. Mick calls for an alliance with HHH to get rid of Rock, and they work him over, as Mick gets a kneelift for two. Double suplex into a HHH kneedrop gets two. Rock gets dumped by Foley, but comes back to whip Mick into the stairs. Mick grabs the stairs and hits Rock with them, visibly winded. HHH & Rock set up on the Spanish announce table and Mick goes up, but misses by a foot and knocks himself out on the table. That was just sad to see. HHH tries to cover by dropping elbows on Rock until the table breaks, but it just looked silly. One poor idiot in the crowd tries to start a “Holy shit” chant. Yeah. In the ring, 2 does of KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finish Foley at 19:40. Mick was totally gassed and obviously done at that point anyway. (I feel like, with the benefit of hindsight, had they wanted Mick to hang around until this show they should have had him win the title at No Way Out with his career on the line.  Then he could have goaded HHH into putting his own career as collateral for a final deciding title match here, where HHH gets the belt and retires Mick in one shot at the biggest stage possible.  And Rock can get his revenge on Big Show in a singles match, or team with Vince against Shane & Show, and you get your Vince turn there.)  So we’re down to HHH v. Rock, which is what they should have booked in the FIRST PLACE. As Mick said later, this was a really sad way for Mick to exit the WWF as a wrestler. He does, however, stop to lay HHH out with the barbed wire before leaving. Rock gets two off that. They slug it out, won by Rock, and HHH gets dumped with a clothesline. Brawl outside and Rock suplexes him on the floor. They head back to ringside, as Rock backdrops him into the ringside area, but HHH uses a chair to counter Rock’s stairs. HHH follows with a piledriver on the stairs and they head back in, where HHH gets two. Rock fights back and backdrops HHH over the top to block a Pedigree, and they fight into the crowd to waste some time. Rock comes back with a spinebuster on the floor, and both guys are out. They head over to the tables and HHH gets suplexed on the surviving one, but comes back to send Rock into the stairs. Vince attacks HHH, however, ramming him into the post and sending him into the ring, but that draws Shane out to attack his father in turn. The match is just dying at this point. Vince no-sells a shot with a monitor like he’s the Undertaker or something, and chases Shane back to the aisle, but falls victim to a chairshot. Meanwhile, there’s a wrestling match going on (in case you forgot) as Rock makes the comeback and DDTs HHH for two. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. HHH comes back with a facecrusher and hits Rock with a weak barbed wire shot, but Rock catapults HHH into Shane. Rock Bottom, but Vince makes a miraculous return as this gets more and more overbooked, but then turns on Rock with a chairshot, and HHH gets two. Another chairshot finishes for HHH at 36:25. Bad match, WAY wrong finish (especially for Wrestlemania), bad finish to begin with, major boredom throughout, and an end to the show that only succeeded in pissing off the crowd. **1/2 The Bottom Line: This was a MAJOR LEAGUE misfire during a very hot period for the WWF, as this was a two-match show and the main event was a huge disappointment. It was also the first time a heel walked out of Wrestlemania with the title, but not the last, as they did the exact same thing the next year and nearly drove themselves into the ground as a result. I can’t recommend it for the show, but the two good matches are good enough, and the bonus disc of the DVD set is excellent, covering about 3 hours of the “Wrestlemania All Day” special that preceded the PPV broadcast (minus the fluff with Ivory) with interviews and history of Wrestlemania, plus memorable matches from the first 15 of them. The show is a recommendation to avoid, the DVD is mildly recommended.

Wrestlemania Countdown: 16 (2000)

The Netcop Rant for Wrestlemania 2000 – Brought to you by refreshing, chilled orange soda! Don’t worry, it’s just an inside joke… – Note on the pre-game show: Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan. Rahim and I were the only two out of the group to be true wrestling geeks and endure the entire 8 hour pre-game show (with all 6 outfits worn by Ivory), although I gave up on my pledge to recap the whole thing once the tension headache set in around Wrestlemania V, and it lasted until Wrestlemania XII when the Tylenol kicked in. That’s just too damn much wrestling for any one person. As a general note on the show, the editing choices were kind of weird, as were the match selections and clipping, and we counted about 17 different kinds of special effects used by the graphics people, with all sorts of letterboxing, color tinting, fades, dissolves and every other neato trick learned in film school. Owen v. Bret was shown almost in it’s entirety, but Steamboat v. Savage was clipped to three minutes? Still, a very interesting and LONG look back at all the Wrestlemanias.  (Wonder why they never released the entire thing on DVD?  They’ll release any other stupid thing they can fill 8 hours of space with now, it seems.)  – As a note, the picks for the main event going in were running 6-1 for Mick Foley, with my vote for the Rock being the sole exception. – Live from Anaheim, California. – Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. – Opening match: The Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan. Ice-T raps Team Pimp down to the ring. Godfather and D-Lo control with some standard stuff. Bull rebounds out of the corner with a flying lariat to make D-Lo the Pimp in Peril. Scissor kick gets two. D-Lo fights back with a top rope rana. Hot tag to Godfather, who hits the corner splash on Bossman. D-Lo goes up to finish but gets knocked off and Bossman-slammed. Bull legdrops him off the top to finish. Bull looked good, the rest was lacklustre. *1/2 – Hardcore battle royale: Tazz, Kaientai, Hardcore Holly, Mean Street Posse, the Headbangers, Viscera & The Acolytes v. Crash Holly. Every pinfall in the 15-minute time limit results in a title change. Last person to be the Hardcore champion wins. (Kind of a redonkulous stipulation if you think about it, as the entire point of the title was that you could win it outside of the confines of the match.)  Tazz suplexes Crash to win the title 30 seconds in. Viscera splashes Tazz on the floor to win it. Crash is busted open as the Acolytes go after Viscera. Lots of nasty weapons shots from Bradshaw leave everyone laying. Viscera escapes from both Hardcore & Mosh to retain for 5 minutes, which sets the record for the match. Pete Gas absolutely taps an artery and bleeds all over his sweater vest. Acolytes slam Viscera off the top, then put Funaki on top to give HIM the title. See, they don’t even care about the title, they just want to hurt people. Funaki runs like the wind to back and everyone follows. Rodney catches him first and gets a title reign. Joey Abs clobbers him and wins it. Thrasher rams him into a steel door and pins him to win the title. Everyone beats the shit out of him and we head back up the aisle. Pete Gas sprays Thrasher with a fire extinguisher, then nails him with it and gets his second title. Back to the ring as Tazz suplexes Pete and gets HIS second title. Three minutes left, the Hollies double-team Tazz in the ring and get several two-counts. They keep stopping each other. Crash gets the pin with 30 seconds left, but Tazz slaps on the Tazzmission as time winds down. With 7 seconds left, Hardcore smashes a jar of candy over both their heads and pins Crash to win the Hardcore title for good. That was quite the entertaining little crapfest, I gotta admit. ***1/2 The ending seemed blown, as Tim White was apparently supposed to have time run out before counting the pin. Oh well, I predicted Hardcore would take it pre-show, so I’m happy. – Head Cheese v. T & A. (So much fail here.)  Al Snow introduces us to their new mascot: Chester McCheeserton. He’s a pygmie dressed as a wedge of cheese, you see. As captivating as it sounds. This match is a total waste, with everyone wandering around the ring randomly for a few minutes and blowing EVERYTHING. Stage fright, I guess. Crowd is dead. Snow & Blackman get the legdrop finisher (the Cheese Grater?) but Test drops the big elbow on Blackman for the pin. JR found about 7 different diplomatic ways to say that this sucked. No shit, everyone was saying that BEFORE the show. DUD – WWF World tag title match: The Dudley Boyz v. Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. There’s three ladders to start, with more to come presumably. ON WITH THE SPOTS! Three-way brawl to start. Buh Buh nails Jeff with a backdrop and full-nelson drop. Ladder comes into the ring and Buh Buh gets splatted with it. Matt elbowdrops D-Von on a ladder. Jeff misses a 450 on a ladder and looks to kill his leg. Buh Buh sentons him under a ladder. He then does the Terry Funk spinning ladder bit to knock everyone down. He gets dropkicked, however, and the Blondes pancake D-Von onto the ladder. Christian puts the ladder near the apron and dives off it onto Buh Buh and Matt, drawing the first “Holy Shit” chant of the night. Jeff climbs for the belts, but Edge spears him off it from the second rope. Edge goes up and gets powerbombed off by Matt. D-Von slams Matt off. Christian knocks D-Von off with a ladder. Three ladders get set up, and Buh Buh hits his half of 3D off the top on Christian. Another “Holy Shit” chant for that. Hardyz go up one ladder each and hit Rolling thunder off them. Jeff takes a crazy bump to the floor, then, and back in the ring the Blondes double-suplex D-Von off the top of the ladder. Hardyz and Blondes each go up and knock each other off. Crowd chants for tables. All six climb ladders, and Christian & Jeff go flying to the floor in a suicidal bump, while Edge & Matt get crotched on the top rope. The leaves the Dudleys alone. Christian crawls back in and gets smashed. Edge gets 3D. Tables are introduced to a HUGE pop. Dudleys put a table on top of two ladders, making a scaffold of sorts. Oh man, that’s kinda insane. Much like the rest of this match. Two more are set up below in the ring. Buh Buh takes Matt outside and powerbombs him through a table as D-Von misses a dive and goes through one in the ring. Jeff’s rail run is blocked with a VICIOUS ladder shot to the face. Holy shit! Buh Buh finds a HUGE twenty-foot ladder down the aisle and sets it up, plus a table, but gets nailed with the ringbell and put on the table by Jeff, who proceeds to deliver the SENTON BOMB FROM THE LADDER, THROUGH THE TABLE! Buh Buh is dead. Back in, D-Von gets taken out by Matt and Christian, who proceed to climb onto the scaffold. Edge joins them, knocks Matt off, and Edge & Christian grab the titles to become the new WWF tag team champions. I need a vacation after just WATCHING that. ***** I’m starting to fear for Jeff Hardy’s life, however. – The Kat v. Terri. Throwaway junk here, as Val Venis is the special referee and both women are wearing body stockings. Various shenanigans allow Terri to toss the Kat out first behind Val’s back with help from Moolah and get the win. Kat tears a good portion of Terri’s clothing off afterwards. Served it’s purpose, I guess. DUD – The Radicalz v. Too Cool & Chyna. Pre-match, Eddie promises to use his “Latino Heat” to charm Chyna, which may become the new catchphrase for this millennium. (Can I call ‘em or what?) He just plays an awesome sleazebag, and I mean that in the nicest way. (And he rode it all the way to the World title.)  Color coordination report for the Rads tonight: Purple and black. Eddie tags out quickly to escape Chyna, who is dressed like Disco Inferno. Grandmaster Sexay gets caught in the corner for a bit, then Scotty comes in and gets nailed with the springboard senton by Eddie. Eddie gets suplexed to the floor and Saturn & Malenko take a double Worm, but rebound to double-team Scotty. Eddie goes to the top but gets superplexed. Hotty tag to Chyna, who cleans house with a nice double handspring elbow sequence and double ballshot to Saturn and Malenko. Eddie tries a powerbomb but Chyna escapes and splits her disco pants. She manages a drop sleeper on Guerrero, whose boots she is not worthy to carry, and gets the pin. Match was okay, if disjointed. **1/2 – Euro-Continental title match: Kurt Angle v. Chris Jericho v. Chris Benoit. First fall for the I-C title: Benoit chops Jericho to start, then Jericho and Angle go. Jericho dropkicks both off the apron and Angle whips him into the stairs. Back in, Benoit & Jericho hammer each other and Jericho goes flying into the Spanish table. Benoit gets a pair of suplexes on Angle for two. Jericho takes out Angle, who comes back to suplex Benoit for two. Jericho camel clutches Benoit, then hits a hanging suplex on Angle that gets two for Benoit. Angle suplexes Jericho for two. Benoit blocks a sunset flip for two. Jericho gets caught with the cross-face chicken-wing by Angle, broken up by Benoit. Flying headbutt on Jericho gets the pin and the title for MY BOY! Whoo-hoo! Guess that’s the reward for carrying the Rock to one of his best matches. Second fall, for the Euro title: Angle takes out both, but Benoit superplexes Jericho and Angle misses a moonsault (!). Jericho covers for two, then locks on the Liontamer. Benoit breaks. Triple collision sequence leads to the double powerbomb by Jericho on Angle, which leads to the rolling german suplexes on Jericho, for two. Dragon suplex on Angle gets two for Benoit. Ref gets bumped, and Benoit hooks the crossface on Jericho, who escapes and hooks the Liontamer. Angle blasts him with the Euro title for two. Benoit suplexes Angle, but misses the headbutt, and Jericho hits the Lionsault for the pin and the European title. Angle is understandably pissed, having dropped both titles (cleanly, too) without losing a fall. Match was, of course, great, and I think we’re all just waiting for the Benoit v. Jericho wars to follow now. ****  (I find it interesting that Jericho didn’t like this match, because although the concept is bizarre and kind of hard-to-digest, I thought they made it work the best they could.)  Kane & Rikishi v. The Pot Puffers. (I’m referring to the D-X remnant team of X-Pac and Road Dogg, by the way) This is really just an excuse for a Pete Rose appearance. Everyone hits their signature spots on everyone else (Salad tosser, bronco buster, crazy-legs kneedrop) in short order before X-Pac takes a diamond cutter from Rikishi and a tombstone from Kane finishes quickly, hopefully ending this for good. *1/2 Too Cool and the San Diego Chicken come out to dance, as Kane glances at the chicken suspiciously. However, when Kane goes after the innocent mascot, the REAL deal, Pete Rose, attacks from behind with a baseball bat…and gets killed, as usual. Rikishi rubs his ass in his face for good measure. Well, there’s always next year. – WWF World title: HHH v. The Big Show v. The Rock v. Mick Foley. (Random fact:  Originally it was to be Chris Jericho representing Linda McMahon, but Vince wanted a bigger star and so Foley got drafted out of retirement.)  Big brawl to start. Mick v. HHH and Rock v. Show result. Show tosses HHH & Rock around the ring. Sideslam on Rock, chokeslam on HHH, but Mick nails him in the knee to stop the momentum. All three of the others gang up on the Show. Mick & HHH fight outside as Rocky finishes Big Show quickly with a Rock Bottom for the pin, to no one’s surprise. So we’re down to three. HHH tries reasoning with both men, but the Rock n Sock Connection attacks him. They brawl outside the ring. Rock nails Mick with the ringbell, showing what an idiot Foley is at times. Rock and HHH fight, but Mick finds the barbed-wire 2×4. HHH lowblows him and delivers his own shot with it. HHH tosses Rock, out, but Mick DDTs him and it’s the return of Socko! Rock blasts HHH with the WWF title, but Mick puts the Sock on Rock instead. HHH ballshots them both. Vince passes a chair into the ring as Mick clotheslines Rock for two. Double-arm DDT gets two to freak out the crowd. Rock comes back with a floatover DDT for two. HHH takes him down and Foley helps to beat on him. Foley kneelift gets two. HHH kneedrop gets two. They head outside and Mick tastes the STEEL stairs. HHH nails Rock with those stairs, then puts him on the Spanish table and sends Mick to the 2nd rope. He misses badly, nailing his arm on the table, so HHH improvises and puts Rock through the old-fashioned way: He jumps on him really hard. Back in, HHH turns on Mick and Pedigrees him for two. Chairshot and Pedigree on the chair gets the pin. Well, what the hell was the point of having Mick in there? We’re down to Rock v. HHH, at any rate. Mick comes back and blasts HHH with the 2×4, then leaves for real. It gets two for Rocky. They fight down the aisle, and back to ringside, where Rock charges with the stairs and gets nailed with a chair by HHH. Piledriver on the stairs follows. Ouch. Back in, it gets two. Rock fights back, but HHH escapes the Rock Bottom and tries the Pedigree. Rock backdrops HHH to the floor to escape. Back into the crowd, and then Rock spinebusters HHH on the floor. He suplexes him through the announce table for good measure. HHH hits a drop-toehold to the stairs, however, so Vince snaps and rams HHH into the ringpost. Shane then attacks Vince from behind, ramming a monitor into his head. Vince no-sells and beats on Shane back to the aisle, where Shane smokes Vince with a chairshot. Rock & HHH recover in the ring as Vince is carried off. Rock makes the comeback. DDT gets two. Tilt-a-whirl gets two. HHH comes back with a facebuster and 2×4 shot. Shane comes in and Rock catapults HHH into him to prevent interference. Vince returns and takes Shane out…then turns on the Rock! Chairshot gets two for HHH, and a second one GETS THE PIN?!? The crowd is PISSED. The McMahons reunite (with the exception of Linda), and Rocky makes somewhat good by Rock Bottoming both Vince and Shane, then doing it to Steph and delivering a People’s Elbow to her in addition. But this McMahon nonsense is getting WAY out of hand. I can’t argue with the logic of keeping HHH as the champion, however, even if it was pretty heartbreaking to see the heel actually walk out of Wrestlemania with the title this year. ***1/2 Post-Game highlights: Hardcore Holly calls Michael Cole the Little Goatee Wearing Bitch a shithead, Edge & Christian give a victory speech while still selling the injuries sustained, Mick regrets not being 23 years old when he tried that dive, Pete Rose explains that he’s a competitor, and there’s always next year, and Vince finishes by giving a non-sensical explanation for his turn, which probably boils down to “Watch RAW tomorrow”. The Bottom Line: Bizarre final match booking aside, this was an AWESOME show, featuring a *****, a **** and two ***1/2 matches, and just generally being entertaining for the entire 3 ½ hours. I *think* that they might hotshot the title onto the Rock on RAW, thus getting the biggest rating in history while unopposed. Or maybe another McMahon will win a title, who knows. Huge thumbs up here, at any rate, even if the ending left us all shell-shocked. The SmarK Retro Rant for Wrestlemania 2000 (XVI) – Okay, so we’re back again with a fresh re-rant after a week of reposts. Unless of you’re reading this for the big repost fest on 411 in the year 2024 for the Wrestlemania XL festivities. In which case, I can’t help you. – Live from Anaheim, CA. – Your hosts are JR & King. – This is one reason why the WWF was always better at certain things than WCW was – for instance, I don’t remember most of 1999-2000, so their constant video packages actually make it easy to remember the reasons for the midcard matches. – Opening match: Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan. I barely remember any of this period, with Godfather and D-Lo as twin pimps and Bossman training Bull as a prison guard or something. Ice T raps the black dudes down to the ring, to almost no reaction. Or record sales, judging by how badly “Aggression” bombed. D-Lo starts with Bull and slugs away, but Bull blocks a rollup and D-Lo dropkicks him. Back elbow and Godfather comes in with a slam and a double-team splash/legdrop from the pimps. He misses an elbow and Bossman comes in and pounds Godfather in the corner, getting a clothesline out of the corner, and a back kick for two. Bull comes in and goes with D-Lo, as Brown slugs away in the corner, but Bull hits him with the rebound clothesline that he would go on to screw up 150,000 times before getting fired in 2003. Bossman gets a cheapshot to turn the tide, and the prison guards get a double-sliding punch for two. Bossman gets a big boot and Bull follows with an axe kick for two. They switch off on D-Lo and work him over, and a double elbow gets two for Bossman. King starts talking about the “electric atmosphere” while the crowd sits on their hands for this crap. Bull goes to the bearhug, but D-Lo slugs out, so Bull & Bossman pound him down again. They slug it out and D-Lo goes for a crossbody, but Bossman gets a backbreaker for two. JR makes a reference to an “XFL fair catch”, and BOY you don’t hear those references anymore. Bull comes off the top with a double axehandle and keeps punching, but goes up and crotches himself with help from Godfather. D-Lo follows with a rana, which Bull seems unable to sell properly, and it’s hot tag Godfather. Backdrop and the heels collide, as Bossman misses a charge and Godfather hits him with the Ho Train. D-Lo goes up and gets shoved off by Bull, but he lands on his feet. Dropkick on Bossman, but he walks into the Bossman slam and Bull finishes with a legdrop for the pin at 9:04. INSANELY long and boring. * – Meanwhile, HHH and Stephanie admire their belts. Ah, for the days when Stephanie was Women’s champion and everyone else in the division was so bad that it was a blessing not to have someone who wrestled as champion. – Hardcore Battle Royale: This is a 15-minute match, and whoever is the Hardcore champion when it’s over…is, uh, the Hardcore champion. OK, that sounds stupid, but whatever. So we’ve got Tazz (he used to be a wrestler, you know), Viscera, Pete Gas, Rodney, Joey Abs, Hardcore Holly, Taka, Funaki, Mosh, Thrasher, Faarooq, Bradshaw and of course Crash Holly (RIP). As expected, it’s a big brawl to start, and Tazz hits Crash with a capture suplex for the pin at 0:25 to win the title. So Tazz is now the champion. Viscera rams him into the post and slams him for the title at 1:00. Now see, the psychology is all off here, as everyone should just gang up on the champion in a sane world. Viscera fights with the Mean Street Posse using the Japanese flag as a weapon, but they fight back as people start to catch on. The APA (back when Bradshaw had heterosexual hair) try beating on him, but he fires back with the deadly COOKIE SHEET OF PAIN. Dull segment as everyone stands around outside and hits each other with no rhyme or reason. Bradshaw goes CRAZY with the cookie sheet. Hopefully no one gives him a spatula. Holly gets two on Viscera after a street sign, and so does Mosh. JR notes that “all these young pups taking these head shots will never forget their first Wrestlemania”. Actually, Jim, they probably did, which is kind of the problem. More heads hit with more signs. Into the ring, Viscera lays everyone out with the cookie sheet, which seems to the weapon of choice, but he goes up and gets slammed off by the APA. Faarooq uses a 2×4 to set up a Bradshaw shoulderblock and Kaientai covers to make Funaki the champ at 7:13. Taka turns on him and chases him outside, and they head back to the dressing room, where Rodney pins him at 8:10 to win the title. Joey Abs turns on him and gets a gutwrench at 8:23 for the title. Thrasher sends him into the door for the title at 8:43. Viscera pounds on him with the cookie sheet, and Thrasher stumbles back to the ring, but gets hit by Pete Gas with a fire extinguisher for the title at 9:28. Tazz attacks him and sends him into the post, as he does a gory bladejob, and Tazz suplexes him on the floor to win the title at 10:15 for the second time in the same match. Hardcore Holly sends him into the stairs for two. They slug it out and it’s back to more weapons. Mosh gets two off a cookie sheet. In the ring, the Hollies double-team Tazz, but Crash turns on Hardcore, and Tazz lays him out with the cookie sheet. That gets two. Why even make a cover? JR & King ask the same question. The Hollies keep fighting over who gets to pin Tazz, but Tazz gets another suplex on Crash. Hardcore powerslams Tazz for one, and Crash gets two. Hardcore tosses Crash and gets the DROPKICK OF DEATH on Tazz for two. Tazz hits him with a northern lights suplex and Hardcore bails, and Crash gets another cookie sheet shot on Tazz for the pin at 14:19 to win the title. Tazz comes back with the Tazzmission to a huge pop, but Hardcore breaks it up with a jar of candy and gets two on Crash, but Fink announces Hardcore as the champion. In the grand scheme of things, no one gave a fuck. The time was supposed to have run out, but it didn’t, and Tim White had to pretend Crash kicked out at two, even though he didn’t. I must have been hitting the firewater to give this pile of horseshit *** upon first viewing, as 90% of it was meaningless fighting outside. ½*  (I figured that one would drop rapidly upon rewatching it.)  – Steve Blackman & Al Snow v. Test & Albert. Okay, quick word of explanation here. Blackman and Snow were Head Cheese, as Snow engaged in a quest to find a personality for Blackman. Test & Albert were Trish Stratus’ first stint in the WWF, which just shows how incredibly far she’s come as a character and a worker since her debut in 2000. For one thing, she’s no longer overly muscled and freakishly tanned. Nor does she wear 6 inch lifts in her boots. Test starts with Blackman, but gets superkicked. Snow comes in for a quick double-team and Snow slugs away, but Test clotheslines him and brings in Albert. Test gets the big boot. Snow comes in with an enzuigiri on Albert, but they beat on him in the corner. Albert gets double-teamed in the Head Cheese corner and they get a double-clothesline for two. Snow suplexes him for two. Blackman kicks him down for two as things get REALLY ugly and the match just falls apart. Snow & Blackman work Albert over, but he comes back with a butterfly suplex and makes what appears to be a hot tag for the heels, as Test comes in and cleans house on Head Cheese and gets a sideslam on Snow for two. I don’t get this at all. Double powerbomb on Snow, so devastating that Snow pulls up his tights in mid-sell, gets two. JR apologizes about 18 times for the match as Snow hits Albert with a quebrada outside, and Blackman pounds on Test to set up a Decapitation double-team on Test for two. Albert baldobombs Snow and dumps him, and presses Test onto Blackman for two. JR keeps burying the match as Blackman superkicks Albert, but Albert basically no-sells and Test finishes Blackman with a flying elbow at 6:59 to end the suffering. If this wasn’t in the running for Worst Match of the Year, it should have been. –**  (Poor Test, dude appeared at 3 Wrestlemanias and was involved in some of the biggest fiascos in each one.)  WWF tag title ladder match: The Dudley Boyz v. Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. (I find it interesting to this day how completely the tag team division was stripped down and rebuilt around this time.  The Outlaws and the various super-teams who were dominating for years suddenly disappeared, and these three completely took over for a long time.  Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy to do the same thing on top of the promotion.)  This used to be a FRESH matchup, for those who don’t remember those days. This was also the days when the Dudleyz were the hottest act in tag team wrestling and Bubba still had a southern accent. Edge & Christian were ZERO-time tag team champions at this point. Big brawl outside to start, and Matt starts in the ring with Christian, but gets dropkicked. Next up, D-Von and Edge, as Edge gets a leg lariat and they head out again. Finally, Bubba & Jeff, as Bubba chops him in the corner but gets hit with a corkscrew out of the corner. Bubba backdrops him and gets the Bubba Bomb, and they brawl out again. Back into the ring, as everyone fights it out in various combinations, and Matt tosses a ladder at Bubba, allowing Jeff to slam into it, and it’s the same situation on the other side of the ring with E&C v. D-Von. Matt slams D-Von onto the ladder and hits him with a yodeling elbow. Jeff DDTs Bubba and puts him on the ladder, but misses a 450 splash and splats on it. Wonder why Jeff stopped using that? Bubba retaliates with his senton off the middle ropes (one of the few times it actually hits), and then Edge rides a ladder down from the top, onto another one that’s on Matt. Everyone is out, so D-Von legdrops Edge beneath another ladder. Bubba does the Terry Funk spot with the ladder on his shoulders, but E&C double-dropkick it back at him. They flapjack D-Von into another ladder in the corner, and Christian climbs up a ladder by the apron, hitting Bubba & Matt with a dive to the floor. Jeff makes the first climb for the belts, but Edge spears Matt off the ladder. He climbs next, but Matt brings him down with a Fire Thunder Bomb and climbs himself. D-Von slams him off to break that up and climbs, but Christian tosses a ladder at him to stop it. Now Christian climbs, but Bubba sets up two more ladders and climbs one to chase, bringing him down with a Bubba Cutter off the ladder. The Hardyz swoop in and toss Christian, and then climb up two ladders and hit a splash/legdrop combo on Bubba from the top of them. Edge tosses Jeff, however, and E&C double-suplex D-Von off a pair of ladders. Everyone is out again. Now The Hardyz duel with E&C on the top of two ladders, and they bring each other down. So now the Dudleyz join the fray, and all six guys climb three ladders and fight it out, but Christian & Jeff get dumped over the top, while Edge & Matt get crotched on the top rope, leaving the Dudleyz all alone in the ring. Christian staggers in, so the Dudleyz sandwich him between two ladders and hit Edge with 3D. It’s time for D-Von to get the tables, but that catchphrase didn’t exist yet. So they set up two ladders and put a table on top of them as a makeshift scaffolding, but the Hardy Boyz bring them down again. They all brawl outside and Bubba powerbombs Matt through a table outside, as D-Von misses a splash and puts himself through a table in the ring. Jeff tries a railrunner on Bubba, but walks into a ladder. Bubba then finds an insanely high ladder and sets up a table next to it, but Christian hits him with the bell to put him on the table, and Jeff climbs the ladder and puts Bubba through the table with a swanton bomb to take both guys out of play. In the ring, D-Von suplexes Christian and climbs the structure, but Matt returns to pull him down and hits the Twist of Fate. Matt then climbs, along with Christian, and they slug it out up there until Edge follows them up and gets rid of Matt, and they grab the titles at 22:28, their first reign of seven. Time and perspective have shown that although the match was insanely influential, the rematch at Summerslam 2000 (Tables Ladders & Chairs) was the superior match, and this one had a slower pace and featured too much contrived setting up of the crazy spots. **** – Terri v. The Kat. I don’t even remember the backstory with this, but Terri has Moolah and Kat has Mae Young. Terri is wearing a bodystocking in lieu of tights, as is Kat. Well, at least they’re being honest about it. They fight it out on the mat to start, and special referee Val Venis breaks it up with a kiss. This incites jealousy and the dreaded hairtosses and they roll around a lot. Kat tosses Terri, but Mae Young was busy distracting Val and it continues. Unfortunately. Mae & Moolah get involved, and Terri gets tossed again, but Val is still distracted. Terri gets back in and Kat is out, so Val declares Terri the winner at 2:25. JR told us not to use the star rating system before it started, but I’ve never been good at following orders. –****  (These two actually made Kelly Kelly look like a nuanced worker.)  Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero & Perry Saturn v. Chyna & Too Cool. This was the start of Eddie’s “Latino Heat”, as he spent weeks hitting on Chyna, with no results until the night after Wrestlemania. Eddie starts with Scotty and grabs a headlock, but gets monkey-flipped. Scotty with a backbreaker and some moonwalking, and Chyna comes in, but Eddie hides behind Malenko. Dean comes in and gets clotheslined and Chyna slugs away, before Scotty gets a cheapshot from outside. Grandmaster Sexay comes in with a double-suplex with Chyna, and they get down, which is a truly scary sight. Sexay slams Dean, and Eddie comes back in, but walks into a backdrop suplex. Sexay goes up, but Saturn shoves him off. Saturn then stomps him down and the Radicalz work him over. Eddie gets a suplex, but puts his head down and Scotty 2 Hotty comes back in. He walks right into a hotshot, however, and Eddie keeps making eyes at Chyna. Backdrop suplex and slingshot senton, but he stops to knock Chyna off the apron and gets suplexed by Sexay to the floor as a result. It’s BONZO GONZO in the ring and Scotty puts Saturn in Worm position, and it’s a Double Worm on Saturn & Malenko, back when it was REALLY over. The Radicalz drag him out, however, and send him into the railing, while Chyna pounds on Eddie in the ring. This match is a mess. So back in the ring, it seems like they’ve finally got their shit together and Scotty is the face-in-peril, so Saturn superkicks him and goes up with a flying elbow. Eddie goes up and Scotty crotches him and brings him down with a superplex. Hot tag Chyna, and the Radicalz all have to bump like pinballs for her, as she hits Saturn & Dean with handspring elbows and stereo ballshots. Eddie lays her out, however, but she counters a powerbomb and gets one of her own. The dreaded IRON TESTICULAR CLAW sets up a press slam, and a drop sleeper finishes at 9:39. The stuff with Chyna was ridiculous, especially with a 150-pound woman supposedly able to dead-lift a 220 pound guy, and the match was almost totally lacking in flow. ** – Eurocontinental title match: Kurt Angle v. Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho. The first fall is for the IC title, and the second fall is for the European title. Angle has both titles at this point. The DVD has commentary from all three guys (at the expense of the bitrate), so I’ll listen to Jericho’s commentary for the first fall and Benoit’s for the second fall. I still don’t get why they don’t do more wrestler commentaries for big shows. Benoit shoves Angle into Jericho, but gets clotheslined by Jericho. They all slug it out in the corner, and Jericho elbows Angle down, but Benoit unleashes the chops and Jericho dropkicks him into the corner and out. Jericho dropkicks Angle, but Benoit trips him up on the springboard dropkick and goes after Angle on the apron, but Jericho recovers and dropkicks both of them. Good spot. Jericho is really easy-going and funny on commentary, by the way, riffing on Benoit the whole time and talking about the spots. Angle hotshots Jericho on the stairs and gets two off it back in. Benoit saves and clotheslines Angle for two. Jericho saves and chops Benoit again, as they slug it out in the corner, and then he goes after Angle with a backbreaker, but goes up and gets shoved off into the table by Benoit. Benoit suplexes Angle for two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Jericho comes back in with a dropkick to Benoit and goes up, getting a missile dropkick on Angle for two, but Benoit saves. Jericho talks a bit about how much he likes working with Benoit and how they came up together. Angle suplexes Benoit for two while Jericho talks about working WWF style and working stuff from Japan. Jericho bulldogs Angle for two and gets into another chopfest with Benoit, but Angle suplexes Benoit for two. Jericho saves. Angle takes a powder and Jericho puts Benoit in the camel clutch, then releases to suplex Angle, but Benoit steals a near-fall. Angle slugs away on Jericho, but charges and hits boot, then recovers with a double underhook suplex for two. Benoit gets whipped into Jericho, but Jericho goes for a sunset flip, which Benoit blocks for two. Jericho tries another powerbomb, but Angle reverses to the crossface chickenwing, which he used briefly before discovering the anklelock. Benoit saves. He tosses Angle into the crowd and goes up with the diving headbutt to win the IC title at 7:55. Benoit then tries an immediate cover on Jericho again and gets two, as the European title match begins. Angle suplexes Benoit for two. I switch to Benoit’s commentary now. Angle goes up and gets crotched and Jericho follows, but Benoit crotches HIM and it’s a backdrop superplex, but both are out and Angle follows with a moonsault, which misses. Benoit is talking about the match more in kayfabe than the more-open Jericho. Hey, let’s try Angle. They all get a two-count as Angle admits that he knocked his own wind out of himself on the missed moonsault. Jericho tries the Walls on Angle, but Benoit saves, so Angle slugs away on him and slams him, then goes back to Jericho. Angle’s self-centered commentary is hilarious. Jericho comes back with a leg lariat, hitting Benoit, and then powerbombing Angle for one. Benoit saves with the rolling germans on Jericho for two. Dragon Suplex on Angle gets two. Angle complains that his shoulders weren’t even down. The ref is bumped and Benoit takes Jericho down with the crossface, but releases and gets caught in the Walls. Angle breaks the Walls down with a beltshot and pins Jericho, but only gets two. Benoit & Angle slug it out and Benoit gets a backdrop suplex, but misses the diving headbutt, allowing Jericho to Lionsault him for the pin and the Euro title at 13:46. This match was WAAAAAY ahead of its time, and it’s still a really cool technical exhibition, although Angle’s offense was much weaker in 2000 and the ex-WCW guys were shackled by the then-current WWF style. ***1/2 – Road Dogg & X-Pac v. Rikishi & Kane. (They should actually bring in Sean Waltman to help out Road Dogg on the Are You Serious? show, because it seems like the kind of thing he could pull off pretty easily.)  D-X double-team Rikishi to start, but X-Pac goes after Kane outside and they brawl, and Rikishi gets a quick Stinkface on Road Dogg. Tori (not Torrie) tries to hide from Kane in the ring, but gets caught by Rikishi, and D-X save her from potential ass-eating action. D-X takes a walk, but Kane grabs X-Pac and they all head back to the ring. X-Pac kicks Rikishi down in the corner to set up a broncobuster and Road Dogg comes in to slug away, but Rikishi no-sells the punches. Kneedrop gets two. X-Pac comes in and pounds him with kicks, which Rikishi no-sells, and it’s a Bubba Cutter to set up the tag to Kane. Was that the hot tag? He destroys both D-X guys and backdrops X-Pac, then Paul Bearer brings Tori into the ring for a Stinkface from Rikishi. Tombstone kills X-Pac dead at 4:14. Basically a squash to give Kane revenge for being dumped by Tori. ¾* This all sets up Too Cool and the San Diego chicken coming in for dancing, but Kane doesn’t trust the Chicken. However, the real Pete Rose tries to attack from behind, and gets chokeslammed for his troubles. And then Stinkfaced. I think he earned his spot in the WWE Hall of Fame with this appearance. – WWF title match: Stephanie McMahon v. Vince McMahon v. Shane McMahon v. Linda McMahon. Oh, wait, sorry, that’s just what the ads made it seem like. – WWF title match: HHH v. The Rock v. Big Show v. Mick Foley. This was Mick’s second retirement match, although to his credit he managed to stay retired for another four years after this one. HHH starts with Foley and Show starts with Rock, and they all slug it out, and HHH loses his battle with Mick. Knee in the corner from Foley, but Show clotheslines both of them and knocks Rock down with a forearm. He hiptosses HHH and presses Rock, then hits HHH with more of the same. Notice HHH bumping all over for people. SELLING. Show chokes Rock out in the corner, but Foley jumps on his back, so Show falls back on him. Sideslam for Rock and chokeslam for HHH, but Foley breaks it up with a kick in the shin. So all three guys go after Show and knock him down with clotheslines, then team up to bootfuck him. That alliance doesn’t last, as Mick turns on HHH and hits him with a Cactus clothesline, leaving Rock to slug away on Show in the ring. Show comes back with a big boot as Foley chairs HHH. Mick chairs Show and Rock gets the Rock Bottom to eliminate him at 4:48. So it’s a three-way now, as the Rock N Sock Connection decide to go after HHH while HHH tries to convince each one to turn on the other. It doesn’t work, and it’s beatdown time. They pinball HHH with punches and Foley tosses him, and the beating continues on the floor. Foley whips HHH into a Rock clothesline and Mick grabs the bell, but Rock hits Mick with it by accident. HHH whips Rock into the post to take over and drops him on the railing, but Foley finds his trusty barbed-wire 2×4, so HHH goes low to counter. He beats on Foley with it, but Rock saves. This whole segment is actually really bad. HHH tosses Rock but gets DDT’d by Mick, and it’s Mr. Socko time. Rock lays HHH out with the belt for good measure to set up the People’s Elbow, but Mick opts to go for the Mandible Sock on Rock. HHH breaks that up with a low blow and everyone is out. Vince leaves a chair for Rock, who hits HHH with a clothesline, but Mick clotheslines Rock in turn and gets two. Mick slugs away in the corner and DDTs Rock for two. Rock gets his own for two. Pace is too slow, with too much laying around in between spots. Mick calls for an alliance with HHH to get rid of Rock, and they work him over, as Mick gets a kneelift for two. Double suplex into a HHH kneedrop gets two. Rock gets dumped by Foley, but comes back to whip Mick into the stairs. Mick grabs the stairs and hits Rock with them, visibly winded. HHH & Rock set up on the Spanish announce table and Mick goes up, but misses by a foot and knocks himself out on the table. That was just sad to see. HHH tries to cover by dropping elbows on Rock until the table breaks, but it just looked silly. One poor idiot in the crowd tries to start a “Holy shit” chant. Yeah. In the ring, 2 does of KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finish Foley at 19:40. Mick was totally gassed and obviously done at that point anyway. (I feel like, with the benefit of hindsight, had they wanted Mick to hang around until this show they should have had him win the title at No Way Out with his career on the line.  Then he could have goaded HHH into putting his own career as collateral for a final deciding title match here, where HHH gets the belt and retires Mick in one shot at the biggest stage possible.  And Rock can get his revenge on Big Show in a singles match, or team with Vince against Shane & Show, and you get your Vince turn there.)  So we’re down to HHH v. Rock, which is what they should have booked in the FIRST PLACE. As Mick said later, this was a really sad way for Mick to exit the WWF as a wrestler. He does, however, stop to lay HHH out with the barbed wire before leaving. Rock gets two off that. They slug it out, won by Rock, and HHH gets dumped with a clothesline. Brawl outside and Rock suplexes him on the floor. They head back to ringside, as Rock backdrops him into the ringside area, but HHH uses a chair to counter Rock’s stairs. HHH follows with a piledriver on the stairs and they head back in, where HHH gets two. Rock fights back and backdrops HHH over the top to block a Pedigree, and they fight into the crowd to waste some time. Rock comes back with a spinebuster on the floor, and both guys are out. They head over to the tables and HHH gets suplexed on the surviving one, but comes back to send Rock into the stairs. Vince attacks HHH, however, ramming him into the post and sending him into the ring, but that draws Shane out to attack his father in turn. The match is just dying at this point. Vince no-sells a shot with a monitor like he’s the Undertaker or something, and chases Shane back to the aisle, but falls victim to a chairshot. Meanwhile, there’s a wrestling match going on (in case you forgot) as Rock makes the comeback and DDTs HHH for two. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. HHH comes back with a facecrusher and hits Rock with a weak barbed wire shot, but Rock catapults HHH into Shane. Rock Bottom, but Vince makes a miraculous return as this gets more and more overbooked, but then turns on Rock with a chairshot, and HHH gets two. Another chairshot finishes for HHH at 36:25. Bad match, WAY wrong finish (especially for Wrestlemania), bad finish to begin with, major boredom throughout, and an end to the show that only succeeded in pissing off the crowd. **1/2 The Bottom Line: This was a MAJOR LEAGUE misfire during a very hot period for the WWF, as this was a two-match show and the main event was a huge disappointment. It was also the first time a heel walked out of Wrestlemania with the title, but not the last, as they did the exact same thing the next year and nearly drove themselves into the ground as a result. I can’t recommend it for the show, but the two good matches are good enough, and the bonus disc of the DVD set is excellent, covering about 3 hours of the “Wrestlemania All Day” special that preceded the PPV broadcast (minus the fluff with Ivory) with interviews and history of Wrestlemania, plus memorable matches from the first 15 of them. The show is a recommendation to avoid, the DVD is mildly recommended.

Wrestlemania Countdown: 16 (2000)

The Netcop Rant for Wrestlemania 2000 – Brought to you by refreshing, chilled orange soda! Don’t worry, it’s just an inside joke… – Note on the pre-game show: Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan. Rahim and I were the only two out of the group to be true wrestling geeks and endure the entire 8 hour pre-game show (with all 6 outfits worn by Ivory), although I gave up on my pledge to recap the whole thing once the tension headache set in around Wrestlemania V, and it lasted until Wrestlemania XII when the Tylenol kicked in. That’s just too damn much wrestling for any one person. As a general note on the show, the editing choices were kind of weird, as were the match selections and clipping, and we counted about 17 different kinds of special effects used by the graphics people, with all sorts of letterboxing, color tinting, fades, dissolves and every other neato trick learned in film school. Owen v. Bret was shown almost in it’s entirety, but Steamboat v. Savage was clipped to three minutes? Still, a very interesting and LONG look back at all the Wrestlemanias.  (Wonder why they never released the entire thing on DVD?  They’ll release any other stupid thing they can fill 8 hours of space with now, it seems.)  – As a note, the picks for the main event going in were running 6-1 for Mick Foley, with my vote for the Rock being the sole exception. – Live from Anaheim, California. – Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. – Opening match: The Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan. Ice-T raps Team Pimp down to the ring. Godfather and D-Lo control with some standard stuff. Bull rebounds out of the corner with a flying lariat to make D-Lo the Pimp in Peril. Scissor kick gets two. D-Lo fights back with a top rope rana. Hot tag to Godfather, who hits the corner splash on Bossman. D-Lo goes up to finish but gets knocked off and Bossman-slammed. Bull legdrops him off the top to finish. Bull looked good, the rest was lacklustre. *1/2 – Hardcore battle royale: Tazz, Kaientai, Hardcore Holly, Mean Street Posse, the Headbangers, Viscera & The Acolytes v. Crash Holly. Every pinfall in the 15-minute time limit results in a title change. Last person to be the Hardcore champion wins. (Kind of a redonkulous stipulation if you think about it, as the entire point of the title was that you could win it outside of the confines of the match.)  Tazz suplexes Crash to win the title 30 seconds in. Viscera splashes Tazz on the floor to win it. Crash is busted open as the Acolytes go after Viscera. Lots of nasty weapons shots from Bradshaw leave everyone laying. Viscera escapes from both Hardcore & Mosh to retain for 5 minutes, which sets the record for the match. Pete Gas absolutely taps an artery and bleeds all over his sweater vest. Acolytes slam Viscera off the top, then put Funaki on top to give HIM the title. See, they don’t even care about the title, they just want to hurt people. Funaki runs like the wind to back and everyone follows. Rodney catches him first and gets a title reign. Joey Abs clobbers him and wins it. Thrasher rams him into a steel door and pins him to win the title. Everyone beats the shit out of him and we head back up the aisle. Pete Gas sprays Thrasher with a fire extinguisher, then nails him with it and gets his second title. Back to the ring as Tazz suplexes Pete and gets HIS second title. Three minutes left, the Hollies double-team Tazz in the ring and get several two-counts. They keep stopping each other. Crash gets the pin with 30 seconds left, but Tazz slaps on the Tazzmission as time winds down. With 7 seconds left, Hardcore smashes a jar of candy over both their heads and pins Crash to win the Hardcore title for good. That was quite the entertaining little crapfest, I gotta admit. ***1/2 The ending seemed blown, as Tim White was apparently supposed to have time run out before counting the pin. Oh well, I predicted Hardcore would take it pre-show, so I’m happy. – Head Cheese v. T & A. (So much fail here.)  Al Snow introduces us to their new mascot: Chester McCheeserton. He’s a pygmie dressed as a wedge of cheese, you see. As captivating as it sounds. This match is a total waste, with everyone wandering around the ring randomly for a few minutes and blowing EVERYTHING. Stage fright, I guess. Crowd is dead. Snow & Blackman get the legdrop finisher (the Cheese Grater?) but Test drops the big elbow on Blackman for the pin. JR found about 7 different diplomatic ways to say that this sucked. No shit, everyone was saying that BEFORE the show. DUD – WWF World tag title match: The Dudley Boyz v. Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. There’s three ladders to start, with more to come presumably. ON WITH THE SPOTS! Three-way brawl to start. Buh Buh nails Jeff with a backdrop and full-nelson drop. Ladder comes into the ring and Buh Buh gets splatted with it. Matt elbowdrops D-Von on a ladder. Jeff misses a 450 on a ladder and looks to kill his leg. Buh Buh sentons him under a ladder. He then does the Terry Funk spinning ladder bit to knock everyone down. He gets dropkicked, however, and the Blondes pancake D-Von onto the ladder. Christian puts the ladder near the apron and dives off it onto Buh Buh and Matt, drawing the first “Holy Shit” chant of the night. Jeff climbs for the belts, but Edge spears him off it from the second rope. Edge goes up and gets powerbombed off by Matt. D-Von slams Matt off. Christian knocks D-Von off with a ladder. Three ladders get set up, and Buh Buh hits his half of 3D off the top on Christian. Another “Holy Shit” chant for that. Hardyz go up one ladder each and hit Rolling thunder off them. Jeff takes a crazy bump to the floor, then, and back in the ring the Blondes double-suplex D-Von off the top of the ladder. Hardyz and Blondes each go up and knock each other off. Crowd chants for tables. All six climb ladders, and Christian & Jeff go flying to the floor in a suicidal bump, while Edge & Matt get crotched on the top rope. The leaves the Dudleys alone. Christian crawls back in and gets smashed. Edge gets 3D. Tables are introduced to a HUGE pop. Dudleys put a table on top of two ladders, making a scaffold of sorts. Oh man, that’s kinda insane. Much like the rest of this match. Two more are set up below in the ring. Buh Buh takes Matt outside and powerbombs him through a table as D-Von misses a dive and goes through one in the ring. Jeff’s rail run is blocked with a VICIOUS ladder shot to the face. Holy shit! Buh Buh finds a HUGE twenty-foot ladder down the aisle and sets it up, plus a table, but gets nailed with the ringbell and put on the table by Jeff, who proceeds to deliver the SENTON BOMB FROM THE LADDER, THROUGH THE TABLE! Buh Buh is dead. Back in, D-Von gets taken out by Matt and Christian, who proceed to climb onto the scaffold. Edge joins them, knocks Matt off, and Edge & Christian grab the titles to become the new WWF tag team champions. I need a vacation after just WATCHING that. ***** I’m starting to fear for Jeff Hardy’s life, however. – The Kat v. Terri. Throwaway junk here, as Val Venis is the special referee and both women are wearing body stockings. Various shenanigans allow Terri to toss the Kat out first behind Val’s back with help from Moolah and get the win. Kat tears a good portion of Terri’s clothing off afterwards. Served it’s purpose, I guess. DUD – The Radicalz v. Too Cool & Chyna. Pre-match, Eddie promises to use his “Latino Heat” to charm Chyna, which may become the new catchphrase for this millennium. (Can I call ‘em or what?) He just plays an awesome sleazebag, and I mean that in the nicest way. (And he rode it all the way to the World title.)  Color coordination report for the Rads tonight: Purple and black. Eddie tags out quickly to escape Chyna, who is dressed like Disco Inferno. Grandmaster Sexay gets caught in the corner for a bit, then Scotty comes in and gets nailed with the springboard senton by Eddie. Eddie gets suplexed to the floor and Saturn & Malenko take a double Worm, but rebound to double-team Scotty. Eddie goes to the top but gets superplexed. Hotty tag to Chyna, who cleans house with a nice double handspring elbow sequence and double ballshot to Saturn and Malenko. Eddie tries a powerbomb but Chyna escapes and splits her disco pants. She manages a drop sleeper on Guerrero, whose boots she is not worthy to carry, and gets the pin. Match was okay, if disjointed. **1/2 – Euro-Continental title match: Kurt Angle v. Chris Jericho v. Chris Benoit. First fall for the I-C title: Benoit chops Jericho to start, then Jericho and Angle go. Jericho dropkicks both off the apron and Angle whips him into the stairs. Back in, Benoit & Jericho hammer each other and Jericho goes flying into the Spanish table. Benoit gets a pair of suplexes on Angle for two. Jericho takes out Angle, who comes back to suplex Benoit for two. Jericho camel clutches Benoit, then hits a hanging suplex on Angle that gets two for Benoit. Angle suplexes Jericho for two. Benoit blocks a sunset flip for two. Jericho gets caught with the cross-face chicken-wing by Angle, broken up by Benoit. Flying headbutt on Jericho gets the pin and the title for MY BOY! Whoo-hoo! Guess that’s the reward for carrying the Rock to one of his best matches. Second fall, for the Euro title: Angle takes out both, but Benoit superplexes Jericho and Angle misses a moonsault (!). Jericho covers for two, then locks on the Liontamer. Benoit breaks. Triple collision sequence leads to the double powerbomb by Jericho on Angle, which leads to the rolling german suplexes on Jericho, for two. Dragon suplex on Angle gets two for Benoit. Ref gets bumped, and Benoit hooks the crossface on Jericho, who escapes and hooks the Liontamer. Angle blasts him with the Euro title for two. Benoit suplexes Angle, but misses the headbutt, and Jericho hits the Lionsault for the pin and the European title. Angle is understandably pissed, having dropped both titles (cleanly, too) without losing a fall. Match was, of course, great, and I think we’re all just waiting for the Benoit v. Jericho wars to follow now. ****  (I find it interesting that Jericho didn’t like this match, because although the concept is bizarre and kind of hard-to-digest, I thought they made it work the best they could.)  Kane & Rikishi v. The Pot Puffers. (I’m referring to the D-X remnant team of X-Pac and Road Dogg, by the way) This is really just an excuse for a Pete Rose appearance. Everyone hits their signature spots on everyone else (Salad tosser, bronco buster, crazy-legs kneedrop) in short order before X-Pac takes a diamond cutter from Rikishi and a tombstone from Kane finishes quickly, hopefully ending this for good. *1/2 Too Cool and the San Diego Chicken come out to dance, as Kane glances at the chicken suspiciously. However, when Kane goes after the innocent mascot, the REAL deal, Pete Rose, attacks from behind with a baseball bat…and gets killed, as usual. Rikishi rubs his ass in his face for good measure. Well, there’s always next year. – WWF World title: HHH v. The Big Show v. The Rock v. Mick Foley. (Random fact:  Originally it was to be Chris Jericho representing Linda McMahon, but Vince wanted a bigger star and so Foley got drafted out of retirement.)  Big brawl to start. Mick v. HHH and Rock v. Show result. Show tosses HHH & Rock around the ring. Sideslam on Rock, chokeslam on HHH, but Mick nails him in the knee to stop the momentum. All three of the others gang up on the Show. Mick & HHH fight outside as Rocky finishes Big Show quickly with a Rock Bottom for the pin, to no one’s surprise. So we’re down to three. HHH tries reasoning with both men, but the Rock n Sock Connection attacks him. They brawl outside the ring. Rock nails Mick with the ringbell, showing what an idiot Foley is at times. Rock and HHH fight, but Mick finds the barbed-wire 2×4. HHH lowblows him and delivers his own shot with it. HHH tosses Rock, out, but Mick DDTs him and it’s the return of Socko! Rock blasts HHH with the WWF title, but Mick puts the Sock on Rock instead. HHH ballshots them both. Vince passes a chair into the ring as Mick clotheslines Rock for two. Double-arm DDT gets two to freak out the crowd. Rock comes back with a floatover DDT for two. HHH takes him down and Foley helps to beat on him. Foley kneelift gets two. HHH kneedrop gets two. They head outside and Mick tastes the STEEL stairs. HHH nails Rock with those stairs, then puts him on the Spanish table and sends Mick to the 2nd rope. He misses badly, nailing his arm on the table, so HHH improvises and puts Rock through the old-fashioned way: He jumps on him really hard. Back in, HHH turns on Mick and Pedigrees him for two. Chairshot and Pedigree on the chair gets the pin. Well, what the hell was the point of having Mick in there? We’re down to Rock v. HHH, at any rate. Mick comes back and blasts HHH with the 2×4, then leaves for real. It gets two for Rocky. They fight down the aisle, and back to ringside, where Rock charges with the stairs and gets nailed with a chair by HHH. Piledriver on the stairs follows. Ouch. Back in, it gets two. Rock fights back, but HHH escapes the Rock Bottom and tries the Pedigree. Rock backdrops HHH to the floor to escape. Back into the crowd, and then Rock spinebusters HHH on the floor. He suplexes him through the announce table for good measure. HHH hits a drop-toehold to the stairs, however, so Vince snaps and rams HHH into the ringpost. Shane then attacks Vince from behind, ramming a monitor into his head. Vince no-sells and beats on Shane back to the aisle, where Shane smokes Vince with a chairshot. Rock & HHH recover in the ring as Vince is carried off. Rock makes the comeback. DDT gets two. Tilt-a-whirl gets two. HHH comes back with a facebuster and 2×4 shot. Shane comes in and Rock catapults HHH into him to prevent interference. Vince returns and takes Shane out…then turns on the Rock! Chairshot gets two for HHH, and a second one GETS THE PIN?!? The crowd is PISSED. The McMahons reunite (with the exception of Linda), and Rocky makes somewhat good by Rock Bottoming both Vince and Shane, then doing it to Steph and delivering a People’s Elbow to her in addition. But this McMahon nonsense is getting WAY out of hand. I can’t argue with the logic of keeping HHH as the champion, however, even if it was pretty heartbreaking to see the heel actually walk out of Wrestlemania with the title this year. ***1/2 Post-Game highlights: Hardcore Holly calls Michael Cole the Little Goatee Wearing Bitch a shithead, Edge & Christian give a victory speech while still selling the injuries sustained, Mick regrets not being 23 years old when he tried that dive, Pete Rose explains that he’s a competitor, and there’s always next year, and Vince finishes by giving a non-sensical explanation for his turn, which probably boils down to “Watch RAW tomorrow”. The Bottom Line: Bizarre final match booking aside, this was an AWESOME show, featuring a *****, a **** and two ***1/2 matches, and just generally being entertaining for the entire 3 ½ hours. I *think* that they might hotshot the title onto the Rock on RAW, thus getting the biggest rating in history while unopposed. Or maybe another McMahon will win a title, who knows. Huge thumbs up here, at any rate, even if the ending left us all shell-shocked. The SmarK Retro Rant for Wrestlemania 2000 (XVI) – Okay, so we’re back again with a fresh re-rant after a week of reposts. Unless of you’re reading this for the big repost fest on 411 in the year 2024 for the Wrestlemania XL festivities. In which case, I can’t help you. – Live from Anaheim, CA. – Your hosts are JR & King. – This is one reason why the WWF was always better at certain things than WCW was – for instance, I don’t remember most of 1999-2000, so their constant video packages actually make it easy to remember the reasons for the midcard matches. – Opening match: Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan. I barely remember any of this period, with Godfather and D-Lo as twin pimps and Bossman training Bull as a prison guard or something. Ice T raps the black dudes down to the ring, to almost no reaction. Or record sales, judging by how badly “Aggression” bombed. D-Lo starts with Bull and slugs away, but Bull blocks a rollup and D-Lo dropkicks him. Back elbow and Godfather comes in with a slam and a double-team splash/legdrop from the pimps. He misses an elbow and Bossman comes in and pounds Godfather in the corner, getting a clothesline out of the corner, and a back kick for two. Bull comes in and goes with D-Lo, as Brown slugs away in the corner, but Bull hits him with the rebound clothesline that he would go on to screw up 150,000 times before getting fired in 2003. Bossman gets a cheapshot to turn the tide, and the prison guards get a double-sliding punch for two. Bossman gets a big boot and Bull follows with an axe kick for two. They switch off on D-Lo and work him over, and a double elbow gets two for Bossman. King starts talking about the “electric atmosphere” while the crowd sits on their hands for this crap. Bull goes to the bearhug, but D-Lo slugs out, so Bull & Bossman pound him down again. They slug it out and D-Lo goes for a crossbody, but Bossman gets a backbreaker for two. JR makes a reference to an “XFL fair catch”, and BOY you don’t hear those references anymore. Bull comes off the top with a double axehandle and keeps punching, but goes up and crotches himself with help from Godfather. D-Lo follows with a rana, which Bull seems unable to sell properly, and it’s hot tag Godfather. Backdrop and the heels collide, as Bossman misses a charge and Godfather hits him with the Ho Train. D-Lo goes up and gets shoved off by Bull, but he lands on his feet. Dropkick on Bossman, but he walks into the Bossman slam and Bull finishes with a legdrop for the pin at 9:04. INSANELY long and boring. * – Meanwhile, HHH and Stephanie admire their belts. Ah, for the days when Stephanie was Women’s champion and everyone else in the division was so bad that it was a blessing not to have someone who wrestled as champion. – Hardcore Battle Royale: This is a 15-minute match, and whoever is the Hardcore champion when it’s over…is, uh, the Hardcore champion. OK, that sounds stupid, but whatever. So we’ve got Tazz (he used to be a wrestler, you know), Viscera, Pete Gas, Rodney, Joey Abs, Hardcore Holly, Taka, Funaki, Mosh, Thrasher, Faarooq, Bradshaw and of course Crash Holly (RIP). As expected, it’s a big brawl to start, and Tazz hits Crash with a capture suplex for the pin at 0:25 to win the title. So Tazz is now the champion. Viscera rams him into the post and slams him for the title at 1:00. Now see, the psychology is all off here, as everyone should just gang up on the champion in a sane world. Viscera fights with the Mean Street Posse using the Japanese flag as a weapon, but they fight back as people start to catch on. The APA (back when Bradshaw had heterosexual hair) try beating on him, but he fires back with the deadly COOKIE SHEET OF PAIN. Dull segment as everyone stands around outside and hits each other with no rhyme or reason. Bradshaw goes CRAZY with the cookie sheet. Hopefully no one gives him a spatula. Holly gets two on Viscera after a street sign, and so does Mosh. JR notes that “all these young pups taking these head shots will never forget their first Wrestlemania”. Actually, Jim, they probably did, which is kind of the problem. More heads hit with more signs. Into the ring, Viscera lays everyone out with the cookie sheet, which seems to the weapon of choice, but he goes up and gets slammed off by the APA. Faarooq uses a 2×4 to set up a Bradshaw shoulderblock and Kaientai covers to make Funaki the champ at 7:13. Taka turns on him and chases him outside, and they head back to the dressing room, where Rodney pins him at 8:10 to win the title. Joey Abs turns on him and gets a gutwrench at 8:23 for the title. Thrasher sends him into the door for the title at 8:43. Viscera pounds on him with the cookie sheet, and Thrasher stumbles back to the ring, but gets hit by Pete Gas with a fire extinguisher for the title at 9:28. Tazz attacks him and sends him into the post, as he does a gory bladejob, and Tazz suplexes him on the floor to win the title at 10:15 for the second time in the same match. Hardcore Holly sends him into the stairs for two. They slug it out and it’s back to more weapons. Mosh gets two off a cookie sheet. In the ring, the Hollies double-team Tazz, but Crash turns on Hardcore, and Tazz lays him out with the cookie sheet. That gets two. Why even make a cover? JR & King ask the same question. The Hollies keep fighting over who gets to pin Tazz, but Tazz gets another suplex on Crash. Hardcore powerslams Tazz for one, and Crash gets two. Hardcore tosses Crash and gets the DROPKICK OF DEATH on Tazz for two. Tazz hits him with a northern lights suplex and Hardcore bails, and Crash gets another cookie sheet shot on Tazz for the pin at 14:19 to win the title. Tazz comes back with the Tazzmission to a huge pop, but Hardcore breaks it up with a jar of candy and gets two on Crash, but Fink announces Hardcore as the champion. In the grand scheme of things, no one gave a fuck. The time was supposed to have run out, but it didn’t, and Tim White had to pretend Crash kicked out at two, even though he didn’t. I must have been hitting the firewater to give this pile of horseshit *** upon first viewing, as 90% of it was meaningless fighting outside. ½*  (I figured that one would drop rapidly upon rewatching it.)  – Steve Blackman & Al Snow v. Test & Albert. Okay, quick word of explanation here. Blackman and Snow were Head Cheese, as Snow engaged in a quest to find a personality for Blackman. Test & Albert were Trish Stratus’ first stint in the WWF, which just shows how incredibly far she’s come as a character and a worker since her debut in 2000. For one thing, she’s no longer overly muscled and freakishly tanned. Nor does she wear 6 inch lifts in her boots. Test starts with Blackman, but gets superkicked. Snow comes in for a quick double-team and Snow slugs away, but Test clotheslines him and brings in Albert. Test gets the big boot. Snow comes in with an enzuigiri on Albert, but they beat on him in the corner. Albert gets double-teamed in the Head Cheese corner and they get a double-clothesline for two. Snow suplexes him for two. Blackman kicks him down for two as things get REALLY ugly and the match just falls apart. Snow & Blackman work Albert over, but he comes back with a butterfly suplex and makes what appears to be a hot tag for the heels, as Test comes in and cleans house on Head Cheese and gets a sideslam on Snow for two. I don’t get this at all. Double powerbomb on Snow, so devastating that Snow pulls up his tights in mid-sell, gets two. JR apologizes about 18 times for the match as Snow hits Albert with a quebrada outside, and Blackman pounds on Test to set up a Decapitation double-team on Test for two. Albert baldobombs Snow and dumps him, and presses Test onto Blackman for two. JR keeps burying the match as Blackman superkicks Albert, but Albert basically no-sells and Test finishes Blackman with a flying elbow at 6:59 to end the suffering. If this wasn’t in the running for Worst Match of the Year, it should have been. –**  (Poor Test, dude appeared at 3 Wrestlemanias and was involved in some of the biggest fiascos in each one.)  WWF tag title ladder match: The Dudley Boyz v. Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. (I find it interesting to this day how completely the tag team division was stripped down and rebuilt around this time.  The Outlaws and the various super-teams who were dominating for years suddenly disappeared, and these three completely took over for a long time.  Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy to do the same thing on top of the promotion.)  This used to be a FRESH matchup, for those who don’t remember those days. This was also the days when the Dudleyz were the hottest act in tag team wrestling and Bubba still had a southern accent. Edge & Christian were ZERO-time tag team champions at this point. Big brawl outside to start, and Matt starts in the ring with Christian, but gets dropkicked. Next up, D-Von and Edge, as Edge gets a leg lariat and they head out again. Finally, Bubba & Jeff, as Bubba chops him in the corner but gets hit with a corkscrew out of the corner. Bubba backdrops him and gets the Bubba Bomb, and they brawl out again. Back into the ring, as everyone fights it out in various combinations, and Matt tosses a ladder at Bubba, allowing Jeff to slam into it, and it’s the same situation on the other side of the ring with E&C v. D-Von. Matt slams D-Von onto the ladder and hits him with a yodeling elbow. Jeff DDTs Bubba and puts him on the ladder, but misses a 450 splash and splats on it. Wonder why Jeff stopped using that? Bubba retaliates with his senton off the middle ropes (one of the few times it actually hits), and then Edge rides a ladder down from the top, onto another one that’s on Matt. Everyone is out, so D-Von legdrops Edge beneath another ladder. Bubba does the Terry Funk spot with the ladder on his shoulders, but E&C double-dropkick it back at him. They flapjack D-Von into another ladder in the corner, and Christian climbs up a ladder by the apron, hitting Bubba & Matt with a dive to the floor. Jeff makes the first climb for the belts, but Edge spears Matt off the ladder. He climbs next, but Matt brings him down with a Fire Thunder Bomb and climbs himself. D-Von slams him off to break that up and climbs, but Christian tosses a ladder at him to stop it. Now Christian climbs, but Bubba sets up two more ladders and climbs one to chase, bringing him down with a Bubba Cutter off the ladder. The Hardyz swoop in and toss Christian, and then climb up two ladders and hit a splash/legdrop combo on Bubba from the top of them. Edge tosses Jeff, however, and E&C double-suplex D-Von off a pair of ladders. Everyone is out again. Now The Hardyz duel with E&C on the top of two ladders, and they bring each other down. So now the Dudleyz join the fray, and all six guys climb three ladders and fight it out, but Christian & Jeff get dumped over the top, while Edge & Matt get crotched on the top rope, leaving the Dudleyz all alone in the ring. Christian staggers in, so the Dudleyz sandwich him between two ladders and hit Edge with 3D. It’s time for D-Von to get the tables, but that catchphrase didn’t exist yet. So they set up two ladders and put a table on top of them as a makeshift scaffolding, but the Hardy Boyz bring them down again. They all brawl outside and Bubba powerbombs Matt through a table outside, as D-Von misses a splash and puts himself through a table in the ring. Jeff tries a railrunner on Bubba, but walks into a ladder. Bubba then finds an insanely high ladder and sets up a table next to it, but Christian hits him with the bell to put him on the table, and Jeff climbs the ladder and puts Bubba through the table with a swanton bomb to take both guys out of play. In the ring, D-Von suplexes Christian and climbs the structure, but Matt returns to pull him down and hits the Twist of Fate. Matt then climbs, along with Christian, and they slug it out up there until Edge follows them up and gets rid of Matt, and they grab the titles at 22:28, their first reign of seven. Time and perspective have shown that although the match was insanely influential, the rematch at Summerslam 2000 (Tables Ladders & Chairs) was the superior match, and this one had a slower pace and featured too much contrived setting up of the crazy spots. **** – Terri v. The Kat. I don’t even remember the backstory with this, but Terri has Moolah and Kat has Mae Young. Terri is wearing a bodystocking in lieu of tights, as is Kat. Well, at least they’re being honest about it. They fight it out on the mat to start, and special referee Val Venis breaks it up with a kiss. This incites jealousy and the dreaded hairtosses and they roll around a lot. Kat tosses Terri, but Mae Young was busy distracting Val and it continues. Unfortunately. Mae & Moolah get involved, and Terri gets tossed again, but Val is still distracted. Terri gets back in and Kat is out, so Val declares Terri the winner at 2:25. JR told us not to use the star rating system before it started, but I’ve never been good at following orders. –****  (These two actually made Kelly Kelly look like a nuanced worker.)  Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero & Perry Saturn v. Chyna & Too Cool. This was the start of Eddie’s “Latino Heat”, as he spent weeks hitting on Chyna, with no results until the night after Wrestlemania. Eddie starts with Scotty and grabs a headlock, but gets monkey-flipped. Scotty with a backbreaker and some moonwalking, and Chyna comes in, but Eddie hides behind Malenko. Dean comes in and gets clotheslined and Chyna slugs away, before Scotty gets a cheapshot from outside. Grandmaster Sexay comes in with a double-suplex with Chyna, and they get down, which is a truly scary sight. Sexay slams Dean, and Eddie comes back in, but walks into a backdrop suplex. Sexay goes up, but Saturn shoves him off. Saturn then stomps him down and the Radicalz work him over. Eddie gets a suplex, but puts his head down and Scotty 2 Hotty comes back in. He walks right into a hotshot, however, and Eddie keeps making eyes at Chyna. Backdrop suplex and slingshot senton, but he stops to knock Chyna off the apron and gets suplexed by Sexay to the floor as a result. It’s BONZO GONZO in the ring and Scotty puts Saturn in Worm position, and it’s a Double Worm on Saturn & Malenko, back when it was REALLY over. The Radicalz drag him out, however, and send him into the railing, while Chyna pounds on Eddie in the ring. This match is a mess. So back in the ring, it seems like they’ve finally got their shit together and Scotty is the face-in-peril, so Saturn superkicks him and goes up with a flying elbow. Eddie goes up and Scotty crotches him and brings him down with a superplex. Hot tag Chyna, and the Radicalz all have to bump like pinballs for her, as she hits Saturn & Dean with handspring elbows and stereo ballshots. Eddie lays her out, however, but she counters a powerbomb and gets one of her own. The dreaded IRON TESTICULAR CLAW sets up a press slam, and a drop sleeper finishes at 9:39. The stuff with Chyna was ridiculous, especially with a 150-pound woman supposedly able to dead-lift a 220 pound guy, and the match was almost totally lacking in flow. ** – Eurocontinental title match: Kurt Angle v. Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho. The first fall is for the IC title, and the second fall is for the European title. Angle has both titles at this point. The DVD has commentary from all three guys (at the expense of the bitrate), so I’ll listen to Jericho’s commentary for the first fall and Benoit’s for the second fall. I still don’t get why they don’t do more wrestler commentaries for big shows. Benoit shoves Angle into Jericho, but gets clotheslined by Jericho. They all slug it out in the corner, and Jericho elbows Angle down, but Benoit unleashes the chops and Jericho dropkicks him into the corner and out. Jericho dropkicks Angle, but Benoit trips him up on the springboard dropkick and goes after Angle on the apron, but Jericho recovers and dropkicks both of them. Good spot. Jericho is really easy-going and funny on commentary, by the way, riffing on Benoit the whole time and talking about the spots. Angle hotshots Jericho on the stairs and gets two off it back in. Benoit saves and clotheslines Angle for two. Jericho saves and chops Benoit again, as they slug it out in the corner, and then he goes after Angle with a backbreaker, but goes up and gets shoved off into the table by Benoit. Benoit suplexes Angle for two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Jericho comes back in with a dropkick to Benoit and goes up, getting a missile dropkick on Angle for two, but Benoit saves. Jericho talks a bit about how much he likes working with Benoit and how they came up together. Angle suplexes Benoit for two while Jericho talks about working WWF style and working stuff from Japan. Jericho bulldogs Angle for two and gets into another chopfest with Benoit, but Angle suplexes Benoit for two. Jericho saves. Angle takes a powder and Jericho puts Benoit in the camel clutch, then releases to suplex Angle, but Benoit steals a near-fall. Angle slugs away on Jericho, but charges and hits boot, then recovers with a double underhook suplex for two. Benoit gets whipped into Jericho, but Jericho goes for a sunset flip, which Benoit blocks for two. Jericho tries another powerbomb, but Angle reverses to the crossface chickenwing, which he used briefly before discovering the anklelock. Benoit saves. He tosses Angle into the crowd and goes up with the diving headbutt to win the IC title at 7:55. Benoit then tries an immediate cover on Jericho again and gets two, as the European title match begins. Angle suplexes Benoit for two. I switch to Benoit’s commentary now. Angle goes up and gets crotched and Jericho follows, but Benoit crotches HIM and it’s a backdrop superplex, but both are out and Angle follows with a moonsault, which misses. Benoit is talking about the match more in kayfabe than the more-open Jericho. Hey, let’s try Angle. They all get a two-count as Angle admits that he knocked his own wind out of himself on the missed moonsault. Jericho tries the Walls on Angle, but Benoit saves, so Angle slugs away on him and slams him, then goes back to Jericho. Angle’s self-centered commentary is hilarious. Jericho comes back with a leg lariat, hitting Benoit, and then powerbombing Angle for one. Benoit saves with the rolling germans on Jericho for two. Dragon Suplex on Angle gets two. Angle complains that his shoulders weren’t even down. The ref is bumped and Benoit takes Jericho down with the crossface, but releases and gets caught in the Walls. Angle breaks the Walls down with a beltshot and pins Jericho, but only gets two. Benoit & Angle slug it out and Benoit gets a backdrop suplex, but misses the diving headbutt, allowing Jericho to Lionsault him for the pin and the Euro title at 13:46. This match was WAAAAAY ahead of its time, and it’s still a really cool technical exhibition, although Angle’s offense was much weaker in 2000 and the ex-WCW guys were shackled by the then-current WWF style. ***1/2 – Road Dogg & X-Pac v. Rikishi & Kane. (They should actually bring in Sean Waltman to help out Road Dogg on the Are You Serious? show, because it seems like the kind of thing he could pull off pretty easily.)  D-X double-team Rikishi to start, but X-Pac goes after Kane outside and they brawl, and Rikishi gets a quick Stinkface on Road Dogg. Tori (not Torrie) tries to hide from Kane in the ring, but gets caught by Rikishi, and D-X save her from potential ass-eating action. D-X takes a walk, but Kane grabs X-Pac and they all head back to the ring. X-Pac kicks Rikishi down in the corner to set up a broncobuster and Road Dogg comes in to slug away, but Rikishi no-sells the punches. Kneedrop gets two. X-Pac comes in and pounds him with kicks, which Rikishi no-sells, and it’s a Bubba Cutter to set up the tag to Kane. Was that the hot tag? He destroys both D-X guys and backdrops X-Pac, then Paul Bearer brings Tori into the ring for a Stinkface from Rikishi. Tombstone kills X-Pac dead at 4:14. Basically a squash to give Kane revenge for being dumped by Tori. ¾* This all sets up Too Cool and the San Diego chicken coming in for dancing, but Kane doesn’t trust the Chicken. However, the real Pete Rose tries to attack from behind, and gets chokeslammed for his troubles. And then Stinkfaced. I think he earned his spot in the WWE Hall of Fame with this appearance. – WWF title match: Stephanie McMahon v. Vince McMahon v. Shane McMahon v. Linda McMahon. Oh, wait, sorry, that’s just what the ads made it seem like. – WWF title match: HHH v. The Rock v. Big Show v. Mick Foley. This was Mick’s second retirement match, although to his credit he managed to stay retired for another four years after this one. HHH starts with Foley and Show starts with Rock, and they all slug it out, and HHH loses his battle with Mick. Knee in the corner from Foley, but Show clotheslines both of them and knocks Rock down with a forearm. He hiptosses HHH and presses Rock, then hits HHH with more of the same. Notice HHH bumping all over for people. SELLING. Show chokes Rock out in the corner, but Foley jumps on his back, so Show falls back on him. Sideslam for Rock and chokeslam for HHH, but Foley breaks it up with a kick in the shin. So all three guys go after Show and knock him down with clotheslines, then team up to bootfuck him. That alliance doesn’t last, as Mick turns on HHH and hits him with a Cactus clothesline, leaving Rock to slug away on Show in the ring. Show comes back with a big boot as Foley chairs HHH. Mick chairs Show and Rock gets the Rock Bottom to eliminate him at 4:48. So it’s a three-way now, as the Rock N Sock Connection decide to go after HHH while HHH tries to convince each one to turn on the other. It doesn’t work, and it’s beatdown time. They pinball HHH with punches and Foley tosses him, and the beating continues on the floor. Foley whips HHH into a Rock clothesline and Mick grabs the bell, but Rock hits Mick with it by accident. HHH whips Rock into the post to take over and drops him on the railing, but Foley finds his trusty barbed-wire 2×4, so HHH goes low to counter. He beats on Foley with it, but Rock saves. This whole segment is actually really bad. HHH tosses Rock but gets DDT’d by Mick, and it’s Mr. Socko time. Rock lays HHH out with the belt for good measure to set up the People’s Elbow, but Mick opts to go for the Mandible Sock on Rock. HHH breaks that up with a low blow and everyone is out. Vince leaves a chair for Rock, who hits HHH with a clothesline, but Mick clotheslines Rock in turn and gets two. Mick slugs away in the corner and DDTs Rock for two. Rock gets his own for two. Pace is too slow, with too much laying around in between spots. Mick calls for an alliance with HHH to get rid of Rock, and they work him over, as Mick gets a kneelift for two. Double suplex into a HHH kneedrop gets two. Rock gets dumped by Foley, but comes back to whip Mick into the stairs. Mick grabs the stairs and hits Rock with them, visibly winded. HHH & Rock set up on the Spanish announce table and Mick goes up, but misses by a foot and knocks himself out on the table. That was just sad to see. HHH tries to cover by dropping elbows on Rock until the table breaks, but it just looked silly. One poor idiot in the crowd tries to start a “Holy shit” chant. Yeah. In the ring, 2 does of KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finish Foley at 19:40. Mick was totally gassed and obviously done at that point anyway. (I feel like, with the benefit of hindsight, had they wanted Mick to hang around until this show they should have had him win the title at No Way Out with his career on the line.  Then he could have goaded HHH into putting his own career as collateral for a final deciding title match here, where HHH gets the belt and retires Mick in one shot at the biggest stage possible.  And Rock can get his revenge on Big Show in a singles match, or team with Vince against Shane & Show, and you get your Vince turn there.)  So we’re down to HHH v. Rock, which is what they should have booked in the FIRST PLACE. As Mick said later, this was a really sad way for Mick to exit the WWF as a wrestler. He does, however, stop to lay HHH out with the barbed wire before leaving. Rock gets two off that. They slug it out, won by Rock, and HHH gets dumped with a clothesline. Brawl outside and Rock suplexes him on the floor. They head back to ringside, as Rock backdrops him into the ringside area, but HHH uses a chair to counter Rock’s stairs. HHH follows with a piledriver on the stairs and they head back in, where HHH gets two. Rock fights back and backdrops HHH over the top to block a Pedigree, and they fight into the crowd to waste some time. Rock comes back with a spinebuster on the floor, and both guys are out. They head over to the tables and HHH gets suplexed on the surviving one, but comes back to send Rock into the stairs. Vince attacks HHH, however, ramming him into the post and sending him into the ring, but that draws Shane out to attack his father in turn. The match is just dying at this point. Vince no-sells a shot with a monitor like he’s the Undertaker or something, and chases Shane back to the aisle, but falls victim to a chairshot. Meanwhile, there’s a wrestling match going on (in case you forgot) as Rock makes the comeback and DDTs HHH for two. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. HHH comes back with a facecrusher and hits Rock with a weak barbed wire shot, but Rock catapults HHH into Shane. Rock Bottom, but Vince makes a miraculous return as this gets more and more overbooked, but then turns on Rock with a chairshot, and HHH gets two. Another chairshot finishes for HHH at 36:25. Bad match, WAY wrong finish (especially for Wrestlemania), bad finish to begin with, major boredom throughout, and an end to the show that only succeeded in pissing off the crowd. **1/2 The Bottom Line: This was a MAJOR LEAGUE misfire during a very hot period for the WWF, as this was a two-match show and the main event was a huge disappointment. It was also the first time a heel walked out of Wrestlemania with the title, but not the last, as they did the exact same thing the next year and nearly drove themselves into the ground as a result. I can’t recommend it for the show, but the two good matches are good enough, and the bonus disc of the DVD set is excellent, covering about 3 hours of the “Wrestlemania All Day” special that preceded the PPV broadcast (minus the fluff with Ivory) with interviews and history of Wrestlemania, plus memorable matches from the first 15 of them. The show is a recommendation to avoid, the DVD is mildly recommended.

Wrestlemania Countdown: 16 (2000)

The Netcop Rant for Wrestlemania 2000 – Brought to you by refreshing, chilled orange soda! Don’t worry, it’s just an inside joke… – Note on the pre-game show: Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan. Rahim and I were the only two out of the group to be true wrestling geeks and endure the entire 8 hour pre-game show (with all 6 outfits worn by Ivory), although I gave up on my pledge to recap the whole thing once the tension headache set in around Wrestlemania V, and it lasted until Wrestlemania XII when the Tylenol kicked in. That’s just too damn much wrestling for any one person. As a general note on the show, the editing choices were kind of weird, as were the match selections and clipping, and we counted about 17 different kinds of special effects used by the graphics people, with all sorts of letterboxing, color tinting, fades, dissolves and every other neato trick learned in film school. Owen v. Bret was shown almost in it’s entirety, but Steamboat v. Savage was clipped to three minutes? Still, a very interesting and LONG look back at all the Wrestlemanias.  (Wonder why they never released the entire thing on DVD?  They’ll release any other stupid thing they can fill 8 hours of space with now, it seems.)  – As a note, the picks for the main event going in were running 6-1 for Mick Foley, with my vote for the Rock being the sole exception. – Live from Anaheim, California. – Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. – Opening match: The Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan. Ice-T raps Team Pimp down to the ring. Godfather and D-Lo control with some standard stuff. Bull rebounds out of the corner with a flying lariat to make D-Lo the Pimp in Peril. Scissor kick gets two. D-Lo fights back with a top rope rana. Hot tag to Godfather, who hits the corner splash on Bossman. D-Lo goes up to finish but gets knocked off and Bossman-slammed. Bull legdrops him off the top to finish. Bull looked good, the rest was lacklustre. *1/2 – Hardcore battle royale: Tazz, Kaientai, Hardcore Holly, Mean Street Posse, the Headbangers, Viscera & The Acolytes v. Crash Holly. Every pinfall in the 15-minute time limit results in a title change. Last person to be the Hardcore champion wins. (Kind of a redonkulous stipulation if you think about it, as the entire point of the title was that you could win it outside of the confines of the match.)  Tazz suplexes Crash to win the title 30 seconds in. Viscera splashes Tazz on the floor to win it. Crash is busted open as the Acolytes go after Viscera. Lots of nasty weapons shots from Bradshaw leave everyone laying. Viscera escapes from both Hardcore & Mosh to retain for 5 minutes, which sets the record for the match. Pete Gas absolutely taps an artery and bleeds all over his sweater vest. Acolytes slam Viscera off the top, then put Funaki on top to give HIM the title. See, they don’t even care about the title, they just want to hurt people. Funaki runs like the wind to back and everyone follows. Rodney catches him first and gets a title reign. Joey Abs clobbers him and wins it. Thrasher rams him into a steel door and pins him to win the title. Everyone beats the shit out of him and we head back up the aisle. Pete Gas sprays Thrasher with a fire extinguisher, then nails him with it and gets his second title. Back to the ring as Tazz suplexes Pete and gets HIS second title. Three minutes left, the Hollies double-team Tazz in the ring and get several two-counts. They keep stopping each other. Crash gets the pin with 30 seconds left, but Tazz slaps on the Tazzmission as time winds down. With 7 seconds left, Hardcore smashes a jar of candy over both their heads and pins Crash to win the Hardcore title for good. That was quite the entertaining little crapfest, I gotta admit. ***1/2 The ending seemed blown, as Tim White was apparently supposed to have time run out before counting the pin. Oh well, I predicted Hardcore would take it pre-show, so I’m happy. – Head Cheese v. T & A. (So much fail here.)  Al Snow introduces us to their new mascot: Chester McCheeserton. He’s a pygmie dressed as a wedge of cheese, you see. As captivating as it sounds. This match is a total waste, with everyone wandering around the ring randomly for a few minutes and blowing EVERYTHING. Stage fright, I guess. Crowd is dead. Snow & Blackman get the legdrop finisher (the Cheese Grater?) but Test drops the big elbow on Blackman for the pin. JR found about 7 different diplomatic ways to say that this sucked. No shit, everyone was saying that BEFORE the show. DUD – WWF World tag title match: The Dudley Boyz v. Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. There’s three ladders to start, with more to come presumably. ON WITH THE SPOTS! Three-way brawl to start. Buh Buh nails Jeff with a backdrop and full-nelson drop. Ladder comes into the ring and Buh Buh gets splatted with it. Matt elbowdrops D-Von on a ladder. Jeff misses a 450 on a ladder and looks to kill his leg. Buh Buh sentons him under a ladder. He then does the Terry Funk spinning ladder bit to knock everyone down. He gets dropkicked, however, and the Blondes pancake D-Von onto the ladder. Christian puts the ladder near the apron and dives off it onto Buh Buh and Matt, drawing the first “Holy Shit” chant of the night. Jeff climbs for the belts, but Edge spears him off it from the second rope. Edge goes up and gets powerbombed off by Matt. D-Von slams Matt off. Christian knocks D-Von off with a ladder. Three ladders get set up, and Buh Buh hits his half of 3D off the top on Christian. Another “Holy Shit” chant for that. Hardyz go up one ladder each and hit Rolling thunder off them. Jeff takes a crazy bump to the floor, then, and back in the ring the Blondes double-suplex D-Von off the top of the ladder. Hardyz and Blondes each go up and knock each other off. Crowd chants for tables. All six climb ladders, and Christian & Jeff go flying to the floor in a suicidal bump, while Edge & Matt get crotched on the top rope. The leaves the Dudleys alone. Christian crawls back in and gets smashed. Edge gets 3D. Tables are introduced to a HUGE pop. Dudleys put a table on top of two ladders, making a scaffold of sorts. Oh man, that’s kinda insane. Much like the rest of this match. Two more are set up below in the ring. Buh Buh takes Matt outside and powerbombs him through a table as D-Von misses a dive and goes through one in the ring. Jeff’s rail run is blocked with a VICIOUS ladder shot to the face. Holy shit! Buh Buh finds a HUGE twenty-foot ladder down the aisle and sets it up, plus a table, but gets nailed with the ringbell and put on the table by Jeff, who proceeds to deliver the SENTON BOMB FROM THE LADDER, THROUGH THE TABLE! Buh Buh is dead. Back in, D-Von gets taken out by Matt and Christian, who proceed to climb onto the scaffold. Edge joins them, knocks Matt off, and Edge & Christian grab the titles to become the new WWF tag team champions. I need a vacation after just WATCHING that. ***** I’m starting to fear for Jeff Hardy’s life, however. – The Kat v. Terri. Throwaway junk here, as Val Venis is the special referee and both women are wearing body stockings. Various shenanigans allow Terri to toss the Kat out first behind Val’s back with help from Moolah and get the win. Kat tears a good portion of Terri’s clothing off afterwards. Served it’s purpose, I guess. DUD – The Radicalz v. Too Cool & Chyna. Pre-match, Eddie promises to use his “Latino Heat” to charm Chyna, which may become the new catchphrase for this millennium. (Can I call ‘em or what?) He just plays an awesome sleazebag, and I mean that in the nicest way. (And he rode it all the way to the World title.)  Color coordination report for the Rads tonight: Purple and black. Eddie tags out quickly to escape Chyna, who is dressed like Disco Inferno. Grandmaster Sexay gets caught in the corner for a bit, then Scotty comes in and gets nailed with the springboard senton by Eddie. Eddie gets suplexed to the floor and Saturn & Malenko take a double Worm, but rebound to double-team Scotty. Eddie goes to the top but gets superplexed. Hotty tag to Chyna, who cleans house with a nice double handspring elbow sequence and double ballshot to Saturn and Malenko. Eddie tries a powerbomb but Chyna escapes and splits her disco pants. She manages a drop sleeper on Guerrero, whose boots she is not worthy to carry, and gets the pin. Match was okay, if disjointed. **1/2 – Euro-Continental title match: Kurt Angle v. Chris Jericho v. Chris Benoit. First fall for the I-C title: Benoit chops Jericho to start, then Jericho and Angle go. Jericho dropkicks both off the apron and Angle whips him into the stairs. Back in, Benoit & Jericho hammer each other and Jericho goes flying into the Spanish table. Benoit gets a pair of suplexes on Angle for two. Jericho takes out Angle, who comes back to suplex Benoit for two. Jericho camel clutches Benoit, then hits a hanging suplex on Angle that gets two for Benoit. Angle suplexes Jericho for two. Benoit blocks a sunset flip for two. Jericho gets caught with the cross-face chicken-wing by Angle, broken up by Benoit. Flying headbutt on Jericho gets the pin and the title for MY BOY! Whoo-hoo! Guess that’s the reward for carrying the Rock to one of his best matches. Second fall, for the Euro title: Angle takes out both, but Benoit superplexes Jericho and Angle misses a moonsault (!). Jericho covers for two, then locks on the Liontamer. Benoit breaks. Triple collision sequence leads to the double powerbomb by Jericho on Angle, which leads to the rolling german suplexes on Jericho, for two. Dragon suplex on Angle gets two for Benoit. Ref gets bumped, and Benoit hooks the crossface on Jericho, who escapes and hooks the Liontamer. Angle blasts him with the Euro title for two. Benoit suplexes Angle, but misses the headbutt, and Jericho hits the Lionsault for the pin and the European title. Angle is understandably pissed, having dropped both titles (cleanly, too) without losing a fall. Match was, of course, great, and I think we’re all just waiting for the Benoit v. Jericho wars to follow now. ****  (I find it interesting that Jericho didn’t like this match, because although the concept is bizarre and kind of hard-to-digest, I thought they made it work the best they could.)  Kane & Rikishi v. The Pot Puffers. (I’m referring to the D-X remnant team of X-Pac and Road Dogg, by the way) This is really just an excuse for a Pete Rose appearance. Everyone hits their signature spots on everyone else (Salad tosser, bronco buster, crazy-legs kneedrop) in short order before X-Pac takes a diamond cutter from Rikishi and a tombstone from Kane finishes quickly, hopefully ending this for good. *1/2 Too Cool and the San Diego Chicken come out to dance, as Kane glances at the chicken suspiciously. However, when Kane goes after the innocent mascot, the REAL deal, Pete Rose, attacks from behind with a baseball bat…and gets killed, as usual. Rikishi rubs his ass in his face for good measure. Well, there’s always next year. – WWF World title: HHH v. The Big Show v. The Rock v. Mick Foley. (Random fact:  Originally it was to be Chris Jericho representing Linda McMahon, but Vince wanted a bigger star and so Foley got drafted out of retirement.)  Big brawl to start. Mick v. HHH and Rock v. Show result. Show tosses HHH & Rock around the ring. Sideslam on Rock, chokeslam on HHH, but Mick nails him in the knee to stop the momentum. All three of the others gang up on the Show. Mick & HHH fight outside as Rocky finishes Big Show quickly with a Rock Bottom for the pin, to no one’s surprise. So we’re down to three. HHH tries reasoning with both men, but the Rock n Sock Connection attacks him. They brawl outside the ring. Rock nails Mick with the ringbell, showing what an idiot Foley is at times. Rock and HHH fight, but Mick finds the barbed-wire 2×4. HHH lowblows him and delivers his own shot with it. HHH tosses Rock, out, but Mick DDTs him and it’s the return of Socko! Rock blasts HHH with the WWF title, but Mick puts the Sock on Rock instead. HHH ballshots them both. Vince passes a chair into the ring as Mick clotheslines Rock for two. Double-arm DDT gets two to freak out the crowd. Rock comes back with a floatover DDT for two. HHH takes him down and Foley helps to beat on him. Foley kneelift gets two. HHH kneedrop gets two. They head outside and Mick tastes the STEEL stairs. HHH nails Rock with those stairs, then puts him on the Spanish table and sends Mick to the 2nd rope. He misses badly, nailing his arm on the table, so HHH improvises and puts Rock through the old-fashioned way: He jumps on him really hard. Back in, HHH turns on Mick and Pedigrees him for two. Chairshot and Pedigree on the chair gets the pin. Well, what the hell was the point of having Mick in there? We’re down to Rock v. HHH, at any rate. Mick comes back and blasts HHH with the 2×4, then leaves for real. It gets two for Rocky. They fight down the aisle, and back to ringside, where Rock charges with the stairs and gets nailed with a chair by HHH. Piledriver on the stairs follows. Ouch. Back in, it gets two. Rock fights back, but HHH escapes the Rock Bottom and tries the Pedigree. Rock backdrops HHH to the floor to escape. Back into the crowd, and then Rock spinebusters HHH on the floor. He suplexes him through the announce table for good measure. HHH hits a drop-toehold to the stairs, however, so Vince snaps and rams HHH into the ringpost. Shane then attacks Vince from behind, ramming a monitor into his head. Vince no-sells and beats on Shane back to the aisle, where Shane smokes Vince with a chairshot. Rock & HHH recover in the ring as Vince is carried off. Rock makes the comeback. DDT gets two. Tilt-a-whirl gets two. HHH comes back with a facebuster and 2×4 shot. Shane comes in and Rock catapults HHH into him to prevent interference. Vince returns and takes Shane out…then turns on the Rock! Chairshot gets two for HHH, and a second one GETS THE PIN?!? The crowd is PISSED. The McMahons reunite (with the exception of Linda), and Rocky makes somewhat good by Rock Bottoming both Vince and Shane, then doing it to Steph and delivering a People’s Elbow to her in addition. But this McMahon nonsense is getting WAY out of hand. I can’t argue with the logic of keeping HHH as the champion, however, even if it was pretty heartbreaking to see the heel actually walk out of Wrestlemania with the title this year. ***1/2 Post-Game highlights: Hardcore Holly calls Michael Cole the Little Goatee Wearing Bitch a shithead, Edge & Christian give a victory speech while still selling the injuries sustained, Mick regrets not being 23 years old when he tried that dive, Pete Rose explains that he’s a competitor, and there’s always next year, and Vince finishes by giving a non-sensical explanation for his turn, which probably boils down to “Watch RAW tomorrow”. The Bottom Line: Bizarre final match booking aside, this was an AWESOME show, featuring a *****, a **** and two ***1/2 matches, and just generally being entertaining for the entire 3 ½ hours. I *think* that they might hotshot the title onto the Rock on RAW, thus getting the biggest rating in history while unopposed. Or maybe another McMahon will win a title, who knows. Huge thumbs up here, at any rate, even if the ending left us all shell-shocked. The SmarK Retro Rant for Wrestlemania 2000 (XVI) – Okay, so we’re back again with a fresh re-rant after a week of reposts. Unless of you’re reading this for the big repost fest on 411 in the year 2024 for the Wrestlemania XL festivities. In which case, I can’t help you. – Live from Anaheim, CA. – Your hosts are JR & King. – This is one reason why the WWF was always better at certain things than WCW was – for instance, I don’t remember most of 1999-2000, so their constant video packages actually make it easy to remember the reasons for the midcard matches. – Opening match: Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan. I barely remember any of this period, with Godfather and D-Lo as twin pimps and Bossman training Bull as a prison guard or something. Ice T raps the black dudes down to the ring, to almost no reaction. Or record sales, judging by how badly “Aggression” bombed. D-Lo starts with Bull and slugs away, but Bull blocks a rollup and D-Lo dropkicks him. Back elbow and Godfather comes in with a slam and a double-team splash/legdrop from the pimps. He misses an elbow and Bossman comes in and pounds Godfather in the corner, getting a clothesline out of the corner, and a back kick for two. Bull comes in and goes with D-Lo, as Brown slugs away in the corner, but Bull hits him with the rebound clothesline that he would go on to screw up 150,000 times before getting fired in 2003. Bossman gets a cheapshot to turn the tide, and the prison guards get a double-sliding punch for two. Bossman gets a big boot and Bull follows with an axe kick for two. They switch off on D-Lo and work him over, and a double elbow gets two for Bossman. King starts talking about the “electric atmosphere” while the crowd sits on their hands for this crap. Bull goes to the bearhug, but D-Lo slugs out, so Bull & Bossman pound him down again. They slug it out and D-Lo goes for a crossbody, but Bossman gets a backbreaker for two. JR makes a reference to an “XFL fair catch”, and BOY you don’t hear those references anymore. Bull comes off the top with a double axehandle and keeps punching, but goes up and crotches himself with help from Godfather. D-Lo follows with a rana, which Bull seems unable to sell properly, and it’s hot tag Godfather. Backdrop and the heels collide, as Bossman misses a charge and Godfather hits him with the Ho Train. D-Lo goes up and gets shoved off by Bull, but he lands on his feet. Dropkick on Bossman, but he walks into the Bossman slam and Bull finishes with a legdrop for the pin at 9:04. INSANELY long and boring. * – Meanwhile, HHH and Stephanie admire their belts. Ah, for the days when Stephanie was Women’s champion and everyone else in the division was so bad that it was a blessing not to have someone who wrestled as champion. – Hardcore Battle Royale: This is a 15-minute match, and whoever is the Hardcore champion when it’s over…is, uh, the Hardcore champion. OK, that sounds stupid, but whatever. So we’ve got Tazz (he used to be a wrestler, you know), Viscera, Pete Gas, Rodney, Joey Abs, Hardcore Holly, Taka, Funaki, Mosh, Thrasher, Faarooq, Bradshaw and of course Crash Holly (RIP). As expected, it’s a big brawl to start, and Tazz hits Crash with a capture suplex for the pin at 0:25 to win the title. So Tazz is now the champion. Viscera rams him into the post and slams him for the title at 1:00. Now see, the psychology is all off here, as everyone should just gang up on the champion in a sane world. Viscera fights with the Mean Street Posse using the Japanese flag as a weapon, but they fight back as people start to catch on. The APA (back when Bradshaw had heterosexual hair) try beating on him, but he fires back with the deadly COOKIE SHEET OF PAIN. Dull segment as everyone stands around outside and hits each other with no rhyme or reason. Bradshaw goes CRAZY with the cookie sheet. Hopefully no one gives him a spatula. Holly gets two on Viscera after a street sign, and so does Mosh. JR notes that “all these young pups taking these head shots will never forget their first Wrestlemania”. Actually, Jim, they probably did, which is kind of the problem. More heads hit with more signs. Into the ring, Viscera lays everyone out with the cookie sheet, which seems to the weapon of choice, but he goes up and gets slammed off by the APA. Faarooq uses a 2×4 to set up a Bradshaw shoulderblock and Kaientai covers to make Funaki the champ at 7:13. Taka turns on him and chases him outside, and they head back to the dressing room, where Rodney pins him at 8:10 to win the title. Joey Abs turns on him and gets a gutwrench at 8:23 for the title. Thrasher sends him into the door for the title at 8:43. Viscera pounds on him with the cookie sheet, and Thrasher stumbles back to the ring, but gets hit by Pete Gas with a fire extinguisher for the title at 9:28. Tazz attacks him and sends him into the post, as he does a gory bladejob, and Tazz suplexes him on the floor to win the title at 10:15 for the second time in the same match. Hardcore Holly sends him into the stairs for two. They slug it out and it’s back to more weapons. Mosh gets two off a cookie sheet. In the ring, the Hollies double-team Tazz, but Crash turns on Hardcore, and Tazz lays him out with the cookie sheet. That gets two. Why even make a cover? JR & King ask the same question. The Hollies keep fighting over who gets to pin Tazz, but Tazz gets another suplex on Crash. Hardcore powerslams Tazz for one, and Crash gets two. Hardcore tosses Crash and gets the DROPKICK OF DEATH on Tazz for two. Tazz hits him with a northern lights suplex and Hardcore bails, and Crash gets another cookie sheet shot on Tazz for the pin at 14:19 to win the title. Tazz comes back with the Tazzmission to a huge pop, but Hardcore breaks it up with a jar of candy and gets two on Crash, but Fink announces Hardcore as the champion. In the grand scheme of things, no one gave a fuck. The time was supposed to have run out, but it didn’t, and Tim White had to pretend Crash kicked out at two, even though he didn’t. I must have been hitting the firewater to give this pile of horseshit *** upon first viewing, as 90% of it was meaningless fighting outside. ½*  (I figured that one would drop rapidly upon rewatching it.)  – Steve Blackman & Al Snow v. Test & Albert. Okay, quick word of explanation here. Blackman and Snow were Head Cheese, as Snow engaged in a quest to find a personality for Blackman. Test & Albert were Trish Stratus’ first stint in the WWF, which just shows how incredibly far she’s come as a character and a worker since her debut in 2000. For one thing, she’s no longer overly muscled and freakishly tanned. Nor does she wear 6 inch lifts in her boots. Test starts with Blackman, but gets superkicked. Snow comes in for a quick double-team and Snow slugs away, but Test clotheslines him and brings in Albert. Test gets the big boot. Snow comes in with an enzuigiri on Albert, but they beat on him in the corner. Albert gets double-teamed in the Head Cheese corner and they get a double-clothesline for two. Snow suplexes him for two. Blackman kicks him down for two as things get REALLY ugly and the match just falls apart. Snow & Blackman work Albert over, but he comes back with a butterfly suplex and makes what appears to be a hot tag for the heels, as Test comes in and cleans house on Head Cheese and gets a sideslam on Snow for two. I don’t get this at all. Double powerbomb on Snow, so devastating that Snow pulls up his tights in mid-sell, gets two. JR apologizes about 18 times for the match as Snow hits Albert with a quebrada outside, and Blackman pounds on Test to set up a Decapitation double-team on Test for two. Albert baldobombs Snow and dumps him, and presses Test onto Blackman for two. JR keeps burying the match as Blackman superkicks Albert, but Albert basically no-sells and Test finishes Blackman with a flying elbow at 6:59 to end the suffering. If this wasn’t in the running for Worst Match of the Year, it should have been. –**  (Poor Test, dude appeared at 3 Wrestlemanias and was involved in some of the biggest fiascos in each one.)  WWF tag title ladder match: The Dudley Boyz v. Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. (I find it interesting to this day how completely the tag team division was stripped down and rebuilt around this time.  The Outlaws and the various super-teams who were dominating for years suddenly disappeared, and these three completely took over for a long time.  Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy to do the same thing on top of the promotion.)  This used to be a FRESH matchup, for those who don’t remember those days. This was also the days when the Dudleyz were the hottest act in tag team wrestling and Bubba still had a southern accent. Edge & Christian were ZERO-time tag team champions at this point. Big brawl outside to start, and Matt starts in the ring with Christian, but gets dropkicked. Next up, D-Von and Edge, as Edge gets a leg lariat and they head out again. Finally, Bubba & Jeff, as Bubba chops him in the corner but gets hit with a corkscrew out of the corner. Bubba backdrops him and gets the Bubba Bomb, and they brawl out again. Back into the ring, as everyone fights it out in various combinations, and Matt tosses a ladder at Bubba, allowing Jeff to slam into it, and it’s the same situation on the other side of the ring with E&C v. D-Von. Matt slams D-Von onto the ladder and hits him with a yodeling elbow. Jeff DDTs Bubba and puts him on the ladder, but misses a 450 splash and splats on it. Wonder why Jeff stopped using that? Bubba retaliates with his senton off the middle ropes (one of the few times it actually hits), and then Edge rides a ladder down from the top, onto another one that’s on Matt. Everyone is out, so D-Von legdrops Edge beneath another ladder. Bubba does the Terry Funk spot with the ladder on his shoulders, but E&C double-dropkick it back at him. They flapjack D-Von into another ladder in the corner, and Christian climbs up a ladder by the apron, hitting Bubba & Matt with a dive to the floor. Jeff makes the first climb for the belts, but Edge spears Matt off the ladder. He climbs next, but Matt brings him down with a Fire Thunder Bomb and climbs himself. D-Von slams him off to break that up and climbs, but Christian tosses a ladder at him to stop it. Now Christian climbs, but Bubba sets up two more ladders and climbs one to chase, bringing him down with a Bubba Cutter off the ladder. The Hardyz swoop in and toss Christian, and then climb up two ladders and hit a splash/legdrop combo on Bubba from the top of them. Edge tosses Jeff, however, and E&C double-suplex D-Von off a pair of ladders. Everyone is out again. Now The Hardyz duel with E&C on the top of two ladders, and they bring each other down. So now the Dudleyz join the fray, and all six guys climb three ladders and fight it out, but Christian & Jeff get dumped over the top, while Edge & Matt get crotched on the top rope, leaving the Dudleyz all alone in the ring. Christian staggers in, so the Dudleyz sandwich him between two ladders and hit Edge with 3D. It’s time for D-Von to get the tables, but that catchphrase didn’t exist yet. So they set up two ladders and put a table on top of them as a makeshift scaffolding, but the Hardy Boyz bring them down again. They all brawl outside and Bubba powerbombs Matt through a table outside, as D-Von misses a splash and puts himself through a table in the ring. Jeff tries a railrunner on Bubba, but walks into a ladder. Bubba then finds an insanely high ladder and sets up a table next to it, but Christian hits him with the bell to put him on the table, and Jeff climbs the ladder and puts Bubba through the table with a swanton bomb to take both guys out of play. In the ring, D-Von suplexes Christian and climbs the structure, but Matt returns to pull him down and hits the Twist of Fate. Matt then climbs, along with Christian, and they slug it out up there until Edge follows them up and gets rid of Matt, and they grab the titles at 22:28, their first reign of seven. Time and perspective have shown that although the match was insanely influential, the rematch at Summerslam 2000 (Tables Ladders & Chairs) was the superior match, and this one had a slower pace and featured too much contrived setting up of the crazy spots. **** – Terri v. The Kat. I don’t even remember the backstory with this, but Terri has Moolah and Kat has Mae Young. Terri is wearing a bodystocking in lieu of tights, as is Kat. Well, at least they’re being honest about it. They fight it out on the mat to start, and special referee Val Venis breaks it up with a kiss. This incites jealousy and the dreaded hairtosses and they roll around a lot. Kat tosses Terri, but Mae Young was busy distracting Val and it continues. Unfortunately. Mae & Moolah get involved, and Terri gets tossed again, but Val is still distracted. Terri gets back in and Kat is out, so Val declares Terri the winner at 2:25. JR told us not to use the star rating system before it started, but I’ve never been good at following orders. –****  (These two actually made Kelly Kelly look like a nuanced worker.)  Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero & Perry Saturn v. Chyna & Too Cool. This was the start of Eddie’s “Latino Heat”, as he spent weeks hitting on Chyna, with no results until the night after Wrestlemania. Eddie starts with Scotty and grabs a headlock, but gets monkey-flipped. Scotty with a backbreaker and some moonwalking, and Chyna comes in, but Eddie hides behind Malenko. Dean comes in and gets clotheslined and Chyna slugs away, before Scotty gets a cheapshot from outside. Grandmaster Sexay comes in with a double-suplex with Chyna, and they get down, which is a truly scary sight. Sexay slams Dean, and Eddie comes back in, but walks into a backdrop suplex. Sexay goes up, but Saturn shoves him off. Saturn then stomps him down and the Radicalz work him over. Eddie gets a suplex, but puts his head down and Scotty 2 Hotty comes back in. He walks right into a hotshot, however, and Eddie keeps making eyes at Chyna. Backdrop suplex and slingshot senton, but he stops to knock Chyna off the apron and gets suplexed by Sexay to the floor as a result. It’s BONZO GONZO in the ring and Scotty puts Saturn in Worm position, and it’s a Double Worm on Saturn & Malenko, back when it was REALLY over. The Radicalz drag him out, however, and send him into the railing, while Chyna pounds on Eddie in the ring. This match is a mess. So back in the ring, it seems like they’ve finally got their shit together and Scotty is the face-in-peril, so Saturn superkicks him and goes up with a flying elbow. Eddie goes up and Scotty crotches him and brings him down with a superplex. Hot tag Chyna, and the Radicalz all have to bump like pinballs for her, as she hits Saturn & Dean with handspring elbows and stereo ballshots. Eddie lays her out, however, but she counters a powerbomb and gets one of her own. The dreaded IRON TESTICULAR CLAW sets up a press slam, and a drop sleeper finishes at 9:39. The stuff with Chyna was ridiculous, especially with a 150-pound woman supposedly able to dead-lift a 220 pound guy, and the match was almost totally lacking in flow. ** – Eurocontinental title match: Kurt Angle v. Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho. The first fall is for the IC title, and the second fall is for the European title. Angle has both titles at this point. The DVD has commentary from all three guys (at the expense of the bitrate), so I’ll listen to Jericho’s commentary for the first fall and Benoit’s for the second fall. I still don’t get why they don’t do more wrestler commentaries for big shows. Benoit shoves Angle into Jericho, but gets clotheslined by Jericho. They all slug it out in the corner, and Jericho elbows Angle down, but Benoit unleashes the chops and Jericho dropkicks him into the corner and out. Jericho dropkicks Angle, but Benoit trips him up on the springboard dropkick and goes after Angle on the apron, but Jericho recovers and dropkicks both of them. Good spot. Jericho is really easy-going and funny on commentary, by the way, riffing on Benoit the whole time and talking about the spots. Angle hotshots Jericho on the stairs and gets two off it back in. Benoit saves and clotheslines Angle for two. Jericho saves and chops Benoit again, as they slug it out in the corner, and then he goes after Angle with a backbreaker, but goes up and gets shoved off into the table by Benoit. Benoit suplexes Angle for two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Jericho comes back in with a dropkick to Benoit and goes up, getting a missile dropkick on Angle for two, but Benoit saves. Jericho talks a bit about how much he likes working with Benoit and how they came up together. Angle suplexes Benoit for two while Jericho talks about working WWF style and working stuff from Japan. Jericho bulldogs Angle for two and gets into another chopfest with Benoit, but Angle suplexes Benoit for two. Jericho saves. Angle takes a powder and Jericho puts Benoit in the camel clutch, then releases to suplex Angle, but Benoit steals a near-fall. Angle slugs away on Jericho, but charges and hits boot, then recovers with a double underhook suplex for two. Benoit gets whipped into Jericho, but Jericho goes for a sunset flip, which Benoit blocks for two. Jericho tries another powerbomb, but Angle reverses to the crossface chickenwing, which he used briefly before discovering the anklelock. Benoit saves. He tosses Angle into the crowd and goes up with the diving headbutt to win the IC title at 7:55. Benoit then tries an immediate cover on Jericho again and gets two, as the European title match begins. Angle suplexes Benoit for two. I switch to Benoit’s commentary now. Angle goes up and gets crotched and Jericho follows, but Benoit crotches HIM and it’s a backdrop superplex, but both are out and Angle follows with a moonsault, which misses. Benoit is talking about the match more in kayfabe than the more-open Jericho. Hey, let’s try Angle. They all get a two-count as Angle admits that he knocked his own wind out of himself on the missed moonsault. Jericho tries the Walls on Angle, but Benoit saves, so Angle slugs away on him and slams him, then goes back to Jericho. Angle’s self-centered commentary is hilarious. Jericho comes back with a leg lariat, hitting Benoit, and then powerbombing Angle for one. Benoit saves with the rolling germans on Jericho for two. Dragon Suplex on Angle gets two. Angle complains that his shoulders weren’t even down. The ref is bumped and Benoit takes Jericho down with the crossface, but releases and gets caught in the Walls. Angle breaks the Walls down with a beltshot and pins Jericho, but only gets two. Benoit & Angle slug it out and Benoit gets a backdrop suplex, but misses the diving headbutt, allowing Jericho to Lionsault him for the pin and the Euro title at 13:46. This match was WAAAAAY ahead of its time, and it’s still a really cool technical exhibition, although Angle’s offense was much weaker in 2000 and the ex-WCW guys were shackled by the then-current WWF style. ***1/2 – Road Dogg & X-Pac v. Rikishi & Kane. (They should actually bring in Sean Waltman to help out Road Dogg on the Are You Serious? show, because it seems like the kind of thing he could pull off pretty easily.)  D-X double-team Rikishi to start, but X-Pac goes after Kane outside and they brawl, and Rikishi gets a quick Stinkface on Road Dogg. Tori (not Torrie) tries to hide from Kane in the ring, but gets caught by Rikishi, and D-X save her from potential ass-eating action. D-X takes a walk, but Kane grabs X-Pac and they all head back to the ring. X-Pac kicks Rikishi down in the corner to set up a broncobuster and Road Dogg comes in to slug away, but Rikishi no-sells the punches. Kneedrop gets two. X-Pac comes in and pounds him with kicks, which Rikishi no-sells, and it’s a Bubba Cutter to set up the tag to Kane. Was that the hot tag? He destroys both D-X guys and backdrops X-Pac, then Paul Bearer brings Tori into the ring for a Stinkface from Rikishi. Tombstone kills X-Pac dead at 4:14. Basically a squash to give Kane revenge for being dumped by Tori. ¾* This all sets up Too Cool and the San Diego chicken coming in for dancing, but Kane doesn’t trust the Chicken. However, the real Pete Rose tries to attack from behind, and gets chokeslammed for his troubles. And then Stinkfaced. I think he earned his spot in the WWE Hall of Fame with this appearance. – WWF title match: Stephanie McMahon v. Vince McMahon v. Shane McMahon v. Linda McMahon. Oh, wait, sorry, that’s just what the ads made it seem like. – WWF title match: HHH v. The Rock v. Big Show v. Mick Foley. This was Mick’s second retirement match, although to his credit he managed to stay retired for another four years after this one. HHH starts with Foley and Show starts with Rock, and they all slug it out, and HHH loses his battle with Mick. Knee in the corner from Foley, but Show clotheslines both of them and knocks Rock down with a forearm. He hiptosses HHH and presses Rock, then hits HHH with more of the same. Notice HHH bumping all over for people. SELLING. Show chokes Rock out in the corner, but Foley jumps on his back, so Show falls back on him. Sideslam for Rock and chokeslam for HHH, but Foley breaks it up with a kick in the shin. So all three guys go after Show and knock him down with clotheslines, then team up to bootfuck him. That alliance doesn’t last, as Mick turns on HHH and hits him with a Cactus clothesline, leaving Rock to slug away on Show in the ring. Show comes back with a big boot as Foley chairs HHH. Mick chairs Show and Rock gets the Rock Bottom to eliminate him at 4:48. So it’s a three-way now, as the Rock N Sock Connection decide to go after HHH while HHH tries to convince each one to turn on the other. It doesn’t work, and it’s beatdown time. They pinball HHH with punches and Foley tosses him, and the beating continues on the floor. Foley whips HHH into a Rock clothesline and Mick grabs the bell, but Rock hits Mick with it by accident. HHH whips Rock into the post to take over and drops him on the railing, but Foley finds his trusty barbed-wire 2×4, so HHH goes low to counter. He beats on Foley with it, but Rock saves. This whole segment is actually really bad. HHH tosses Rock but gets DDT’d by Mick, and it’s Mr. Socko time. Rock lays HHH out with the belt for good measure to set up the People’s Elbow, but Mick opts to go for the Mandible Sock on Rock. HHH breaks that up with a low blow and everyone is out. Vince leaves a chair for Rock, who hits HHH with a clothesline, but Mick clotheslines Rock in turn and gets two. Mick slugs away in the corner and DDTs Rock for two. Rock gets his own for two. Pace is too slow, with too much laying around in between spots. Mick calls for an alliance with HHH to get rid of Rock, and they work him over, as Mick gets a kneelift for two. Double suplex into a HHH kneedrop gets two. Rock gets dumped by Foley, but comes back to whip Mick into the stairs. Mick grabs the stairs and hits Rock with them, visibly winded. HHH & Rock set up on the Spanish announce table and Mick goes up, but misses by a foot and knocks himself out on the table. That was just sad to see. HHH tries to cover by dropping elbows on Rock until the table breaks, but it just looked silly. One poor idiot in the crowd tries to start a “Holy shit” chant. Yeah. In the ring, 2 does of KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finish Foley at 19:40. Mick was totally gassed and obviously done at that point anyway. (I feel like, with the benefit of hindsight, had they wanted Mick to hang around until this show they should have had him win the title at No Way Out with his career on the line.  Then he could have goaded HHH into putting his own career as collateral for a final deciding title match here, where HHH gets the belt and retires Mick in one shot at the biggest stage possible.  And Rock can get his revenge on Big Show in a singles match, or team with Vince against Shane & Show, and you get your Vince turn there.)  So we’re down to HHH v. Rock, which is what they should have booked in the FIRST PLACE. As Mick said later, this was a really sad way for Mick to exit the WWF as a wrestler. He does, however, stop to lay HHH out with the barbed wire before leaving. Rock gets two off that. They slug it out, won by Rock, and HHH gets dumped with a clothesline. Brawl outside and Rock suplexes him on the floor. They head back to ringside, as Rock backdrops him into the ringside area, but HHH uses a chair to counter Rock’s stairs. HHH follows with a piledriver on the stairs and they head back in, where HHH gets two. Rock fights back and backdrops HHH over the top to block a Pedigree, and they fight into the crowd to waste some time. Rock comes back with a spinebuster on the floor, and both guys are out. They head over to the tables and HHH gets suplexed on the surviving one, but comes back to send Rock into the stairs. Vince attacks HHH, however, ramming him into the post and sending him into the ring, but that draws Shane out to attack his father in turn. The match is just dying at this point. Vince no-sells a shot with a monitor like he’s the Undertaker or something, and chases Shane back to the aisle, but falls victim to a chairshot. Meanwhile, there’s a wrestling match going on (in case you forgot) as Rock makes the comeback and DDTs HHH for two. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. HHH comes back with a facecrusher and hits Rock with a weak barbed wire shot, but Rock catapults HHH into Shane. Rock Bottom, but Vince makes a miraculous return as this gets more and more overbooked, but then turns on Rock with a chairshot, and HHH gets two. Another chairshot finishes for HHH at 36:25. Bad match, WAY wrong finish (especially for Wrestlemania), bad finish to begin with, major boredom throughout, and an end to the show that only succeeded in pissing off the crowd. **1/2 The Bottom Line: This was a MAJOR LEAGUE misfire during a very hot period for the WWF, as this was a two-match show and the main event was a huge disappointment. It was also the first time a heel walked out of Wrestlemania with the title, but not the last, as they did the exact same thing the next year and nearly drove themselves into the ground as a result. I can’t recommend it for the show, but the two good matches are good enough, and the bonus disc of the DVD set is excellent, covering about 3 hours of the “Wrestlemania All Day” special that preceded the PPV broadcast (minus the fluff with Ivory) with interviews and history of Wrestlemania, plus memorable matches from the first 15 of them. The show is a recommendation to avoid, the DVD is mildly recommended.

Wrestlemania Countdown: 16 (2000)

The Netcop Rant for Wrestlemania 2000 – Brought to you by refreshing, chilled orange soda! Don’t worry, it’s just an inside joke… – Note on the pre-game show: Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan, Savage, Hogan. Rahim and I were the only two out of the group to be true wrestling geeks and endure the entire 8 hour pre-game show (with all 6 outfits worn by Ivory), although I gave up on my pledge to recap the whole thing once the tension headache set in around Wrestlemania V, and it lasted until Wrestlemania XII when the Tylenol kicked in. That’s just too damn much wrestling for any one person. As a general note on the show, the editing choices were kind of weird, as were the match selections and clipping, and we counted about 17 different kinds of special effects used by the graphics people, with all sorts of letterboxing, color tinting, fades, dissolves and every other neato trick learned in film school. Owen v. Bret was shown almost in it’s entirety, but Steamboat v. Savage was clipped to three minutes? Still, a very interesting and LONG look back at all the Wrestlemanias.  (Wonder why they never released the entire thing on DVD?  They’ll release any other stupid thing they can fill 8 hours of space with now, it seems.)  – As a note, the picks for the main event going in were running 6-1 for Mick Foley, with my vote for the Rock being the sole exception. – Live from Anaheim, California. – Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. – Opening match: The Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan. Ice-T raps Team Pimp down to the ring. Godfather and D-Lo control with some standard stuff. Bull rebounds out of the corner with a flying lariat to make D-Lo the Pimp in Peril. Scissor kick gets two. D-Lo fights back with a top rope rana. Hot tag to Godfather, who hits the corner splash on Bossman. D-Lo goes up to finish but gets knocked off and Bossman-slammed. Bull legdrops him off the top to finish. Bull looked good, the rest was lacklustre. *1/2 – Hardcore battle royale: Tazz, Kaientai, Hardcore Holly, Mean Street Posse, the Headbangers, Viscera & The Acolytes v. Crash Holly. Every pinfall in the 15-minute time limit results in a title change. Last person to be the Hardcore champion wins. (Kind of a redonkulous stipulation if you think about it, as the entire point of the title was that you could win it outside of the confines of the match.)  Tazz suplexes Crash to win the title 30 seconds in. Viscera splashes Tazz on the floor to win it. Crash is busted open as the Acolytes go after Viscera. Lots of nasty weapons shots from Bradshaw leave everyone laying. Viscera escapes from both Hardcore & Mosh to retain for 5 minutes, which sets the record for the match. Pete Gas absolutely taps an artery and bleeds all over his sweater vest. Acolytes slam Viscera off the top, then put Funaki on top to give HIM the title. See, they don’t even care about the title, they just want to hurt people. Funaki runs like the wind to back and everyone follows. Rodney catches him first and gets a title reign. Joey Abs clobbers him and wins it. Thrasher rams him into a steel door and pins him to win the title. Everyone beats the shit out of him and we head back up the aisle. Pete Gas sprays Thrasher with a fire extinguisher, then nails him with it and gets his second title. Back to the ring as Tazz suplexes Pete and gets HIS second title. Three minutes left, the Hollies double-team Tazz in the ring and get several two-counts. They keep stopping each other. Crash gets the pin with 30 seconds left, but Tazz slaps on the Tazzmission as time winds down. With 7 seconds left, Hardcore smashes a jar of candy over both their heads and pins Crash to win the Hardcore title for good. That was quite the entertaining little crapfest, I gotta admit. ***1/2 The ending seemed blown, as Tim White was apparently supposed to have time run out before counting the pin. Oh well, I predicted Hardcore would take it pre-show, so I’m happy. – Head Cheese v. T & A. (So much fail here.)  Al Snow introduces us to their new mascot: Chester McCheeserton. He’s a pygmie dressed as a wedge of cheese, you see. As captivating as it sounds. This match is a total waste, with everyone wandering around the ring randomly for a few minutes and blowing EVERYTHING. Stage fright, I guess. Crowd is dead. Snow & Blackman get the legdrop finisher (the Cheese Grater?) but Test drops the big elbow on Blackman for the pin. JR found about 7 different diplomatic ways to say that this sucked. No shit, everyone was saying that BEFORE the show. DUD – WWF World tag title match: The Dudley Boyz v. Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. There’s three ladders to start, with more to come presumably. ON WITH THE SPOTS! Three-way brawl to start. Buh Buh nails Jeff with a backdrop and full-nelson drop. Ladder comes into the ring and Buh Buh gets splatted with it. Matt elbowdrops D-Von on a ladder. Jeff misses a 450 on a ladder and looks to kill his leg. Buh Buh sentons him under a ladder. He then does the Terry Funk spinning ladder bit to knock everyone down. He gets dropkicked, however, and the Blondes pancake D-Von onto the ladder. Christian puts the ladder near the apron and dives off it onto Buh Buh and Matt, drawing the first “Holy Shit” chant of the night. Jeff climbs for the belts, but Edge spears him off it from the second rope. Edge goes up and gets powerbombed off by Matt. D-Von slams Matt off. Christian knocks D-Von off with a ladder. Three ladders get set up, and Buh Buh hits his half of 3D off the top on Christian. Another “Holy Shit” chant for that. Hardyz go up one ladder each and hit Rolling thunder off them. Jeff takes a crazy bump to the floor, then, and back in the ring the Blondes double-suplex D-Von off the top of the ladder. Hardyz and Blondes each go up and knock each other off. Crowd chants for tables. All six climb ladders, and Christian & Jeff go flying to the floor in a suicidal bump, while Edge & Matt get crotched on the top rope. The leaves the Dudleys alone. Christian crawls back in and gets smashed. Edge gets 3D. Tables are introduced to a HUGE pop. Dudleys put a table on top of two ladders, making a scaffold of sorts. Oh man, that’s kinda insane. Much like the rest of this match. Two more are set up below in the ring. Buh Buh takes Matt outside and powerbombs him through a table as D-Von misses a dive and goes through one in the ring. Jeff’s rail run is blocked with a VICIOUS ladder shot to the face. Holy shit! Buh Buh finds a HUGE twenty-foot ladder down the aisle and sets it up, plus a table, but gets nailed with the ringbell and put on the table by Jeff, who proceeds to deliver the SENTON BOMB FROM THE LADDER, THROUGH THE TABLE! Buh Buh is dead. Back in, D-Von gets taken out by Matt and Christian, who proceed to climb onto the scaffold. Edge joins them, knocks Matt off, and Edge & Christian grab the titles to become the new WWF tag team champions. I need a vacation after just WATCHING that. ***** I’m starting to fear for Jeff Hardy’s life, however. – The Kat v. Terri. Throwaway junk here, as Val Venis is the special referee and both women are wearing body stockings. Various shenanigans allow Terri to toss the Kat out first behind Val’s back with help from Moolah and get the win. Kat tears a good portion of Terri’s clothing off afterwards. Served it’s purpose, I guess. DUD – The Radicalz v. Too Cool & Chyna. Pre-match, Eddie promises to use his “Latino Heat” to charm Chyna, which may become the new catchphrase for this millennium. (Can I call ‘em or what?) He just plays an awesome sleazebag, and I mean that in the nicest way. (And he rode it all the way to the World title.)  Color coordination report for the Rads tonight: Purple and black. Eddie tags out quickly to escape Chyna, who is dressed like Disco Inferno. Grandmaster Sexay gets caught in the corner for a bit, then Scotty comes in and gets nailed with the springboard senton by Eddie. Eddie gets suplexed to the floor and Saturn & Malenko take a double Worm, but rebound to double-team Scotty. Eddie goes to the top but gets superplexed. Hotty tag to Chyna, who cleans house with a nice double handspring elbow sequence and double ballshot to Saturn and Malenko. Eddie tries a powerbomb but Chyna escapes and splits her disco pants. She manages a drop sleeper on Guerrero, whose boots she is not worthy to carry, and gets the pin. Match was okay, if disjointed. **1/2 – Euro-Continental title match: Kurt Angle v. Chris Jericho v. Chris Benoit. First fall for the I-C title: Benoit chops Jericho to start, then Jericho and Angle go. Jericho dropkicks both off the apron and Angle whips him into the stairs. Back in, Benoit & Jericho hammer each other and Jericho goes flying into the Spanish table. Benoit gets a pair of suplexes on Angle for two. Jericho takes out Angle, who comes back to suplex Benoit for two. Jericho camel clutches Benoit, then hits a hanging suplex on Angle that gets two for Benoit. Angle suplexes Jericho for two. Benoit blocks a sunset flip for two. Jericho gets caught with the cross-face chicken-wing by Angle, broken up by Benoit. Flying headbutt on Jericho gets the pin and the title for MY BOY! Whoo-hoo! Guess that’s the reward for carrying the Rock to one of his best matches. Second fall, for the Euro title: Angle takes out both, but Benoit superplexes Jericho and Angle misses a moonsault (!). Jericho covers for two, then locks on the Liontamer. Benoit breaks. Triple collision sequence leads to the double powerbomb by Jericho on Angle, which leads to the rolling german suplexes on Jericho, for two. Dragon suplex on Angle gets two for Benoit. Ref gets bumped, and Benoit hooks the crossface on Jericho, who escapes and hooks the Liontamer. Angle blasts him with the Euro title for two. Benoit suplexes Angle, but misses the headbutt, and Jericho hits the Lionsault for the pin and the European title. Angle is understandably pissed, having dropped both titles (cleanly, too) without losing a fall. Match was, of course, great, and I think we’re all just waiting for the Benoit v. Jericho wars to follow now. ****  (I find it interesting that Jericho didn’t like this match, because although the concept is bizarre and kind of hard-to-digest, I thought they made it work the best they could.)  Kane & Rikishi v. The Pot Puffers. (I’m referring to the D-X remnant team of X-Pac and Road Dogg, by the way) This is really just an excuse for a Pete Rose appearance. Everyone hits their signature spots on everyone else (Salad tosser, bronco buster, crazy-legs kneedrop) in short order before X-Pac takes a diamond cutter from Rikishi and a tombstone from Kane finishes quickly, hopefully ending this for good. *1/2 Too Cool and the San Diego Chicken come out to dance, as Kane glances at the chicken suspiciously. However, when Kane goes after the innocent mascot, the REAL deal, Pete Rose, attacks from behind with a baseball bat…and gets killed, as usual. Rikishi rubs his ass in his face for good measure. Well, there’s always next year. – WWF World title: HHH v. The Big Show v. The Rock v. Mick Foley. (Random fact:  Originally it was to be Chris Jericho representing Linda McMahon, but Vince wanted a bigger star and so Foley got drafted out of retirement.)  Big brawl to start. Mick v. HHH and Rock v. Show result. Show tosses HHH & Rock around the ring. Sideslam on Rock, chokeslam on HHH, but Mick nails him in the knee to stop the momentum. All three of the others gang up on the Show. Mick & HHH fight outside as Rocky finishes Big Show quickly with a Rock Bottom for the pin, to no one’s surprise. So we’re down to three. HHH tries reasoning with both men, but the Rock n Sock Connection attacks him. They brawl outside the ring. Rock nails Mick with the ringbell, showing what an idiot Foley is at times. Rock and HHH fight, but Mick finds the barbed-wire 2×4. HHH lowblows him and delivers his own shot with it. HHH tosses Rock, out, but Mick DDTs him and it’s the return of Socko! Rock blasts HHH with the WWF title, but Mick puts the Sock on Rock instead. HHH ballshots them both. Vince passes a chair into the ring as Mick clotheslines Rock for two. Double-arm DDT gets two to freak out the crowd. Rock comes back with a floatover DDT for two. HHH takes him down and Foley helps to beat on him. Foley kneelift gets two. HHH kneedrop gets two. They head outside and Mick tastes the STEEL stairs. HHH nails Rock with those stairs, then puts him on the Spanish table and sends Mick to the 2nd rope. He misses badly, nailing his arm on the table, so HHH improvises and puts Rock through the old-fashioned way: He jumps on him really hard. Back in, HHH turns on Mick and Pedigrees him for two. Chairshot and Pedigree on the chair gets the pin. Well, what the hell was the point of having Mick in there? We’re down to Rock v. HHH, at any rate. Mick comes back and blasts HHH with the 2×4, then leaves for real. It gets two for Rocky. They fight down the aisle, and back to ringside, where Rock charges with the stairs and gets nailed with a chair by HHH. Piledriver on the stairs follows. Ouch. Back in, it gets two. Rock fights back, but HHH escapes the Rock Bottom and tries the Pedigree. Rock backdrops HHH to the floor to escape. Back into the crowd, and then Rock spinebusters HHH on the floor. He suplexes him through the announce table for good measure. HHH hits a drop-toehold to the stairs, however, so Vince snaps and rams HHH into the ringpost. Shane then attacks Vince from behind, ramming a monitor into his head. Vince no-sells and beats on Shane back to the aisle, where Shane smokes Vince with a chairshot. Rock & HHH recover in the ring as Vince is carried off. Rock makes the comeback. DDT gets two. Tilt-a-whirl gets two. HHH comes back with a facebuster and 2×4 shot. Shane comes in and Rock catapults HHH into him to prevent interference. Vince returns and takes Shane out…then turns on the Rock! Chairshot gets two for HHH, and a second one GETS THE PIN?!? The crowd is PISSED. The McMahons reunite (with the exception of Linda), and Rocky makes somewhat good by Rock Bottoming both Vince and Shane, then doing it to Steph and delivering a People’s Elbow to her in addition. But this McMahon nonsense is getting WAY out of hand. I can’t argue with the logic of keeping HHH as the champion, however, even if it was pretty heartbreaking to see the heel actually walk out of Wrestlemania with the title this year. ***1/2 Post-Game highlights: Hardcore Holly calls Michael Cole the Little Goatee Wearing Bitch a shithead, Edge & Christian give a victory speech while still selling the injuries sustained, Mick regrets not being 23 years old when he tried that dive, Pete Rose explains that he’s a competitor, and there’s always next year, and Vince finishes by giving a non-sensical explanation for his turn, which probably boils down to “Watch RAW tomorrow”. The Bottom Line: Bizarre final match booking aside, this was an AWESOME show, featuring a *****, a **** and two ***1/2 matches, and just generally being entertaining for the entire 3 ½ hours. I *think* that they might hotshot the title onto the Rock on RAW, thus getting the biggest rating in history while unopposed. Or maybe another McMahon will win a title, who knows. Huge thumbs up here, at any rate, even if the ending left us all shell-shocked. The SmarK Retro Rant for Wrestlemania 2000 (XVI) – Okay, so we’re back again with a fresh re-rant after a week of reposts. Unless of you’re reading this for the big repost fest on 411 in the year 2024 for the Wrestlemania XL festivities. In which case, I can’t help you. – Live from Anaheim, CA. – Your hosts are JR & King. – This is one reason why the WWF was always better at certain things than WCW was – for instance, I don’t remember most of 1999-2000, so their constant video packages actually make it easy to remember the reasons for the midcard matches. – Opening match: Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan. I barely remember any of this period, with Godfather and D-Lo as twin pimps and Bossman training Bull as a prison guard or something. Ice T raps the black dudes down to the ring, to almost no reaction. Or record sales, judging by how badly “Aggression” bombed. D-Lo starts with Bull and slugs away, but Bull blocks a rollup and D-Lo dropkicks him. Back elbow and Godfather comes in with a slam and a double-team splash/legdrop from the pimps. He misses an elbow and Bossman comes in and pounds Godfather in the corner, getting a clothesline out of the corner, and a back kick for two. Bull comes in and goes with D-Lo, as Brown slugs away in the corner, but Bull hits him with the rebound clothesline that he would go on to screw up 150,000 times before getting fired in 2003. Bossman gets a cheapshot to turn the tide, and the prison guards get a double-sliding punch for two. Bossman gets a big boot and Bull follows with an axe kick for two. They switch off on D-Lo and work him over, and a double elbow gets two for Bossman. King starts talking about the “electric atmosphere” while the crowd sits on their hands for this crap. Bull goes to the bearhug, but D-Lo slugs out, so Bull & Bossman pound him down again. They slug it out and D-Lo goes for a crossbody, but Bossman gets a backbreaker for two. JR makes a reference to an “XFL fair catch”, and BOY you don’t hear those references anymore. Bull comes off the top with a double axehandle and keeps punching, but goes up and crotches himself with help from Godfather. D-Lo follows with a rana, which Bull seems unable to sell properly, and it’s hot tag Godfather. Backdrop and the heels collide, as Bossman misses a charge and Godfather hits him with the Ho Train. D-Lo goes up and gets shoved off by Bull, but he lands on his feet. Dropkick on Bossman, but he walks into the Bossman slam and Bull finishes with a legdrop for the pin at 9:04. INSANELY long and boring. * – Meanwhile, HHH and Stephanie admire their belts. Ah, for the days when Stephanie was Women’s champion and everyone else in the division was so bad that it was a blessing not to have someone who wrestled as champion. – Hardcore Battle Royale: This is a 15-minute match, and whoever is the Hardcore champion when it’s over…is, uh, the Hardcore champion. OK, that sounds stupid, but whatever. So we’ve got Tazz (he used to be a wrestler, you know), Viscera, Pete Gas, Rodney, Joey Abs, Hardcore Holly, Taka, Funaki, Mosh, Thrasher, Faarooq, Bradshaw and of course Crash Holly (RIP). As expected, it’s a big brawl to start, and Tazz hits Crash with a capture suplex for the pin at 0:25 to win the title. So Tazz is now the champion. Viscera rams him into the post and slams him for the title at 1:00. Now see, the psychology is all off here, as everyone should just gang up on the champion in a sane world. Viscera fights with the Mean Street Posse using the Japanese flag as a weapon, but they fight back as people start to catch on. The APA (back when Bradshaw had heterosexual hair) try beating on him, but he fires back with the deadly COOKIE SHEET OF PAIN. Dull segment as everyone stands around outside and hits each other with no rhyme or reason. Bradshaw goes CRAZY with the cookie sheet. Hopefully no one gives him a spatula. Holly gets two on Viscera after a street sign, and so does Mosh. JR notes that “all these young pups taking these head shots will never forget their first Wrestlemania”. Actually, Jim, they probably did, which is kind of the problem. More heads hit with more signs. Into the ring, Viscera lays everyone out with the cookie sheet, which seems to the weapon of choice, but he goes up and gets slammed off by the APA. Faarooq uses a 2×4 to set up a Bradshaw shoulderblock and Kaientai covers to make Funaki the champ at 7:13. Taka turns on him and chases him outside, and they head back to the dressing room, where Rodney pins him at 8:10 to win the title. Joey Abs turns on him and gets a gutwrench at 8:23 for the title. Thrasher sends him into the door for the title at 8:43. Viscera pounds on him with the cookie sheet, and Thrasher stumbles back to the ring, but gets hit by Pete Gas with a fire extinguisher for the title at 9:28. Tazz attacks him and sends him into the post, as he does a gory bladejob, and Tazz suplexes him on the floor to win the title at 10:15 for the second time in the same match. Hardcore Holly sends him into the stairs for two. They slug it out and it’s back to more weapons. Mosh gets two off a cookie sheet. In the ring, the Hollies double-team Tazz, but Crash turns on Hardcore, and Tazz lays him out with the cookie sheet. That gets two. Why even make a cover? JR & King ask the same question. The Hollies keep fighting over who gets to pin Tazz, but Tazz gets another suplex on Crash. Hardcore powerslams Tazz for one, and Crash gets two. Hardcore tosses Crash and gets the DROPKICK OF DEATH on Tazz for two. Tazz hits him with a northern lights suplex and Hardcore bails, and Crash gets another cookie sheet shot on Tazz for the pin at 14:19 to win the title. Tazz comes back with the Tazzmission to a huge pop, but Hardcore breaks it up with a jar of candy and gets two on Crash, but Fink announces Hardcore as the champion. In the grand scheme of things, no one gave a fuck. The time was supposed to have run out, but it didn’t, and Tim White had to pretend Crash kicked out at two, even though he didn’t. I must have been hitting the firewater to give this pile of horseshit *** upon first viewing, as 90% of it was meaningless fighting outside. ½*  (I figured that one would drop rapidly upon rewatching it.)  – Steve Blackman & Al Snow v. Test & Albert. Okay, quick word of explanation here. Blackman and Snow were Head Cheese, as Snow engaged in a quest to find a personality for Blackman. Test & Albert were Trish Stratus’ first stint in the WWF, which just shows how incredibly far she’s come as a character and a worker since her debut in 2000. For one thing, she’s no longer overly muscled and freakishly tanned. Nor does she wear 6 inch lifts in her boots. Test starts with Blackman, but gets superkicked. Snow comes in for a quick double-team and Snow slugs away, but Test clotheslines him and brings in Albert. Test gets the big boot. Snow comes in with an enzuigiri on Albert, but they beat on him in the corner. Albert gets double-teamed in the Head Cheese corner and they get a double-clothesline for two. Snow suplexes him for two. Blackman kicks him down for two as things get REALLY ugly and the match just falls apart. Snow & Blackman work Albert over, but he comes back with a butterfly suplex and makes what appears to be a hot tag for the heels, as Test comes in and cleans house on Head Cheese and gets a sideslam on Snow for two. I don’t get this at all. Double powerbomb on Snow, so devastating that Snow pulls up his tights in mid-sell, gets two. JR apologizes about 18 times for the match as Snow hits Albert with a quebrada outside, and Blackman pounds on Test to set up a Decapitation double-team on Test for two. Albert baldobombs Snow and dumps him, and presses Test onto Blackman for two. JR keeps burying the match as Blackman superkicks Albert, but Albert basically no-sells and Test finishes Blackman with a flying elbow at 6:59 to end the suffering. If this wasn’t in the running for Worst Match of the Year, it should have been. –**  (Poor Test, dude appeared at 3 Wrestlemanias and was involved in some of the biggest fiascos in each one.)  WWF tag title ladder match: The Dudley Boyz v. Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. (I find it interesting to this day how completely the tag team division was stripped down and rebuilt around this time.  The Outlaws and the various super-teams who were dominating for years suddenly disappeared, and these three completely took over for a long time.  Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy to do the same thing on top of the promotion.)  This used to be a FRESH matchup, for those who don’t remember those days. This was also the days when the Dudleyz were the hottest act in tag team wrestling and Bubba still had a southern accent. Edge & Christian were ZERO-time tag team champions at this point. Big brawl outside to start, and Matt starts in the ring with Christian, but gets dropkicked. Next up, D-Von and Edge, as Edge gets a leg lariat and they head out again. Finally, Bubba & Jeff, as Bubba chops him in the corner but gets hit with a corkscrew out of the corner. Bubba backdrops him and gets the Bubba Bomb, and they brawl out again. Back into the ring, as everyone fights it out in various combinations, and Matt tosses a ladder at Bubba, allowing Jeff to slam into it, and it’s the same situation on the other side of the ring with E&C v. D-Von. Matt slams D-Von onto the ladder and hits him with a yodeling elbow. Jeff DDTs Bubba and puts him on the ladder, but misses a 450 splash and splats on it. Wonder why Jeff stopped using that? Bubba retaliates with his senton off the middle ropes (one of the few times it actually hits), and then Edge rides a ladder down from the top, onto another one that’s on Matt. Everyone is out, so D-Von legdrops Edge beneath another ladder. Bubba does the Terry Funk spot with the ladder on his shoulders, but E&C double-dropkick it back at him. They flapjack D-Von into another ladder in the corner, and Christian climbs up a ladder by the apron, hitting Bubba & Matt with a dive to the floor. Jeff makes the first climb for the belts, but Edge spears Matt off the ladder. He climbs next, but Matt brings him down with a Fire Thunder Bomb and climbs himself. D-Von slams him off to break that up and climbs, but Christian tosses a ladder at him to stop it. Now Christian climbs, but Bubba sets up two more ladders and climbs one to chase, bringing him down with a Bubba Cutter off the ladder. The Hardyz swoop in and toss Christian, and then climb up two ladders and hit a splash/legdrop combo on Bubba from the top of them. Edge tosses Jeff, however, and E&C double-suplex D-Von off a pair of ladders. Everyone is out again. Now The Hardyz duel with E&C on the top of two ladders, and they bring each other down. So now the Dudleyz join the fray, and all six guys climb three ladders and fight it out, but Christian & Jeff get dumped over the top, while Edge & Matt get crotched on the top rope, leaving the Dudleyz all alone in the ring. Christian staggers in, so the Dudleyz sandwich him between two ladders and hit Edge with 3D. It’s time for D-Von to get the tables, but that catchphrase didn’t exist yet. So they set up two ladders and put a table on top of them as a makeshift scaffolding, but the Hardy Boyz bring them down again. They all brawl outside and Bubba powerbombs Matt through a table outside, as D-Von misses a splash and puts himself through a table in the ring. Jeff tries a railrunner on Bubba, but walks into a ladder. Bubba then finds an insanely high ladder and sets up a table next to it, but Christian hits him with the bell to put him on the table, and Jeff climbs the ladder and puts Bubba through the table with a swanton bomb to take both guys out of play. In the ring, D-Von suplexes Christian and climbs the structure, but Matt returns to pull him down and hits the Twist of Fate. Matt then climbs, along with Christian, and they slug it out up there until Edge follows them up and gets rid of Matt, and they grab the titles at 22:28, their first reign of seven. Time and perspective have shown that although the match was insanely influential, the rematch at Summerslam 2000 (Tables Ladders & Chairs) was the superior match, and this one had a slower pace and featured too much contrived setting up of the crazy spots. **** – Terri v. The Kat. I don’t even remember the backstory with this, but Terri has Moolah and Kat has Mae Young. Terri is wearing a bodystocking in lieu of tights, as is Kat. Well, at least they’re being honest about it. They fight it out on the mat to start, and special referee Val Venis breaks it up with a kiss. This incites jealousy and the dreaded hairtosses and they roll around a lot. Kat tosses Terri, but Mae Young was busy distracting Val and it continues. Unfortunately. Mae & Moolah get involved, and Terri gets tossed again, but Val is still distracted. Terri gets back in and Kat is out, so Val declares Terri the winner at 2:25. JR told us not to use the star rating system before it started, but I’ve never been good at following orders. –****  (These two actually made Kelly Kelly look like a nuanced worker.)  Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero & Perry Saturn v. Chyna & Too Cool. This was the start of Eddie’s “Latino Heat”, as he spent weeks hitting on Chyna, with no results until the night after Wrestlemania. Eddie starts with Scotty and grabs a headlock, but gets monkey-flipped. Scotty with a backbreaker and some moonwalking, and Chyna comes in, but Eddie hides behind Malenko. Dean comes in and gets clotheslined and Chyna slugs away, before Scotty gets a cheapshot from outside. Grandmaster Sexay comes in with a double-suplex with Chyna, and they get down, which is a truly scary sight. Sexay slams Dean, and Eddie comes back in, but walks into a backdrop suplex. Sexay goes up, but Saturn shoves him off. Saturn then stomps him down and the Radicalz work him over. Eddie gets a suplex, but puts his head down and Scotty 2 Hotty comes back in. He walks right into a hotshot, however, and Eddie keeps making eyes at Chyna. Backdrop suplex and slingshot senton, but he stops to knock Chyna off the apron and gets suplexed by Sexay to the floor as a result. It’s BONZO GONZO in the ring and Scotty puts Saturn in Worm position, and it’s a Double Worm on Saturn & Malenko, back when it was REALLY over. The Radicalz drag him out, however, and send him into the railing, while Chyna pounds on Eddie in the ring. This match is a mess. So back in the ring, it seems like they’ve finally got their shit together and Scotty is the face-in-peril, so Saturn superkicks him and goes up with a flying elbow. Eddie goes up and Scotty crotches him and brings him down with a superplex. Hot tag Chyna, and the Radicalz all have to bump like pinballs for her, as she hits Saturn & Dean with handspring elbows and stereo ballshots. Eddie lays her out, however, but she counters a powerbomb and gets one of her own. The dreaded IRON TESTICULAR CLAW sets up a press slam, and a drop sleeper finishes at 9:39. The stuff with Chyna was ridiculous, especially with a 150-pound woman supposedly able to dead-lift a 220 pound guy, and the match was almost totally lacking in flow. ** – Eurocontinental title match: Kurt Angle v. Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho. The first fall is for the IC title, and the second fall is for the European title. Angle has both titles at this point. The DVD has commentary from all three guys (at the expense of the bitrate), so I’ll listen to Jericho’s commentary for the first fall and Benoit’s for the second fall. I still don’t get why they don’t do more wrestler commentaries for big shows. Benoit shoves Angle into Jericho, but gets clotheslined by Jericho. They all slug it out in the corner, and Jericho elbows Angle down, but Benoit unleashes the chops and Jericho dropkicks him into the corner and out. Jericho dropkicks Angle, but Benoit trips him up on the springboard dropkick and goes after Angle on the apron, but Jericho recovers and dropkicks both of them. Good spot. Jericho is really easy-going and funny on commentary, by the way, riffing on Benoit the whole time and talking about the spots. Angle hotshots Jericho on the stairs and gets two off it back in. Benoit saves and clotheslines Angle for two. Jericho saves and chops Benoit again, as they slug it out in the corner, and then he goes after Angle with a backbreaker, but goes up and gets shoved off into the table by Benoit. Benoit suplexes Angle for two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Jericho comes back in with a dropkick to Benoit and goes up, getting a missile dropkick on Angle for two, but Benoit saves. Jericho talks a bit about how much he likes working with Benoit and how they came up together. Angle suplexes Benoit for two while Jericho talks about working WWF style and working stuff from Japan. Jericho bulldogs Angle for two and gets into another chopfest with Benoit, but Angle suplexes Benoit for two. Jericho saves. Angle takes a powder and Jericho puts Benoit in the camel clutch, then releases to suplex Angle, but Benoit steals a near-fall. Angle slugs away on Jericho, but charges and hits boot, then recovers with a double underhook suplex for two. Benoit gets whipped into Jericho, but Jericho goes for a sunset flip, which Benoit blocks for two. Jericho tries another powerbomb, but Angle reverses to the crossface chickenwing, which he used briefly before discovering the anklelock. Benoit saves. He tosses Angle into the crowd and goes up with the diving headbutt to win the IC title at 7:55. Benoit then tries an immediate cover on Jericho again and gets two, as the European title match begins. Angle suplexes Benoit for two. I switch to Benoit’s commentary now. Angle goes up and gets crotched and Jericho follows, but Benoit crotches HIM and it’s a backdrop superplex, but both are out and Angle follows with a moonsault, which misses. Benoit is talking about the match more in kayfabe than the more-open Jericho. Hey, let’s try Angle. They all get a two-count as Angle admits that he knocked his own wind out of himself on the missed moonsault. Jericho tries the Walls on Angle, but Benoit saves, so Angle slugs away on him and slams him, then goes back to Jericho. Angle’s self-centered commentary is hilarious. Jericho comes back with a leg lariat, hitting Benoit, and then powerbombing Angle for one. Benoit saves with the rolling germans on Jericho for two. Dragon Suplex on Angle gets two. Angle complains that his shoulders weren’t even down. The ref is bumped and Benoit takes Jericho down with the crossface, but releases and gets caught in the Walls. Angle breaks the Walls down with a beltshot and pins Jericho, but only gets two. Benoit & Angle slug it out and Benoit gets a backdrop suplex, but misses the diving headbutt, allowing Jericho to Lionsault him for the pin and the Euro title at 13:46. This match was WAAAAAY ahead of its time, and it’s still a really cool technical exhibition, although Angle’s offense was much weaker in 2000 and the ex-WCW guys were shackled by the then-current WWF style. ***1/2 – Road Dogg & X-Pac v. Rikishi & Kane. (They should actually bring in Sean Waltman to help out Road Dogg on the Are You Serious? show, because it seems like the kind of thing he could pull off pretty easily.)  D-X double-team Rikishi to start, but X-Pac goes after Kane outside and they brawl, and Rikishi gets a quick Stinkface on Road Dogg. Tori (not Torrie) tries to hide from Kane in the ring, but gets caught by Rikishi, and D-X save her from potential ass-eating action. D-X takes a walk, but Kane grabs X-Pac and they all head back to the ring. X-Pac kicks Rikishi down in the corner to set up a broncobuster and Road Dogg comes in to slug away, but Rikishi no-sells the punches. Kneedrop gets two. X-Pac comes in and pounds him with kicks, which Rikishi no-sells, and it’s a Bubba Cutter to set up the tag to Kane. Was that the hot tag? He destroys both D-X guys and backdrops X-Pac, then Paul Bearer brings Tori into the ring for a Stinkface from Rikishi. Tombstone kills X-Pac dead at 4:14. Basically a squash to give Kane revenge for being dumped by Tori. ¾* This all sets up Too Cool and the San Diego chicken coming in for dancing, but Kane doesn’t trust the Chicken. However, the real Pete Rose tries to attack from behind, and gets chokeslammed for his troubles. And then Stinkfaced. I think he earned his spot in the WWE Hall of Fame with this appearance. – WWF title match: Stephanie McMahon v. Vince McMahon v. Shane McMahon v. Linda McMahon. Oh, wait, sorry, that’s just what the ads made it seem like. – WWF title match: HHH v. The Rock v. Big Show v. Mick Foley. This was Mick’s second retirement match, although to his credit he managed to stay retired for another four years after this one. HHH starts with Foley and Show starts with Rock, and they all slug it out, and HHH loses his battle with Mick. Knee in the corner from Foley, but Show clotheslines both of them and knocks Rock down with a forearm. He hiptosses HHH and presses Rock, then hits HHH with more of the same. Notice HHH bumping all over for people. SELLING. Show chokes Rock out in the corner, but Foley jumps on his back, so Show falls back on him. Sideslam for Rock and chokeslam for HHH, but Foley breaks it up with a kick in the shin. So all three guys go after Show and knock him down with clotheslines, then team up to bootfuck him. That alliance doesn’t last, as Mick turns on HHH and hits him with a Cactus clothesline, leaving Rock to slug away on Show in the ring. Show comes back with a big boot as Foley chairs HHH. Mick chairs Show and Rock gets the Rock Bottom to eliminate him at 4:48. So it’s a three-way now, as the Rock N Sock Connection decide to go after HHH while HHH tries to convince each one to turn on the other. It doesn’t work, and it’s beatdown time. They pinball HHH with punches and Foley tosses him, and the beating continues on the floor. Foley whips HHH into a Rock clothesline and Mick grabs the bell, but Rock hits Mick with it by accident. HHH whips Rock into the post to take over and drops him on the railing, but Foley finds his trusty barbed-wire 2×4, so HHH goes low to counter. He beats on Foley with it, but Rock saves. This whole segment is actually really bad. HHH tosses Rock but gets DDT’d by Mick, and it’s Mr. Socko time. Rock lays HHH out with the belt for good measure to set up the People’s Elbow, but Mick opts to go for the Mandible Sock on Rock. HHH breaks that up with a low blow and everyone is out. Vince leaves a chair for Rock, who hits HHH with a clothesline, but Mick clotheslines Rock in turn and gets two. Mick slugs away in the corner and DDTs Rock for two. Rock gets his own for two. Pace is too slow, with too much laying around in between spots. Mick calls for an alliance with HHH to get rid of Rock, and they work him over, as Mick gets a kneelift for two. Double suplex into a HHH kneedrop gets two. Rock gets dumped by Foley, but comes back to whip Mick into the stairs. Mick grabs the stairs and hits Rock with them, visibly winded. HHH & Rock set up on the Spanish announce table and Mick goes up, but misses by a foot and knocks himself out on the table. That was just sad to see. HHH tries to cover by dropping elbows on Rock until the table breaks, but it just looked silly. One poor idiot in the crowd tries to start a “Holy shit” chant. Yeah. In the ring, 2 does of KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finish Foley at 19:40. Mick was totally gassed and obviously done at that point anyway. (I feel like, with the benefit of hindsight, had they wanted Mick to hang around until this show they should have had him win the title at No Way Out with his career on the line.  Then he could have goaded HHH into putting his own career as collateral for a final deciding title match here, where HHH gets the belt and retires Mick in one shot at the biggest stage possible.  And Rock can get his revenge on Big Show in a singles match, or team with Vince against Shane & Show, and you get your Vince turn there.)  So we’re down to HHH v. Rock, which is what they should have booked in the FIRST PLACE. As Mick said later, this was a really sad way for Mick to exit the WWF as a wrestler. He does, however, stop to lay HHH out with the barbed wire before leaving. Rock gets two off that. They slug it out, won by Rock, and HHH gets dumped with a clothesline. Brawl outside and Rock suplexes him on the floor. They head back to ringside, as Rock backdrops him into the ringside area, but HHH uses a chair to counter Rock’s stairs. HHH follows with a piledriver on the stairs and they head back in, where HHH gets two. Rock fights back and backdrops HHH over the top to block a Pedigree, and they fight into the crowd to waste some time. Rock comes back with a spinebuster on the floor, and both guys are out. They head over to the tables and HHH gets suplexed on the surviving one, but comes back to send Rock into the stairs. Vince attacks HHH, however, ramming him into the post and sending him into the ring, but that draws Shane out to attack his father in turn. The match is just dying at this point. Vince no-sells a shot with a monitor like he’s the Undertaker or something, and chases Shane back to the aisle, but falls victim to a chairshot. Meanwhile, there’s a wrestling match going on (in case you forgot) as Rock makes the comeback and DDTs HHH for two. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. HHH comes back with a facecrusher and hits Rock with a weak barbed wire shot, but Rock catapults HHH into Shane. Rock Bottom, but Vince makes a miraculous return as this gets more and more overbooked, but then turns on Rock with a chairshot, and HHH gets two. Another chairshot finishes for HHH at 36:25. Bad match, WAY wrong finish (especially for Wrestlemania), bad finish to begin with, major boredom throughout, and an end to the show that only succeeded in pissing off the crowd. **1/2 The Bottom Line: This was a MAJOR LEAGUE misfire during a very hot period for the WWF, as this was a two-match show and the main event was a huge disappointment. It was also the first time a heel walked out of Wrestlemania with the title, but not the last, as they did the exact same thing the next year and nearly drove themselves into the ground as a result. I can’t recommend it for the show, but the two good matches are good enough, and the bonus disc of the DVD set is excellent, covering about 3 hours of the “Wrestlemania All Day” special that preceded the PPV broadcast (minus the fluff with Ivory) with interviews and history of Wrestlemania, plus memorable matches from the first 15 of them. The show is a recommendation to avoid, the DVD is mildly recommended.

Desert Island

Hey Scott,
Super wrestling nerd question for you. Based off the question on your blog about best Summer Slam and Surviver series cards:
If you were going to a desert island and could only bring one year’s worth of big 4 ppv’s with you, what year do you bring?
I would imagine its 1992 because you had some historic matches at all 4 cards, even though Survivor Series wasn’t great you had the good tag match with Macho/Perfect vs Flair/Razor but 2000 and 2001 would both be a good vintage too. What you think?

Quite the specific question. I’d have to go with 2001, as 2000’s Wrestlemania was pretty disappointing and Summerslam/Survivor Series were forgettable.  Rumble 2001 is quite great, WM X-7 is of course great, and both Summerslam and Survivor Series are very different and interesting because of the Invasion stuff and have some great matches.  92 is also a good choice, but I’ve already seen all the shows from that year a million times each. 

Desert Island

Hey Scott,
Super wrestling nerd question for you. Based off the question on your blog about best Summer Slam and Surviver series cards:
If you were going to a desert island and could only bring one year’s worth of big 4 ppv’s with you, what year do you bring?
I would imagine its 1992 because you had some historic matches at all 4 cards, even though Survivor Series wasn’t great you had the good tag match with Macho/Perfect vs Flair/Razor but 2000 and 2001 would both be a good vintage too. What you think?

Quite the specific question. I’d have to go with 2001, as 2000’s Wrestlemania was pretty disappointing and Summerslam/Survivor Series were forgettable.  Rumble 2001 is quite great, WM X-7 is of course great, and both Summerslam and Survivor Series are very different and interesting because of the Invasion stuff and have some great matches.  92 is also a good choice, but I’ve already seen all the shows from that year a million times each. 

Desert Island

Hey Scott,
Super wrestling nerd question for you. Based off the question on your blog about best Summer Slam and Surviver series cards:
If you were going to a desert island and could only bring one year’s worth of big 4 ppv’s with you, what year do you bring?
I would imagine its 1992 because you had some historic matches at all 4 cards, even though Survivor Series wasn’t great you had the good tag match with Macho/Perfect vs Flair/Razor but 2000 and 2001 would both be a good vintage too. What you think?

Quite the specific question. I’d have to go with 2001, as 2000’s Wrestlemania was pretty disappointing and Summerslam/Survivor Series were forgettable.  Rumble 2001 is quite great, WM X-7 is of course great, and both Summerslam and Survivor Series are very different and interesting because of the Invasion stuff and have some great matches.  92 is also a good choice, but I’ve already seen all the shows from that year a million times each. 

Desert Island

Hey Scott,
Super wrestling nerd question for you. Based off the question on your blog about best Summer Slam and Surviver series cards:
If you were going to a desert island and could only bring one year’s worth of big 4 ppv’s with you, what year do you bring?
I would imagine its 1992 because you had some historic matches at all 4 cards, even though Survivor Series wasn’t great you had the good tag match with Macho/Perfect vs Flair/Razor but 2000 and 2001 would both be a good vintage too. What you think?

Quite the specific question. I’d have to go with 2001, as 2000’s Wrestlemania was pretty disappointing and Summerslam/Survivor Series were forgettable.  Rumble 2001 is quite great, WM X-7 is of course great, and both Summerslam and Survivor Series are very different and interesting because of the Invasion stuff and have some great matches.  92 is also a good choice, but I’ve already seen all the shows from that year a million times each. 

Desert Island

Hey Scott,
Super wrestling nerd question for you. Based off the question on your blog about best Summer Slam and Surviver series cards:
If you were going to a desert island and could only bring one year’s worth of big 4 ppv’s with you, what year do you bring?
I would imagine its 1992 because you had some historic matches at all 4 cards, even though Survivor Series wasn’t great you had the good tag match with Macho/Perfect vs Flair/Razor but 2000 and 2001 would both be a good vintage too. What you think?

Quite the specific question. I’d have to go with 2001, as 2000’s Wrestlemania was pretty disappointing and Summerslam/Survivor Series were forgettable.  Rumble 2001 is quite great, WM X-7 is of course great, and both Summerslam and Survivor Series are very different and interesting because of the Invasion stuff and have some great matches.  92 is also a good choice, but I’ve already seen all the shows from that year a million times each. 

Desert Island

Hey Scott,
Super wrestling nerd question for you. Based off the question on your blog about best Summer Slam and Surviver series cards:
If you were going to a desert island and could only bring one year’s worth of big 4 ppv’s with you, what year do you bring?
I would imagine its 1992 because you had some historic matches at all 4 cards, even though Survivor Series wasn’t great you had the good tag match with Macho/Perfect vs Flair/Razor but 2000 and 2001 would both be a good vintage too. What you think?

Quite the specific question. I’d have to go with 2001, as 2000’s Wrestlemania was pretty disappointing and Summerslam/Survivor Series were forgettable.  Rumble 2001 is quite great, WM X-7 is of course great, and both Summerslam and Survivor Series are very different and interesting because of the Invasion stuff and have some great matches.  92 is also a good choice, but I’ve already seen all the shows from that year a million times each. 

Desert Island

Hey Scott,
Super wrestling nerd question for you. Based off the question on your blog about best Summer Slam and Surviver series cards:
If you were going to a desert island and could only bring one year’s worth of big 4 ppv’s with you, what year do you bring?
I would imagine its 1992 because you had some historic matches at all 4 cards, even though Survivor Series wasn’t great you had the good tag match with Macho/Perfect vs Flair/Razor but 2000 and 2001 would both be a good vintage too. What you think?

Quite the specific question. I’d have to go with 2001, as 2000’s Wrestlemania was pretty disappointing and Summerslam/Survivor Series were forgettable.  Rumble 2001 is quite great, WM X-7 is of course great, and both Summerslam and Survivor Series are very different and interesting because of the Invasion stuff and have some great matches.  92 is also a good choice, but I’ve already seen all the shows from that year a million times each. 

ROH TV 3-10-12

Ring of Honor’s March 10th episode kicks off by introducing the “Blind Destiny Challenge”, building toward a challenger for the main even of the second night of this months iPPV double-header Showdown in the Sun. Not only does it leave the question open of who is going to challenge for the ROH title, but of who they’re going to challenge against, or whether that match will be for the title at all…

We kick off with Jim Cornette explaining that he wants to have a title match for both nights of Showdown, and thus he explains the Blind Destiny Challenge. Or at least I think that’s the idea. In theory this sounds like some intriguing booking that has probably never been seen before; in explanation it sounds like something Vince Russo and Jesse Baker would cook up while rolling on Ecstasy with the writers from Lost. On March 30th, we will have the triple threat match booked last week between Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, and Roderick Strong. All three of those guys will have singles matches on the 31st. The winner between Kevin Steen and Adam Cole will face Eddie Edwards. The winner of Michael Elgin vs. Kyle O’Reilly will face Davey Richards. Either Jay Lethal or Kenny King will face Roderick Strong. These matches will all happen. However, if I’ve got this right (and after watching the segment three times, I kind of think I do), whoever leaves with the title on the 30th will be defending against his chosen opponent for the 31st; the other two matches will mean nothing. So, basically, with this show we’ll be seeing people qualify for a 1-in-3 chance of getting a shot at a title. Imagine all of that being explained in Jim Cornette’s hyperactive babble and you’ll see why it’s so headache inducing. The upshot is that it’s leaving a wider variety of people in the World title picture than just Richards, Edwards, and Strong. The downside is that in most of those cases, the match will either be one-sided or underwhelming for a World title match. You can also basically discount King winning his qualifier (since the All Night Express have matches against The Young Bucks booked both nights) and Steen competing for the title (because that’s for another time with more buildup). So with that…

Funny moment in one of the bumper segments promoting Showdown: ANX are interviewing with Kevin Kelly about their “Dual Duel” (that’s the kind of name that needs trademarking) against the Young Bucks. Their match on the 30th is a street fight, which Kenny King brushes off because “the Bucks are from Rancho Cucamonga, they play hopscotch in the streets out there”. Meanwhile, King is from the Dr. Phillips-Windermere area of Orlando, where I happened to personally know some preppie white kids who knew him growing up and said that he used to get picked on by all the dweeby rich kids in the neighborhood. So, yknow, glass houses and all that. That segues into a Kenny King solo promo and we kick off with his qualifier against Jay Lethal. There wasn’t much to this match, despite both guys being talented and similar in styles. A lot of stand up strikes, and a few high flying spots, nothing leading to much. Roderick Strong and Truth Martini came out to the entrance to scout toward the middle. He didn’t interfere, as I expected he wouldn’t, because he really has no dog in that fight. The cloest he comes to having a beef with Lethal is that Elgin inadvertantly cost Lethal his match against Davey. Strong would be more likely to want to see King take it since ANX are already booked for matches both nights. In any event, he was a non factor, as Lethal took the win by reversing a bridged O’Connor roll into a waistlock pin. There was enough here to keep the match moving, and Lethal/Roddy should be more interesting.

Adam Cole vs. Kevin Steen was next, which could have easily been the main event. The winner of this one faces Eddie Edwards, which raises some interesting drama. Cole of course is now Eddie’s partner, whereas Steen and Eddie have a common enemy (or frenemy or whatever in Eddies case) in Davey Richards. If there’s any ding against Steen in this match, it’s that he dominated a little too heavily against Cole. Steen’s brawling/devastating power move style works well against jobbers or else in long form matches where his opponent has more of a chance to take over. It was still great to watch against Cole here but it didn’t do Cole any favors. Cole threw enough reversals and cut-off comebacks that it wasn’t really a squash, but the match was mostly Steen in control. It’s fun to see where Steen is at in terms of his style: he’s really not that big in a general sense but he outweighs most of the ROH roster, so it’s easy for him to do big powerlifts and things like the front-press into a powerbomb he did here. But also, he’s still agile enough to do things like a springboard moonsault and a running upside down senton into Cole, seated in the corner. Steen ended with the F-Sanc, and then continued the beatdown until Eddie came out to make the save. Definitely worth checking out, if only because Steen’s Bruiser Brody style is really fun to watch.

Eddie vs. Steen is an intriguing proposition. Both have issues with Davey, who is more than likely going to feud with Steen, culminating at Final Battle this year. Eddie would be a good choice to keep Steen busy throughout the summer. There is something to the idea that, while Eddie has been on the verge of turning on Davey for a year now, he still is basically a face and still doesn’t have an outright hatred of Davey. How will he react when he’s in a position where he has to get in the way of Steen, who is hot to outright destroy Davey and hold ROH hostage? Will Steen try and bring Eddie all the way over on to his side? Or will Eddie’s battles with Steen help build the bridge between he and Davey? I hope that this issue between Edwards and Steen goes beyond this month, because it’s a ripe opportunity for storylines.

The last qualifier is between Kyle O’Reilly and Michael Elgin. The winner will face Davey Richards (KO’s trainer and Elgin’s enemy from the House of Truth). Davey joins us on commentary here, and I’d like to note, was awesome at it. He called moves, explained pxychology, referred to history with both himself and Nigel, and gave commentary to KO’s performance. He didn’t just blandly cheer him on though: he was critiquing the mistakes he made and explaining what the next move he should make would be. If Davey ever gets injured, sitting in the commentary booth would be a great way for him to keep busy. As for the match, it was great, and way better than I expected. KO and Elgin are both newish to the business, and they both have different styles. Elgin always comes off as a powerful beast in ROH. I find that kind of funny, since he’s 5’10 and 245 lbs., which makes him about on par, size wise, with Taz. Yet, much like Steen, he can throw around most of the smaller ROH roster. He’s also developing a great repertoire of unique power moves. At different points he was doing big suplexes, side slams, and even rolled through a small package into a version of Matt Morgan’s Hellevator. He’s still pretty charisma-deficient, but he is definitely finding his groove in the ring. It played well against KO, who did more of the plucky underdog thing that his former partner did against Steen in the last match. He continually used his kicks to try and go toe-to-toe against Elgin, and caught the kinds of submissions that can neutralize Elgin’s power. Repeatedly he tried for a guillotine choke, including coming out of a tornado DDT position. Strong and Martini attempted to interfere on a few occasions, which finally brought Davey out of the booth to brawl it out with Roddy. During the last portion of this, Elgin caught KO with the spinning sitout powerbomb. I don’t much expect Davey to lose on the 30th, so unless my instincts are off, we can expect Richards/Elgin for the title on the 31st.

All in all the wrestling on this show was great for fans of power moves, and not so much for those who aren’t. I am a fan of power moves, and I enjoyed it because of that. While some of the booking was convoluted or fell flat, it all will lead to more interesting scenarios on the 31st. That’s the thing about ROH: at their worst they’re still better than most. Don’t take my word for it: go to ROHwrestling.com and check it out for yourself.

ROH TV 3-10-12

Ring of Honor’s March 10th episode kicks off by introducing the “Blind Destiny Challenge”, building toward a challenger for the main even of the second night of this months iPPV double-header Showdown in the Sun. Not only does it leave the question open of who is going to challenge for the ROH title, but of who they’re going to challenge against, or whether that match will be for the title at all…

We kick off with Jim Cornette explaining that he wants to have a title match for both nights of Showdown, and thus he explains the Blind Destiny Challenge. Or at least I think that’s the idea. In theory this sounds like some intriguing booking that has probably never been seen before; in explanation it sounds like something Vince Russo and Jesse Baker would cook up while rolling on Ecstasy with the writers from Lost. On March 30th, we will have the triple threat match booked last week between Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, and Roderick Strong. All three of those guys will have singles matches on the 31st. The winner between Kevin Steen and Adam Cole will face Eddie Edwards. The winner of Michael Elgin vs. Kyle O’Reilly will face Davey Richards. Either Jay Lethal or Kenny King will face Roderick Strong. These matches will all happen. However, if I’ve got this right (and after watching the segment three times, I kind of think I do), whoever leaves with the title on the 30th will be defending against his chosen opponent for the 31st; the other two matches will mean nothing. So, basically, with this show we’ll be seeing people qualify for a 1-in-3 chance of getting a shot at a title. Imagine all of that being explained in Jim Cornette’s hyperactive babble and you’ll see why it’s so headache inducing. The upshot is that it’s leaving a wider variety of people in the World title picture than just Richards, Edwards, and Strong. The downside is that in most of those cases, the match will either be one-sided or underwhelming for a World title match. You can also basically discount King winning his qualifier (since the All Night Express have matches against The Young Bucks booked both nights) and Steen competing for the title (because that’s for another time with more buildup). So with that…

Funny moment in one of the bumper segments promoting Showdown: ANX are interviewing with Kevin Kelly about their “Dual Duel” (that’s the kind of name that needs trademarking) against the Young Bucks. Their match on the 30th is a street fight, which Kenny King brushes off because “the Bucks are from Rancho Cucamonga, they play hopscotch in the streets out there”. Meanwhile, King is from the Dr. Phillips-Windermere area of Orlando, where I happened to personally know some preppie white kids who knew him growing up and said that he used to get picked on by all the dweeby rich kids in the neighborhood. So, yknow, glass houses and all that. That segues into a Kenny King solo promo and we kick off with his qualifier against Jay Lethal. There wasn’t much to this match, despite both guys being talented and similar in styles. A lot of stand up strikes, and a few high flying spots, nothing leading to much. Roderick Strong and Truth Martini came out to the entrance to scout toward the middle. He didn’t interfere, as I expected he wouldn’t, because he really has no dog in that fight. The cloest he comes to having a beef with Lethal is that Elgin inadvertantly cost Lethal his match against Davey. Strong would be more likely to want to see King take it since ANX are already booked for matches both nights. In any event, he was a non factor, as Lethal took the win by reversing a bridged O’Connor roll into a waistlock pin. There was enough here to keep the match moving, and Lethal/Roddy should be more interesting.

Adam Cole vs. Kevin Steen was next, which could have easily been the main event. The winner of this one faces Eddie Edwards, which raises some interesting drama. Cole of course is now Eddie’s partner, whereas Steen and Eddie have a common enemy (or frenemy or whatever in Eddies case) in Davey Richards. If there’s any ding against Steen in this match, it’s that he dominated a little too heavily against Cole. Steen’s brawling/devastating power move style works well against jobbers or else in long form matches where his opponent has more of a chance to take over. It was still great to watch against Cole here but it didn’t do Cole any favors. Cole threw enough reversals and cut-off comebacks that it wasn’t really a squash, but the match was mostly Steen in control. It’s fun to see where Steen is at in terms of his style: he’s really not that big in a general sense but he outweighs most of the ROH roster, so it’s easy for him to do big powerlifts and things like the front-press into a powerbomb he did here. But also, he’s still agile enough to do things like a springboard moonsault and a running upside down senton into Cole, seated in the corner. Steen ended with the F-Sanc, and then continued the beatdown until Eddie came out to make the save. Definitely worth checking out, if only because Steen’s Bruiser Brody style is really fun to watch.

Eddie vs. Steen is an intriguing proposition. Both have issues with Davey, who is more than likely going to feud with Steen, culminating at Final Battle this year. Eddie would be a good choice to keep Steen busy throughout the summer. There is something to the idea that, while Eddie has been on the verge of turning on Davey for a year now, he still is basically a face and still doesn’t have an outright hatred of Davey. How will he react when he’s in a position where he has to get in the way of Steen, who is hot to outright destroy Davey and hold ROH hostage? Will Steen try and bring Eddie all the way over on to his side? Or will Eddie’s battles with Steen help build the bridge between he and Davey? I hope that this issue between Edwards and Steen goes beyond this month, because it’s a ripe opportunity for storylines.

The last qualifier is between Kyle O’Reilly and Michael Elgin. The winner will face Davey Richards (KO’s trainer and Elgin’s enemy from the House of Truth). Davey joins us on commentary here, and I’d like to note, was awesome at it. He called moves, explained pxychology, referred to history with both himself and Nigel, and gave commentary to KO’s performance. He didn’t just blandly cheer him on though: he was critiquing the mistakes he made and explaining what the next move he should make would be. If Davey ever gets injured, sitting in the commentary booth would be a great way for him to keep busy. As for the match, it was great, and way better than I expected. KO and Elgin are both newish to the business, and they both have different styles. Elgin always comes off as a powerful beast in ROH. I find that kind of funny, since he’s 5’10 and 245 lbs., which makes him about on par, size wise, with Taz. Yet, much like Steen, he can throw around most of the smaller ROH roster. He’s also developing a great repertoire of unique power moves. At different points he was doing big suplexes, side slams, and even rolled through a small package into a version of Matt Morgan’s Hellevator. He’s still pretty charisma-deficient, but he is definitely finding his groove in the ring. It played well against KO, who did more of the plucky underdog thing that his former partner did against Steen in the last match. He continually used his kicks to try and go toe-to-toe against Elgin, and caught the kinds of submissions that can neutralize Elgin’s power. Repeatedly he tried for a guillotine choke, including coming out of a tornado DDT position. Strong and Martini attempted to interfere on a few occasions, which finally brought Davey out of the booth to brawl it out with Roddy. During the last portion of this, Elgin caught KO with the spinning sitout powerbomb. I don’t much expect Davey to lose on the 30th, so unless my instincts are off, we can expect Richards/Elgin for the title on the 31st.

All in all the wrestling on this show was great for fans of power moves, and not so much for those who aren’t. I am a fan of power moves, and I enjoyed it because of that. While some of the booking was convoluted or fell flat, it all will lead to more interesting scenarios on the 31st. That’s the thing about ROH: at their worst they’re still better than most. Don’t take my word for it: go to ROHwrestling.com and check it out for yourself.

Smackdown – March 16, 2012

Smackdown
Date: March 16, 2012
Location: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Commentators: Michael Cole, Booker T, Josh Matthews

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

It’s that time of the week again. It’s time for absolutely nothing being done about Bryan vs. Sheamus because that match means nothing in the grand scheme of Wrestlemania. Odds are we’ll hear more about the battling GM’s and that’s about it. I haven’t heard anything announced for tonight yet so it’ll be a surprise to me as well. Let’s get to it.

Do You Know Your Enemy? Mine at the moment is Iowa St. They need to be defeated Saturday.

Here’s Christian to open the show with the Peep Show. He looks healthy now at least. Christian gets a nice reaction but Booker informs us that Christian is looking down at all of us. He talks about the 12 man tag match at Mania and says that it’ll change a lot in WWE. Christian brings out Ace and Otunga as well as Teddy who comes out with Aksana. R-Truth is officially part of Team Long.

Christian says let the bidding begin on his services and Teddy gets to go first. Teddy looks at him so Christian goes on a small rant and says make it worth his while. He says to give Christian what he deserves: one more match. Teddy tells Christian he’s awesome but won’t beg him to be part of the team. Once Teddy takes over both shows, you have to earn title shots and they won’t get one if they get on his nerves. So in other words, earn it, but make sure you suck up at the same time?

Ace says that Christian should be on his team and guarantees Christian a title match if Team Ace wins. Christian says he won’t fail, unlike Teddy. He officially joins Team Ace. Christian’s music plays but Teddy says hang on a minute. He says Christian will be in action tonight but Ace says no because he isn’t medically cleared tonight. Instead, Otunga gets to face the newest member of Team Teddy.

David Otunga vs. Kofi Kingston

This is joined in progress as we come back from a break. Ace is on commentary and Christian and Santino are at ringside. Teddy is on commentary too. Kofi kicks away to start but Otunga avoids him to take over. Cole and Teddy argue as Otunga pounds away. Christian can’t compete because of an ingrown toenail. Powerslam gets two for David. Teddy and Ace argue about ingrown toenails as Otunga poses.

Off to a chinlock as Cole talks about baseball. Thankfully Josh actually talks about the match even a little bit to get us back to some sanity. Otunga hits a clothesline in the corner and then a second one. Booker says Otunga would have been better off in the WBF. That’s allowed to be mentioned? Kofi comes back with a cross body for two and a dropkick to put David down. He loads up the Boom Drop but Christian trips Kofi. Teddy points it out so Christian is ejected. The GM’s argue and Cole says something about the IC Title. Otunta tries to hit Kofi with his belt but Santino stops him. Trouble in Paradise ends this at 5:40.

Rating: C-. In a roughly five and a half minute match, we had attempted weapon use, two interferences, a fight between the GM’s, and a WBF reference. Who in the world thought this match needed that much to it? The match was just ok and it’s good to see Otunga getting some time to be on offense.

Bryan is outside the Divas locker room and AJ comes out in a little black dress. AJ says this dress Bryan bought her doesn’t seem to fit. Bryan: “It looked much better on the mannequin.” Bryan talks about how they need to be the new power couple so he’s gotten her a match tonight where a win could get her a Divas title match.

AJ vs. Nikki Bella

Bryan comes out to be in AJ’s corner. Nikki gets on her knees because AJ is short so AJ dropkicks her in the face. Bryan is coaching AJ from the floor. Nikki stands on AJ’s hair and pulls her up. Booker thinks AJ doesn’t want to be in the ring. Off to a chinlock as Booker goes on a long and stupid rant about how AJ shouldn’t be in there and doesn’t want this. Josh and Cole agree that it’s stupid because she’s a wrestler and that’s her job. AJ comes back with a cross body and Twin Magic fails. AJ grabs a rollup for the pin at 2:27.

Bryan celebrates post match. Booker says Bryan is ruining AJ’s career and that wasn’t a win. WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT???

Sheamus vs. Jericho later.

Raw ReBound shortens the Rap vs. Rock deal to about three minutes.

Cody talks about how dominant Big Show is 364 days out of the year, but at Wrestlemania he’s a choke artist. This match also has more story than Sheamus vs. Bryan.

Great Khali vs. Cody Rhodes

Khali easily overpowers him to start and chops Rhodes a lot. Cody grabs a single arm DDT which Khali can’t sell right so Cody works over the arm. Booker says go for the legs, even though Cody has Khali down already. Now it’s to the knees for a bit but Cody goes up and jumps into a chop. Khali loads up a chop but Cody heads to the apron and hits an enziguri. A dropkick to the knee sets up the Beautiful Disaster for the pin at 3:13.

Rating: C-. Cody beating a giant is a good idea heading into Wrestlemania. It worked for Luger when he was getting ready to face Giant back in 1996. It might work a littl ebetter if there was more than one face giant to face before Big Show but you get the idea. Cole called this a huge upset for no apparent reason.

Video on the Central American tour.

Here’s Orton with something to say. He says he usually doesn’t come out here to talk when he has a problem with someone but instead he hunts them down. However he feels like he’s being hunted by Kane. Orton wants to know why Kane has chosen him. Kane wants people to embrace hate and Orton is embracing it as well. He calls out Kane for an explanation. Well forced exposition is better than no exposition I guess. Orton wants to know why he’s putting Kane down when it eventually happens.

Here’s the Big Fried Freak who talks about how Orton doesn’t like being in the unknown. Usually he’d like to see Orton all unsure but since Orton asked, Kane will tell him. At least he’s polite. We get a clip from last year where Orton beat Kane in a street fight and post match Kane offered a handshake which Orton accepted. I don’t remember that but maybe it was a post show thing.

Kane says he watches that footage every day because it reminds him of what he had become: something with humanity. Kane says he’s a monster again but he needs closure, which he’ll get by destroying Orton. Orton says come get me but Kane says we’ll do it at Wrestlemania. That gets us to eight matches which is acceptable.

Go to the David Otunga law offices!

Here’s Drew for a match. Teddy pops up on screen and says Drew has a one year contract that can’t be broken. Here’s Drew’s first opponent.

Drew McIntyre vs. Big Show

Show powers him around to start with pure power. McIntyre comes back with some kicks but Futureshock is broken up and Show spears him down. Show chokeslams him but decides to punch him instead of covering him. Show goes over to him and the referee stops it at 1:52. That’s an odd ending.

Mark Henry vs. Yoshi Tatsu

Yoshi immediately dropkicks him but Henry glares at him. Henry takes over with power and powerslams Yoshi into dust. World’s Strongest Slam ends this in about 2:00.

Here’s Jericho to talk a bit before the main event. He talks about how he’s been requested to apologize for what he said on Monday about Punk’s family. There’s no need to apologize for the truth. Punk has all the signs of an alcoholic such as the tattoos and trying to hide. Jericho talks about how the Pipe Bombs are things Punk wants to say to his parents. He’s the best in the world and he’s going to prove it by winning the world title at Mania. Afterwards, he’s going to make a stiff cocktail and toast Punk and Punk’s father. He starts a CM Drunk chant and says Pipe Bomb.

Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho

Sheamus knocks him into the corner to start and Jericho bails to the floor. That goes nowhere as Sheamus takes him back inside and gets two. Jericho gets sent over the corner and out to the floor in a crash. There are the ten forearms to the chest which Booker calls musical chairs. A delayed vertical suplex gets two for Sheamus. This has been one sided thus far.

Just as I say that, Jericho low bridges him to send Sheamus to the floor. A baseball slide sends Sheamus into the barricade. Bryan and AJ (now in matching colors) come out to watch as we take a break. Back with Jericho still in control. The big red welt on Sheamus’ back is still there after crashing into the table on Monday. Jericho hits a belly to back suplex as we hear about Jericho’s Vengeance 2001 accomplishments.

Jericho loads up the running bulldog but Sheamus sends him into the corner to counter. Sheamus comes back with his double ax handles and the Irish Curse for two. The rolling fireman’s carry slam looks to set up White Noise but Jericho counters into a Codebreaker attempt. Sheamus puts him on the top rope but the Brogue Kick misses. Jericho hits the bulldog and Lionsault for two. Sheamus pulls himself to the top but gets crotched. Jericho gets knocked to the mat and Sheamus hits the top rope shoulder for two.

Celtic Cross is loaded up but Jericho rolls down the back and counters into the Walls. Since Sheamus is a top face though he manages to get the ropes to break it up. Another Celtic Cross is loaded up but Jericho escapes again. They go to the floor and Sheamus throws Jericho over towards Bryan and AJ but they move. Sheamus stares at Bryan but Jericho rams him into the table. Bryan kicks Sheamus in the head as Jericho is getting back in and Chris wins by countout at 10:52 shown of 14:22.

Rating: B. I was digging this one and I can live with the ending because it serves a better purpose. It was obvious neither guy was going to go over clean here which is ok, but they still need to give us something else to care about with Sheamus vs. Bryan. The AJ stuff is kind of there on the side and I don’t know if they’re going to be able to have it mean anything for the PPV.

Sheamus kicks Jericho’s head off to end the show.

Overall Rating: B. I like this one more than I’ve liked most of their shows lately. This did a good job of pushing a lot of the matches for Mania which is really all you can do with two weeks left. Orton vs. Kane has a story (not a great one but a story nonetheless) now and we FINALLY get a little friction between Bryan vs. Sheamus. It doesn’t mean anything but it’s better than leaving them apart. Good show here though and a good Mania build show.

Results
Kofi Kingston b. David Otunga – Trouble in Paradise
AJ b. Nikki Bella – Rollup
Cody Rhodes b. Great Khali – Beautiful Disaster
Big Show b. Drew McIntyre by referee stoppage
Mark Henry b. Yoshi Tatsu – World’s Strongest Slam
Chris Jericho b. Sheamus via countout

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Smackdown – March 16, 2012

Smackdown
Date: March 16, 2012
Location: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Commentators: Michael Cole, Booker T, Josh Matthews

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

It’s that time of the week again. It’s time for absolutely nothing being done about Bryan vs. Sheamus because that match means nothing in the grand scheme of Wrestlemania. Odds are we’ll hear more about the battling GM’s and that’s about it. I haven’t heard anything announced for tonight yet so it’ll be a surprise to me as well. Let’s get to it.

Do You Know Your Enemy? Mine at the moment is Iowa St. They need to be defeated Saturday.

Here’s Christian to open the show with the Peep Show. He looks healthy now at least. Christian gets a nice reaction but Booker informs us that Christian is looking down at all of us. He talks about the 12 man tag match at Mania and says that it’ll change a lot in WWE. Christian brings out Ace and Otunga as well as Teddy who comes out with Aksana. R-Truth is officially part of Team Long.

Christian says let the bidding begin on his services and Teddy gets to go first. Teddy looks at him so Christian goes on a small rant and says make it worth his while. He says to give Christian what he deserves: one more match. Teddy tells Christian he’s awesome but won’t beg him to be part of the team. Once Teddy takes over both shows, you have to earn title shots and they won’t get one if they get on his nerves. So in other words, earn it, but make sure you suck up at the same time?

Ace says that Christian should be on his team and guarantees Christian a title match if Team Ace wins. Christian says he won’t fail, unlike Teddy. He officially joins Team Ace. Christian’s music plays but Teddy says hang on a minute. He says Christian will be in action tonight but Ace says no because he isn’t medically cleared tonight. Instead, Otunga gets to face the newest member of Team Teddy.

David Otunga vs. Kofi Kingston

This is joined in progress as we come back from a break. Ace is on commentary and Christian and Santino are at ringside. Teddy is on commentary too. Kofi kicks away to start but Otunga avoids him to take over. Cole and Teddy argue as Otunga pounds away. Christian can’t compete because of an ingrown toenail. Powerslam gets two for David. Teddy and Ace argue about ingrown toenails as Otunga poses.

Off to a chinlock as Cole talks about baseball. Thankfully Josh actually talks about the match even a little bit to get us back to some sanity. Otunga hits a clothesline in the corner and then a second one. Booker says Otunga would have been better off in the WBF. That’s allowed to be mentioned? Kofi comes back with a cross body for two and a dropkick to put David down. He loads up the Boom Drop but Christian trips Kofi. Teddy points it out so Christian is ejected. The GM’s argue and Cole says something about the IC Title. Otunta tries to hit Kofi with his belt but Santino stops him. Trouble in Paradise ends this at 5:40.

Rating: C-. In a roughly five and a half minute match, we had attempted weapon use, two interferences, a fight between the GM’s, and a WBF reference. Who in the world thought this match needed that much to it? The match was just ok and it’s good to see Otunga getting some time to be on offense.

Bryan is outside the Divas locker room and AJ comes out in a little black dress. AJ says this dress Bryan bought her doesn’t seem to fit. Bryan: “It looked much better on the mannequin.” Bryan talks about how they need to be the new power couple so he’s gotten her a match tonight where a win could get her a Divas title match.

AJ vs. Nikki Bella

Bryan comes out to be in AJ’s corner. Nikki gets on her knees because AJ is short so AJ dropkicks her in the face. Bryan is coaching AJ from the floor. Nikki stands on AJ’s hair and pulls her up. Booker thinks AJ doesn’t want to be in the ring. Off to a chinlock as Booker goes on a long and stupid rant about how AJ shouldn’t be in there and doesn’t want this. Josh and Cole agree that it’s stupid because she’s a wrestler and that’s her job. AJ comes back with a cross body and Twin Magic fails. AJ grabs a rollup for the pin at 2:27.

Bryan celebrates post match. Booker says Bryan is ruining AJ’s career and that wasn’t a win. WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT???

Sheamus vs. Jericho later.

Raw ReBound shortens the Rap vs. Rock deal to about three minutes.

Cody talks about how dominant Big Show is 364 days out of the year, but at Wrestlemania he’s a choke artist. This match also has more story than Sheamus vs. Bryan.

Great Khali vs. Cody Rhodes

Khali easily overpowers him to start and chops Rhodes a lot. Cody grabs a single arm DDT which Khali can’t sell right so Cody works over the arm. Booker says go for the legs, even though Cody has Khali down already. Now it’s to the knees for a bit but Cody goes up and jumps into a chop. Khali loads up a chop but Cody heads to the apron and hits an enziguri. A dropkick to the knee sets up the Beautiful Disaster for the pin at 3:13.

Rating: C-. Cody beating a giant is a good idea heading into Wrestlemania. It worked for Luger when he was getting ready to face Giant back in 1996. It might work a littl ebetter if there was more than one face giant to face before Big Show but you get the idea. Cole called this a huge upset for no apparent reason.

Video on the Central American tour.

Here’s Orton with something to say. He says he usually doesn’t come out here to talk when he has a problem with someone but instead he hunts them down. However he feels like he’s being hunted by Kane. Orton wants to know why Kane has chosen him. Kane wants people to embrace hate and Orton is embracing it as well. He calls out Kane for an explanation. Well forced exposition is better than no exposition I guess. Orton wants to know why he’s putting Kane down when it eventually happens.

Here’s the Big Fried Freak who talks about how Orton doesn’t like being in the unknown. Usually he’d like to see Orton all unsure but since Orton asked, Kane will tell him. At least he’s polite. We get a clip from last year where Orton beat Kane in a street fight and post match Kane offered a handshake which Orton accepted. I don’t remember that but maybe it was a post show thing.

Kane says he watches that footage every day because it reminds him of what he had become: something with humanity. Kane says he’s a monster again but he needs closure, which he’ll get by destroying Orton. Orton says come get me but Kane says we’ll do it at Wrestlemania. That gets us to eight matches which is acceptable.

Go to the David Otunga law offices!

Here’s Drew for a match. Teddy pops up on screen and says Drew has a one year contract that can’t be broken. Here’s Drew’s first opponent.

Drew McIntyre vs. Big Show

Show powers him around to start with pure power. McIntyre comes back with some kicks but Futureshock is broken up and Show spears him down. Show chokeslams him but decides to punch him instead of covering him. Show goes over to him and the referee stops it at 1:52. That’s an odd ending.

Mark Henry vs. Yoshi Tatsu

Yoshi immediately dropkicks him but Henry glares at him. Henry takes over with power and powerslams Yoshi into dust. World’s Strongest Slam ends this in about 2:00.

Here’s Jericho to talk a bit before the main event. He talks about how he’s been requested to apologize for what he said on Monday about Punk’s family. There’s no need to apologize for the truth. Punk has all the signs of an alcoholic such as the tattoos and trying to hide. Jericho talks about how the Pipe Bombs are things Punk wants to say to his parents. He’s the best in the world and he’s going to prove it by winning the world title at Mania. Afterwards, he’s going to make a stiff cocktail and toast Punk and Punk’s father. He starts a CM Drunk chant and says Pipe Bomb.

Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho

Sheamus knocks him into the corner to start and Jericho bails to the floor. That goes nowhere as Sheamus takes him back inside and gets two. Jericho gets sent over the corner and out to the floor in a crash. There are the ten forearms to the chest which Booker calls musical chairs. A delayed vertical suplex gets two for Sheamus. This has been one sided thus far.

Just as I say that, Jericho low bridges him to send Sheamus to the floor. A baseball slide sends Sheamus into the barricade. Bryan and AJ (now in matching colors) come out to watch as we take a break. Back with Jericho still in control. The big red welt on Sheamus’ back is still there after crashing into the table on Monday. Jericho hits a belly to back suplex as we hear about Jericho’s Vengeance 2001 accomplishments.

Jericho loads up the running bulldog but Sheamus sends him into the corner to counter. Sheamus comes back with his double ax handles and the Irish Curse for two. The rolling fireman’s carry slam looks to set up White Noise but Jericho counters into a Codebreaker attempt. Sheamus puts him on the top rope but the Brogue Kick misses. Jericho hits the bulldog and Lionsault for two. Sheamus pulls himself to the top but gets crotched. Jericho gets knocked to the mat and Sheamus hits the top rope shoulder for two.

Celtic Cross is loaded up but Jericho rolls down the back and counters into the Walls. Since Sheamus is a top face though he manages to get the ropes to break it up. Another Celtic Cross is loaded up but Jericho escapes again. They go to the floor and Sheamus throws Jericho over towards Bryan and AJ but they move. Sheamus stares at Bryan but Jericho rams him into the table. Bryan kicks Sheamus in the head as Jericho is getting back in and Chris wins by countout at 10:52 shown of 14:22.

Rating: B. I was digging this one and I can live with the ending because it serves a better purpose. It was obvious neither guy was going to go over clean here which is ok, but they still need to give us something else to care about with Sheamus vs. Bryan. The AJ stuff is kind of there on the side and I don’t know if they’re going to be able to have it mean anything for the PPV.

Sheamus kicks Jericho’s head off to end the show.

Overall Rating: B. I like this one more than I’ve liked most of their shows lately. This did a good job of pushing a lot of the matches for Mania which is really all you can do with two weeks left. Orton vs. Kane has a story (not a great one but a story nonetheless) now and we FINALLY get a little friction between Bryan vs. Sheamus. It doesn’t mean anything but it’s better than leaving them apart. Good show here though and a good Mania build show.

Results
Kofi Kingston b. David Otunga – Trouble in Paradise
AJ b. Nikki Bella – Rollup
Cody Rhodes b. Great Khali – Beautiful Disaster
Big Show b. Drew McIntyre by referee stoppage
Mark Henry b. Yoshi Tatsu – World’s Strongest Slam
Chris Jericho b. Sheamus via countout

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Jerking The Curtain

Hi Scott, ‘pbreathing’ from the boards here. Rumours doing the rounds today, Punk/Y2J will open ‘Mania:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1106397

A few issues with this. Firstly, if the rationale is the need to break up the ‘three main events’ by putting Rock/Cena last and HHH/Taker in the middle, that has pretty much relegated Sheamus/Bryan to the same level as the thrown-together Show/Cody and Orton/Kane matches.

Second, combine this with the fact that the April 2nd Raw will be all about the winner of the Long/Laurinitis tag match and it’s difficult to see how the get the WWE title to be the focal point of the promotion again for a long while.

Third, that match is going to be the work-rate match of the night. Every other match, except Sheamus/Bryan, has an element that will either detract from the in-ring product (Show, Kane, arguably Taker) or distract from it (overbooking in Rock/Cena, and the 12-man tag). Every other match could look half-assed by comparison, and do you really want to throw 20 minutes of mat-work at your ‘Mania audience straight out of the gate? It’s notoriously the most open-to-the-public and least wrestling-savvy TV audience of the year.

I totally disagree.  I think that Punk and Jericho should be happy they’re getting the opener, because now they can basically get whatever they need to tell the story they want.  A Wrestlemania opener is a different beast than a regular PPV opener.  People still remember awesome matches like Owen v. Bret for a reason.  As well, Jericho can win the title without bringing the crowd down late in the show, saving the Sheamus title win for later in the night to make him seem like a bigger deal.

Jerking The Curtain

Hi Scott, ‘pbreathing’ from the boards here. Rumours doing the rounds today, Punk/Y2J will open ‘Mania:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1106397

A few issues with this. Firstly, if the rationale is the need to break up the ‘three main events’ by putting Rock/Cena last and HHH/Taker in the middle, that has pretty much relegated Sheamus/Bryan to the same level as the thrown-together Show/Cody and Orton/Kane matches.

Second, combine this with the fact that the April 2nd Raw will be all about the winner of the Long/Laurinitis tag match and it’s difficult to see how the get the WWE title to be the focal point of the promotion again for a long while.

Third, that match is going to be the work-rate match of the night. Every other match, except Sheamus/Bryan, has an element that will either detract from the in-ring product (Show, Kane, arguably Taker) or distract from it (overbooking in Rock/Cena, and the 12-man tag). Every other match could look half-assed by comparison, and do you really want to throw 20 minutes of mat-work at your ‘Mania audience straight out of the gate? It’s notoriously the most open-to-the-public and least wrestling-savvy TV audience of the year.

I totally disagree.  I think that Punk and Jericho should be happy they’re getting the opener, because now they can basically get whatever they need to tell the story they want.  A Wrestlemania opener is a different beast than a regular PPV opener.  People still remember awesome matches like Owen v. Bret for a reason.  As well, Jericho can win the title without bringing the crowd down late in the show, saving the Sheamus title win for later in the night to make him seem like a bigger deal.

Jerking The Curtain

Hi Scott, ‘pbreathing’ from the boards here. Rumours doing the rounds today, Punk/Y2J will open ‘Mania:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1106397

A few issues with this. Firstly, if the rationale is the need to break up the ‘three main events’ by putting Rock/Cena last and HHH/Taker in the middle, that has pretty much relegated Sheamus/Bryan to the same level as the thrown-together Show/Cody and Orton/Kane matches.

Second, combine this with the fact that the April 2nd Raw will be all about the winner of the Long/Laurinitis tag match and it’s difficult to see how the get the WWE title to be the focal point of the promotion again for a long while.

Third, that match is going to be the work-rate match of the night. Every other match, except Sheamus/Bryan, has an element that will either detract from the in-ring product (Show, Kane, arguably Taker) or distract from it (overbooking in Rock/Cena, and the 12-man tag). Every other match could look half-assed by comparison, and do you really want to throw 20 minutes of mat-work at your ‘Mania audience straight out of the gate? It’s notoriously the most open-to-the-public and least wrestling-savvy TV audience of the year.

I totally disagree.  I think that Punk and Jericho should be happy they’re getting the opener, because now they can basically get whatever they need to tell the story they want.  A Wrestlemania opener is a different beast than a regular PPV opener.  People still remember awesome matches like Owen v. Bret for a reason.  As well, Jericho can win the title without bringing the crowd down late in the show, saving the Sheamus title win for later in the night to make him seem like a bigger deal.

Jerking The Curtain

Hi Scott, ‘pbreathing’ from the boards here. Rumours doing the rounds today, Punk/Y2J will open ‘Mania:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1106397

A few issues with this. Firstly, if the rationale is the need to break up the ‘three main events’ by putting Rock/Cena last and HHH/Taker in the middle, that has pretty much relegated Sheamus/Bryan to the same level as the thrown-together Show/Cody and Orton/Kane matches.

Second, combine this with the fact that the April 2nd Raw will be all about the winner of the Long/Laurinitis tag match and it’s difficult to see how the get the WWE title to be the focal point of the promotion again for a long while.

Third, that match is going to be the work-rate match of the night. Every other match, except Sheamus/Bryan, has an element that will either detract from the in-ring product (Show, Kane, arguably Taker) or distract from it (overbooking in Rock/Cena, and the 12-man tag). Every other match could look half-assed by comparison, and do you really want to throw 20 minutes of mat-work at your ‘Mania audience straight out of the gate? It’s notoriously the most open-to-the-public and least wrestling-savvy TV audience of the year.

I totally disagree.  I think that Punk and Jericho should be happy they’re getting the opener, because now they can basically get whatever they need to tell the story they want.  A Wrestlemania opener is a different beast than a regular PPV opener.  People still remember awesome matches like Owen v. Bret for a reason.  As well, Jericho can win the title without bringing the crowd down late in the show, saving the Sheamus title win for later in the night to make him seem like a bigger deal.

Jerking The Curtain

Hi Scott, ‘pbreathing’ from the boards here. Rumours doing the rounds today, Punk/Y2J will open ‘Mania:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1106397

A few issues with this. Firstly, if the rationale is the need to break up the ‘three main events’ by putting Rock/Cena last and HHH/Taker in the middle, that has pretty much relegated Sheamus/Bryan to the same level as the thrown-together Show/Cody and Orton/Kane matches.

Second, combine this with the fact that the April 2nd Raw will be all about the winner of the Long/Laurinitis tag match and it’s difficult to see how the get the WWE title to be the focal point of the promotion again for a long while.

Third, that match is going to be the work-rate match of the night. Every other match, except Sheamus/Bryan, has an element that will either detract from the in-ring product (Show, Kane, arguably Taker) or distract from it (overbooking in Rock/Cena, and the 12-man tag). Every other match could look half-assed by comparison, and do you really want to throw 20 minutes of mat-work at your ‘Mania audience straight out of the gate? It’s notoriously the most open-to-the-public and least wrestling-savvy TV audience of the year.

I totally disagree.  I think that Punk and Jericho should be happy they’re getting the opener, because now they can basically get whatever they need to tell the story they want.  A Wrestlemania opener is a different beast than a regular PPV opener.  People still remember awesome matches like Owen v. Bret for a reason.  As well, Jericho can win the title without bringing the crowd down late in the show, saving the Sheamus title win for later in the night to make him seem like a bigger deal.

Jerking The Curtain

Hi Scott, ‘pbreathing’ from the boards here. Rumours doing the rounds today, Punk/Y2J will open ‘Mania:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1106397

A few issues with this. Firstly, if the rationale is the need to break up the ‘three main events’ by putting Rock/Cena last and HHH/Taker in the middle, that has pretty much relegated Sheamus/Bryan to the same level as the thrown-together Show/Cody and Orton/Kane matches.

Second, combine this with the fact that the April 2nd Raw will be all about the winner of the Long/Laurinitis tag match and it’s difficult to see how the get the WWE title to be the focal point of the promotion again for a long while.

Third, that match is going to be the work-rate match of the night. Every other match, except Sheamus/Bryan, has an element that will either detract from the in-ring product (Show, Kane, arguably Taker) or distract from it (overbooking in Rock/Cena, and the 12-man tag). Every other match could look half-assed by comparison, and do you really want to throw 20 minutes of mat-work at your ‘Mania audience straight out of the gate? It’s notoriously the most open-to-the-public and least wrestling-savvy TV audience of the year.

I totally disagree.  I think that Punk and Jericho should be happy they’re getting the opener, because now they can basically get whatever they need to tell the story they want.  A Wrestlemania opener is a different beast than a regular PPV opener.  People still remember awesome matches like Owen v. Bret for a reason.  As well, Jericho can win the title without bringing the crowd down late in the show, saving the Sheamus title win for later in the night to make him seem like a bigger deal.