Subject: WCW 2001 = TNA 2014?
A look from PTBN at the parallels between the talent and work going on in WCW 2001 and TNA in the post-Hogan world of 2014.
**WARNING – The following topic is NOT about Daniel Bryan. Please be warned.**
Found this cool interview with EZ E back from 2001. For any of you anoraks out there (would there REALLY be any wrestling anoraks in a place like this?), you’d understand the significance of this date.
Eric was in the process of buying out WCW with the assistance of Fusient Media Ventures. He planned on closing WCW for a short period, then re-opening with a PPV known as ‘The Big Bang – The Creation of the New WCW’.
It also raises some interesting topics/questions:
We recorded an awesome episode with Kevin Kelly tonight. In addition to covering the first half of 2001, Kevin also went into depth on Final Battle, Chris Hero and of course Ring of Honor.We also put together a Best of Kevin Kelly at Place to Be Nation piece to commemorate our 1,000th published article:Thanks for sharing with your readers!
I know that he had a tryout against Cena, but I didn't know that he
was actually hired by WWF at one time in order to be fired.
Was it just a matter of being too small, or was there some other
reason for this particular firing?
It’s that time again as I’ve put together a new book with reviews of every episode of Monday Night Raw from 2001 for just $5. The book covers everything from the road to Wrestlemania XVII through the Invasion through the Undisputed Title to close out the year. It runs over 270 pages and contains 52 episodes of Raw.
The book is available worldwide and can be picked up in America here
In the UK here
And in Canada here.
The British version isn’t available yet but I’ll update this when it’s up.
If you live somewhere else and want to pick it up, just search “KB’s Complete 2001 Monday Night Raw Reviews” on your Amazon site and it should be there.
It’s an e-book format, but if you don’t have a Kindle or any other kind of e-reader, there are free Apps which can let you read it on your computer, phone or whatever else you prefer. You can find those free apps here:
Also please check out my author page with my other wrestling e-books at:
Anyway, I hope you like it and enjoy.
Back to the beginning, twelve years ago: Time to open up that ol’ Smarks.com mailbag… First piece of mail this week comes from Dave Simons, who goes that extra distance and not only criticises me, but actually wishes me dead and tortured. Now THAT’S passionate letter-writing. (2013 Scott sez: Remember a couple of weeks ago when I was talking about how grumpy I was watching RAW because of a guy prank-calling me? Basically it was some dude in Florida who sounded rather drunk and got a hold of my cell phone number, then spent two hours texting me messages about how I “touch little boys” and making dated jokes about my haircut from a decade ago. Then he moved to voice mails advising me to kill myself by jumping off a cliff. My wife trolled him for a while by constantly answering my phone and acting like she didn’t know who I was, but finally we got bored of him and blocked the number. The funny thing is that he gave his name as though it was someone I should know and quake in fear at hearing from, but I’d never even heard of the guy. So the point is, 12 years later my popularity remains unabated. On with this moron…)
I just wanted to say that just when I thought you could not be more pathetic than you already are, you go and prove me wrong. I guess you forgot that you’re the guy who all this time has been using every chance he ever could to bash WCW. You’re the one for years who said they’d go out of business. (funny though how you never said a thing about the XFL, you goddamn shill) Now they finally have gone out of business and you were ecstatic about it, you faggot. You were the one who said how “surreal” it was to see you’re god, Vince McMahon, on wcw tv and how there’s no way they can fuck this up. Lo and behold, you got you’re wish, and now the WWF has gotten stale. Since you are so stupid, I will draw the conclusion for you–the WWF can’t even keep themselves interesting, there’s no way they could handle two promotions. It’s not your endless shilling that bothers me though. It’s how goddamn hypocritical you are. You say Buff Bagwell has no business in wrestling, but then say that the WWF “has to get Goldberg” they guy who wasn’t even considerate enough to show up to the last episode of Nitro (yeah I bet a guy like that really respects the business) You never complained once during the WWF comeback, which Vince Russo had an integral part in. But the second he comes to WCW, you don’t even give him a chance. Hell, you were the loser who made a chart of every mistake he ever made in the WWF, yet never pointed out these mistakes when he was working for the WWF. And now look at you. You’ve finally started writing about the WWF objectively. THe only reason you do this–it’s cause you’ve finally realized how little you count. The WWF doesn’t give a shit about you or your opinion–that’s why they had one of their columnist’s nail you (he did a damn good job too). And then all of a sudden the guy who spent his entire life kissing the WWF’s ass, and said Vince McMahon can’t fuck anything up, suddenly turns into a broken-hearted pussy when he realizes that the WWF doesn’t care about him. I’m real sorry about your apartment burning down–sorry that you didn’t burn down with it. Don’t worry though, I’m sure one day there’ll be a book burning party at your place, where we’ll torch “The Buzz on Professional Wrestling” Looking at the reviews on Amazon.com, it seems like more than enough people would participate. This time, though, we’ll make sure you’re inside the fire. I can honestly think of no one who deserves to be tortured and murdered more than you. And if there’s any justice in the world, one day that’ll happen. Oh,one more thing. Don’t ever act like you care about Owen Hart. You don’t give one shit about him. Ever since his death, you never once criticized the man who killed him and then crapped all over his death by continuing the show. These are words not just from me, but from his own older brother. And who do you think mattered more to Owen, his brother, or a dumb fuck like you.
So, Dave, what do you REALLY think? (I don’t know why I didn’t respond here, but the e-mail is so hilariously inaccurate that it kind of stands on its own. I didn’t say anything about the XFL? REALLY? Doesn’t making fun of the very idea for months leading up to it and then practically dancing on its grave count? And I never criticized Vince McMahon for leading to the death of Owen Hart? And this guy was still defending Russo even after he brought down the entire promotion? On the bright side, this e-mail was written well before 9/11, so at least he would likely have someone more worthy of being tortured and murdered now.) Former Rant Crew contributor Andy Goss chimes in with a King of the Ring scenario (which I’m deleting because it’s long and kind of not good. I’m sure beating me another 200 times at You Don’t Know Jack will make up for it, though.) … That’s, uh…very well thought out. I don’t think the WCW crossover is gonna happen anytime this summer, but it’s certainly no worse than anything else the WWF has been booking lately. John David, an embittered UK reader, writes in to bitch about the WWF’s UK PPVs, a popular topic it seems…
After watching InsurreXion on Sky Box Office the other weekend, I was quite surprised to see the announcement of the Manchester PPV Rebellion. Manchester is not that far from my home town of Liverpool, so myself and the four friends that I was watching Insurrexion with decided that we’d do our damnest to try and get tickets, since for the last few PPV’s we’d been unable to get tickets or we’d been unavailable when the tickets went on sale. We decided that each of the five of us would try to get five tickets (just in case some of us failed), we figured that if we had too many tickets we could always sell them on (Insurrexion tickets were selling for £150-£300 on eBay the week before the event). My friends Chris & John(II) would phone ticket master, Suze would go to HMV and Clare and myself (John(I)) would sit on Ticket Master’s website.
What I was surprised at was what happened on the following Friday. Tickets went on sale from Ticketmaster and HMV Box Office at 9am on that day, and so we were at our appointed posts. Clare and I had started checking the website at 8am, and at about 8:30am it experienced a notable slowdown, at 8:45 it was painfully slow on average getting a time out error every 10 reloads. At 9:00am it was dead stop almost. But we continued, knowing that surely one of us would get through on their website.
Ticketmaster’s website displayed that there were no more tickets for sale (or rather a “We cannot complete your transaction” message indicating sold out). Ticketmaster’s phone lines were about as much help, as they were constantly engaged for two hours. HMV – well they were a non factor, Sold Out it seemed were an order of the day.
So the five of us decided that it looked like we wouldn’t be going to Rebellion (and I really wanted to dress up as Steven Richards to the disgust of my four other friends). Once more the fickle hand of fate had dealt us a killing blow.
But no, like any good fairy tale this does have a (vaguely) happy ending – it transpires that quite a few coach companies had bought massive blocks of tickets and were selling them on in a package deal and we managed to scrounge some tickets out of them. So we will be going (and I really hope RTC doesn’t split up so I can go looking like a moron dressed as a member of RTC).
My point(s) on this matter –
1. The UK gets two PPV events a year and it looks like the WWF could easily expand that to more, such as they did when they were doing a “UK Tour” rather than just one event at a time, and certainly they would get the patronage, and transporting their wrestlers over for one show then transporting them back to the US is surely less cost effective than getting a few shows out of them while they’re over here.
2. Due to the limit on PPV’s – the UK fans become rather rabid at the thought of tickets, I believe that it was around 1hr that it took for all the outlets to sell out of tickets for the event, and it left many fans out in the cold – the US are very lucky in that they have house shows / PPV’s / TV Tapings to see their “superstars” in action. The UK gets one 2.5 hour segment every (if we’re lucky) 6 months, so it comes as no surprise to find the mass appeal for tickets.
3. And due to this ticket grabbing madness some people are making a LOT of money off this. I know someone who ordered tickets (and received them) due to the priority service that Ticketmaster runs – purely for the intention of selling them on eBay – he got 10 tickets at a cost of £35 each – £350. If tickets go for the same price on eBay that the Insurrexion tickets go for he can expect to get between £1500 and £3000 for them. Sickening really. Isn’t it?
Hey man, just be glad you don’t live in Canada – you’d only get the WWF once a YEAR unless you lived in Toronto. And if there’s one universal constant about ticket-buying systems worldwide, it’s that chances of people actually buying tickets through them are slim and none.
(Now up here you get WWE once every two to three years, if that. And the UK doesn’t get PPVs anymore. So everyone wins, I guess.)
That’s all I got from the mailbag this week, until next time, keep smilin’…
(That was kind of a lame first edition, aside from the spectacular first letter. I just don’t get that kind of passionate hate mail anymore. Mostly it’s confined to people on the F4W board now.)
While incomplete, he looked pretty good. Shame nothing panned out for the guy.
The SmarK Rant for WWF No Mercy 2001 (But first a word from the movies: ARGOFUCKYOURSELF. If that movie doesn’t win Best Picture…well it wouldn’t actually surprise me. But it would be a damn shame, because any movie where I know exactly how it ends but still has me in a state of heart failure leading up to the ending deserves all the awards that can be thrown at it. I bow to the greatness of Ben Affleck’s directing.) – This was pretty much a one-match show going in for me, so anything on top of that is gravy. – Live from St. Louis, MO – Your hosts are JR & Paul E. – Opening match, WCW tag titles: The Hardy Boyz v. The Hurricane & Lance Storm. (Why did no one think of putting together “Hurricane” and “Storm” as a more permanent tag team? It’s RIGHT THERE.) Helms does some posing, but gets hiptossed. Hardyz hit a double-wheelbarrow suplex for two. The Legion of Justice comes back with the double-team neckbreaker on Matt for two. Jeff comes in and cleans house like a French maid, but Ivory trips him up. Hurricane teases a highspot but runs into a clothesline from Matt. Molly helps him recover and don the CAPE OF DOOM, and he comes off the top onto the Hardyz on the floor. Back in, Storm dropkicks Jeff for two. Double-team suplex gets two. Molly adds a cheapshot, but Jeff gets the corkscrew out of the corner, hot tag Matt. It’s BONZO GONZO. Poetry in Motion and Oklahoma Roll gets two for Matt. Yodelling legdrop gets two. The Legion of Justice comes back with a double-superkick that would have killed in the Rockers’ day, but only gets two. Jeff dumps Storm as Lita & Molly & Ivory have a big catfight, and Lita escapes to hit her shitty rana on Storm and take him out of the match. Twist of Fate and swanton finish Hurricane at 7:14. Decent enough opener, although Storm is still wasted in this role. **1/2 (He’d be wasted in much of his WWE tenure, sadly. At least he’s happy doing the wrestling school thing now. And Molly was pretty damn adorable in this phase of her career.) – Test v. Kane. Kane overpowers him and slugs him down, then screws up a hotshot. He presses Test out of the ring, but Test pops him with the ringbell to come back. Back in, Test does some choking and gets a suplex for two. Elbow gets two. Sideslam gets two. Flying elbow misses and Kane comes back with a backdrop and his own sideslam for two. Test gets dumped again, but hits the big boot on the floor. Back in, it gets two. Kane gets a chokeslam for two. Slugfest, and Kane powerslams and goes up, but gets nailed coming down and pumphandled for two. Test goes up, Macho Man elbow gets two. Test grabs a chair, but gets it kicked in his face. Evil Referee Nick Patrick grabs the chair, and Test finishes with a low blow and the Rockette Kick at 10:09. Too long, but not as brutally bad as I was expecting coming in. *1/2 – Meanwhile, Steve Austin gives an interview from his dressing room via Debra. Funny stuff. – Meanwhile, Stacy flashes Matt Hardy. – First Ever Lingerie Match: Stacy Keibler v. Torrie Wilson. Neither outfit is that scandalous or anything. Stacy does some cartwheels to counter shoving. She spanks Torrie with a cat-o-nine-tails and they roll around and over the ref. Nice to see them taking the basic midget match spots and applying them to a new generation. (Really, Divas matches are basically the new midget matches these days.) Torrie’s sunset flip attempt turns into a sort-of pinfall reversal sequence with lots of gratuitous camera angles. Not that I’m complaining. Stacy does the Diesel choke in the corner, again with blatant camera angle, and uses a headscissor in the corner to choke Torrie out again. Torrie snapmares her out of the corner for two, and finishes with Tajiri’s handspring elbow at 3:07. I’ve seen worse. ½* (And now they’re both banging celebrities and laughing at the notion of ever doing wrestling again.) – Intercontinental title ladder match: Christian v. Edge. Brawl outside and Edge backdrops him back in. Edge works the leg, but Christian bails. He fetches the ladder but gets it dropkicked in his face. They brawl into the crowd and back to ringside, where Edge catapults him into the ladder. Christian drops him on it, however, and climbs onto it while it’s laying on the stairs, but Edge crotches him on it. Christian hits Edge in the jaw with the ladder and climbs. Edge knocks him over, but Christian spears him with the ladder in the corner. Christian gets knocked onto it and dropped crotch-first on it. Man, Christian’s nuts are taking the biggest beating of the night. Edge gets whipped into the ladder and Christian catapults him facefirst underneath the ladder. Ouch. Christian gets another ladder and both guys climb, but Edge hits the Edge-O-Matic off the ladder. Edge climbs, but now Christian DDTs him off the ladder. Well, I guess they’re even now. Edge escapes the one-man conchairto and fetches a third ladder. Edge puts a ladder onto two chairs and splashes Christian from the top. Didn’t look very good – his knees hit the mat first. Christian goes up, but gets speared off the ladder. Saw that spot coming. Both guys climb the same ladder, and both guys tumble off and out. Christian crawls back in and climbs, but Edge lowblows him with a chair in revenge for Unforgiven, puts his head on a chair on top of the ladder, and finishes with a one-man conchairto that allows him to grab the title at 22:17. Pretty much the worst of the 18 million ladder matches this year, but that’s more the fault of the oversaturation of the gimmick than any lack of effort on their part. The repeated ladder spots from earlier matches didn’t help much, either. They really need to get a new gimmick match over. ***1/2 (Really, Elimination Chamber was the only one they were successful with. Sad that the glut of ladder matches for the year rendered this one so forgettable, especially when they were doing them on TV and such. Plus E&C had that chemistry where people just didn’t want to see them fight, much like the Hardy Boyz.) – Meanwhile, Spike Dudley gets drunk and makes time with the chicks at WWF New York. – WWF tag title match: The Dudley Boyz v. Tajiri & Big Show. Bubba pounds Tajiri to start, but Tajiri gets a standing moonsault on D-Von for two. Show comes in and uses the power of his giant ass to subdue D-Von in the corner. Show slams everything and the champs bail. Tajiri hits them with a tope con hilo. Back in, Bubba gets an elbow and Tajiri is YOUR face-in-peril. Double flapjack and D-Von hits the chinlock. He comes off the middle and hits foot, as usual, but Tajiri can’t tag Show. Wazzup Drop, but Tajiri recovers quickly and makes the hot tag. As long as Show stands on the apron and makes the hot tag, he’ll stay over. D-Von clips Show to slow him down, but Tajiri puts the Tarantula on D-Von in turn. Bubba breaks, and Tajiri hits the handspring and blows mist…but hits the ref. HE’S BLIND…er. Show chokeslams Bubba, no ref. Rhyno comes in with the GOAR GOAR GOAR on Show, and Dudleyz finish Tajiri with 3D at 9:19. Good effort, and another decent tag title match. **1/2 – Meanwhile, Rhyno wants RESPECT for the Alliance. Too little too late, guys. – Booker T v. The Underseller. Brawl outside to start, and Taker hits the railing, but no-sells and tosses Booker in. Big boot gets two, but Booker comes back and shoulderblocks him in the corner. UT shrugs it off and works the arm with his dizzying array of UFC-like submission moves. Booker somehow survives the murderous onslaught of shoot-wrestling excellence, but takes the ROPEWALK OF DOOM for two. Booker bails, probably convinced that Undertaker had been kidnapped and replaced by Tito Ortiz. (Ironic that I’m so down on Undertaker’s MMA stuff here, when in fact that’s what gave him his in-ring resurgence.) Taker follows him out, but hits the stairs. They fight into the crowd and back into the ring, where Booker gets the missile dropkick for two. UT slugs away, but gets sidekicked for two. Sideslam gets two. Kneedrop and the crowd preps for the Spinarooni, but he doesn’t deliver. Taker tries a powerslam, but Booker escapes and gets a neckbreaker for two. Slugfest is won by Taker for two. Booker spinkick gets two. Undertaker DDT gets two. Legdrop gets two, brother. He charges and Booker hotshots him in the corner, and a spinkick puts UT on the floor. Booker recharges with the SPINAROONI and an axe-kick for two. Taker tries the chokeslam, but Booker blocks and goes low. He tries the Enemy Pummel in the corner for some reason, and Taker poochiebombs him out of there for the pin at 13:20. (NEVER PUNCH UNDERTAKER IN THE CORNER! How many more powerbombs does the world need to see before we do something about it?) Taker sold more than usual, but then he knew he was winning. Really slow match. *1/2 – WCW World title match: The Rock v. Chris Jericho. (Remember when they had TWO World titles at the same time? That was a wacky time.) Lockup battle to start, and Rock works the arm. Jericho armdrags him, and works the arm in turn. Jericho slugs him down and chokes him out. Jericho unloads the CANADIAN VIOLENCE, but Rock counters with the Rock Bottom, which Jericho counters in turn with the Walls. Awesome. Rock bails to the apron and gets dropkicked to the floor. Back in, Jericho gets a flying elbow for two. More CANADIAN VIOLENCE, but Rock tries his own and gets hit with a leg lariat for two. Pair of backbreakers get two, but Rock reverses the pinfall for two. Nice touch. Jericho forearms him down, but gets hit with a Rock forearm in turn. He comes back quickly with a hotshot and the crowd starts chanting “Rocky Sucks” like old times. Jericho goes up, but gets crotched. Superplex and double-KO, and the crowd actually counts along with the 10-count. But then it’s St. Louis, so they’re already trained. Rock slugs away and gets a samoan drop for two. Kip-up and Rock lays the smackdown, drawing a very noticeable heel reaction. Jericho comes back and walks into a lariat for two. Suplex gets two. Rock dumps Jericho, and he gets two back in the ring. He goes to a heelish chinlock to put sympathy heat on Jericho, and indeed Jericho escapes, but misses a dropkick. Rock catapults him and lariats him. They head up, and Jericho gets a missile dropkick. Double KO again, Rock is staggered. Slugfest is won by Jericho, and he overpowers Rock and gets a neckbreaker and rana for two. Someone call HHH, he’s wrestling like a cruiserweight again. Jericho hits a Rock Bottom! Lionsault gets two. Bulldog sets up the Canadian Elbow, which misses. Rock gets an ugly dragon-screw into the Sharpshooter, and the crowd freaks until Jericho makes the ropes. Jericho bails and Rock preps the Spanish table and Rock Bottoms Jericho through it. Rock breaks the count like a heel and smacks Jericho around, and after Jericho crawls back in, Rock sets up for the Rock Bottom…and the crowd BOOS. Jericho blocks, but walks into a spinebuster. People’s Elbow is caught and REVERSED into the Walls of Jericho! This match is so awesome. I’m thinking it might be the finish, but Steph McJugs bounces out and distracts Jericho for the millionth time. Rock DDTs him and goes after Steph with a Rock Bottom that looked like he was fighting the combined forces of gravity and inertia trying to get the McMammaries in the air, but Jericho grabs the chair left by Stephanie, hits a forward legsweep onto it, and wins the WCW title at 23:47! Finally he wins the big one! Awesome match, a total MOTYC if not for the screwy finish. ****1/2 My faith in Jericho is restored and Rock shoots him a heelish glare, only to hand him the chair as if to say “You won this time, but you needed this chair to do it.” I smell rematch. I’m there, dudes. (Yeah, that title reign didn’t last particularly long, as Rock won it back on TV soon after. However, Jericho unified the belts in December and then won the rematch at Royal Rumble, so he ended up getting the best of things in this feud, I’d say.) – WWF World title: Steve Austin v. Kurt Angle v. Rob Van Dam. (I will contend until my dying day that RVD should have won the title here.) Angle suplexes everyone, but the Alliance beats him down. Austin & RVD square off after disposing of Angle, but he sneaks in and interrupts the Super Posedown. They all brawl with each other for a bit. Rob gets a leg lariat and dropkick for Austin, but Austin grabs the ropes to escape. Rob with Rolling Thunder onto Angle for two. Angle gets tossed and Austin spinebusters RVD for two. Austin works the leg and goes into a half-crab as the crowd chants “What?” at Austin. He should never use that line again if they want to keep him a heel. STF, but Angle breaks and dumps Austin. They fight into the crowd while RVD recovers, and then comes off the top with a plancha onto both Austin & Angle. He legdrops Austin off the table. Back in, Angle gets a capture suplex on Van Dam and a moonsault, but Austin covers Rob for two. Angle sleeper on Austin, but Austin comes back with a stunner attempt, blocked by Angle. Rob goes up while both guys are out, but both guys move and Angle suplexes him for two. Split-legged moonsault from RVD gets two on Austin. Angle Slam on RVD gets two. I see Heyman is booking tonight. Austin dumps Angle and they brawl out, and Austin preps the announce table. Angle reverses a piledriver, but Rob comes barrelling out with a suicide dive. Vince struts out as they lay out on the floor. Angle & RVD head in, and Angle beats the shit out of him, only to run into a leg lariat. Rob goes up, but gets superplexed. Austin hits KICK WHAM STUNNER on Angle, and he bails. Austin goes after Rob, but Vince sneaks in (well, as much as Vince can sneak anywhere) and blasts Austin with a chairshot that cuts open the back of his head. I see Vince is stealing traits from Van Dam besides the thumb-thing. Rob goes up, five-star frog splash, but Angle saves. Rolling germans and Angle Slam for Van Dam, but now Shane runs in to also help Van Dam, and Shane & Vince brawl over who gets to leech off of RVD’s heat first. In the ring, however, Austin goes KICK WHAM STUNNER on Mr. Potatohead and gets the pin to retain at 15:19. Solid three-way with the usual McMahonized overbooked ending. ***3/4 The Bottom Line: Well, we knew Rock-Jericho was gonna steal the show, but the main event was much better than I was expecting and there wasn’t really any horrible matches to drag down the undercard. The undercard itself didn’t mean much in terms of storyline or heat, but it didn’t hurt the top of the card, either, and that’s about all you can ask for when the booking is struggling. Thumbs up for some good effort and one potential Match of the Year candidate. (Hell of a show, actually. Hard to see much here to complain about, really.)
(I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not gonna get this countdown done before the PPV. Oh well, much like voting for Linda, you knew what you were getting into with me. Once again I redid this one a few years back as a tandem rant with Michael Fitzgerald, so I’ll seamlessly splice in my matches from that rant after the original versions. It’s fun for everyone to play along at home with!) The SmarK Rant for WWF Summerslam 2001 – Live from San Jose, CA – Your hosts are JR & Paul E. – Opening match, Intercontinental title: Lance Storm v. Edge. Once again, Lance’s opening promo is interrupted by offbeat shenanigans. You know, if years of reading Mad Magazine have taught me anything, it’s that offbeat shenanigans are only funny until you run out of material, and then you’re just some hipster doofus sponsoring a sketch-comedy show on FOX. Think about it. (Cracked is far cooler now anyway, even if they no longer have a magazine.) Mat stuff to start, and Edge gets a flapjack and dumps him. They head out and brawl, and back in Edge goes up with a flying bodypress for two. Storm reverses a suplex and tosses him, as Edge takes the railing bump. Back in, Edge eats knee and Storm gets two. Edge cradle gets two. Storm gets a front suplex, a rarely-used move these days. Storm starts working the ribs, as Edge comes back but misses a dropkick. Inside cradle gets two for Edge, but Storm comes back and pins him for two. They slug it out and Edge goes for a crucifix, reversed by Storm to a rolling fireman’s carry for two. Back to the ribs, and a senton gets two. Don’t see much of that, either. (Haven’t you ever seen a Bully Ray or Tensai match? Oh, yeah, it’s only 2001, never mind.) Edge fights back, but walks into an abdominal stretch, in one of the very few instances where it’s actually a sound move given the psychology. Edge hiptosses Storm out of the ring to escape, but Storm goes up…and gets powerslammed on the way down. Double KO and they slug it out, which Edge wins. Backdrop and heel kick get two. Storm suplex is reversed to the Edge-O-Matic for two. Edge blocks a rana with a powerbomb for two. Storm slaps on the Canadian Mapleleaf, however, and things are looking bleak. Edge makes the ropes and hooks his own half-crab, however. Christian decides to run in, spears Edge by mistake, and Storm gets…two. Thought that might be it. Superkick is blocked, and the Impaler finishes at 11:16 to give Edge his second IC title. Storm carried Edge to the match of his career, but once again the Great Toronto Conspiracy sees the Ontario boy going over the Albertan. **** Note to certain people: That last part was a joke. (No it wasn’t.) (Take 2!) Intercontinental title: Lance Storm v. Edge God, I’d totally forgotten about Storm’s IC title reign. It’s also kind of funny thinking of the days when Edge was a smiling babyface. Storm complains about offbeat shenangians in his pre-match promo, but sadly gets cut off by Edge. I wanted to hear his reasoning! (Maybe he’ll go into an extended rant on Figure Four Daily one day.) I should note that Edge looks WAY more cut up back then than he does now. (…allegedly.) Not that I’m accusing him of anything. (Exactly! I said “allegedly” after all, so legally I can say whatever I want!) They fight over a lockup and Storm grabs a headlock, but Edge faceplants him and dropkicks him to the floor. They brawl on the floor and Edge heads up with a high cross when they get back in, and that gets two. Storm comes back and suplexes Edge onto the top rope and sends him back to the floor again. Back in, Storm stomps him down, but Edge comes back with a rollup for two. Lance takes him down with a gourdbuster for two and drops some knees on the midsection to work on that, which gets two. Not sure where he’s going with this yet. Edge fights back, but whiffs on a dropkick, then recovers with a small package for two. Storm takes him down for two, but Edge fights back again. Storm blocks a crucifix attempt with a Regal Roll, and that gets two. We hit the chinlock as I guess Storm is working on the general area of the back, and a senton splash gets two. He goes to the abdominal stretch, so I guess it’s just general torso psychology tonight. Storm tries to go up and gets powerslammed as a result, and we do the double knockout before Edge makes his comeback. Backdrop and leg lariat gets two. They reverse into the Edge-O-Matic, which gets two. Storm tries a rana, but Edge counters with a powerbomb for two. Storm manages to roll into the Canadian Maple Leaf (half crab), but Edge powers himself into the ropes and then reverses to his own. The ref gets bumped and Christian runs in, but hits his own brother and Storm gets two. Storm tries to finish with the superkick, but Edge catches it and finishes with the Impaler DDT at 11:18. Not a bad opener, but certainly not as good as I originally rated it. The psychology was all over the place but it had a good pace and some nice reversals. *** – Meanwhile, Test gets all bitter on Michael Cole. – Spike Dudley & The APA v. Test & The Dudley Boyz. Faarooq quickly takes the double-team neckbreaker and D-Von gets his twisty elbow thing, but he walks into a spinebuster. Test pounds on Faarooq in retaliation, but the APA double-team him. Bradshaw gets caught in the Alliance corner, but no-sells and DDTs D-Von for two. Spike comes in with a small package for two. Bubba drops him on the top rope in dramatic fashion and he’s YOUR face-in-peril, as if there was ever a doubt. Test gets a spinebuster and D-Von gets a table. Suddenly everyone in the room calls the finish from 10 miles away. Can you? Test tries to slam Spike through the table, but Spike falls back for two. Dudleyz flapjack him for two. D-Von goes up and misses, hot tag Bradshaw. The APA cleans house, leaving Bradshaw and Test. Powerbomb for Test gets two. Spike tries the Acid Drop on Test, and of course Test javelins him through the table outside. Bradshaw hits the Clothesline from Heck, and Shane-O-Mac makes a rare undercard appearance, clocking Bradshaw with a chair and giving Test the pin at 7:18. Man, Shane is just drooling to get Test over. Match was standard stuff, but pretty decent for what it was. *1/2 – Meanwhile, Christian gets a call from gramma…and gets blown off in favor of Edge. Ouch. (See, at this point they were still being portrayed as brothers within kayfabe, which is why it was made all the more confusing when they suddenly just became “good friends” years later. IT’S STILL REAL TO ME, DAMMIT!) – Meanwhile, Meat gets chewed out by Debra (In a manner of speaking), and decides to once again do something memorable, including changing his tights. “I don’t even KNOW what ‘mecca’ means!”. See, now they should just keep this guy around for comic relief. (Sadly, they did not and now he’s not even IN THIS BUSINESS anymore.) – Title v. title: X-Pac v. Tajiri. If you don’t know who’s gonna win this match and why, you’re a sad, naïve soul and there’s no hope for you. They trade wristlockery to start, and Tajiri gets a standing moonsault for two. X-Pac rides him down, Tajiri responds in kind. Tajiri gets a rana, X-Pac bails, and Tajiri follows with a nice quebrada. X-Pac posts him low and kicks him in the back while he’s hanging there, for good measure. Back in, X-Pac spinkick gets two. Into the bow-and-arrow, but X-Pac’s shoulders are down for two. X-Pac powerbomb gets two. Broncobuster misses, and Tajiri kicks him in the corner and comes back with the handspring elbow for two. Tarantula and he goes up, but X-Pac reverses a bodypress for two. X-Pac goes up and lands in a weird pinning combo, but Tajiri catapults him into the turnbuckle and gets a german suplex for two. Tajiri gets dumped and X-Pac follows with a somersault plancha. Back in, Tajiri tries the handspring again, but X-Pac ducks it and gets the X-Factor for two, reversed to that weird submission move and a cradle for two. Albert lumbers out as X-Pac spinkicks Tajiri, but when he jumps onto the apron Tajiri mists him…and walks into the X-Factor for the pin at 7:33. Oh, what a shocking finish. Match was a bit on the short side, but good. **3/4 Notice the pattern: X-Pac finds the new hot thing (Kidman, Tajiri), puts them over to set up a rematch, and then wins the last match so that he can bury them and make sure they don’t get over. HHH must be teaching classes now or something. (In fact he’s now head of developmental, so yes, in a manner of speaking, he is teaching classes.) (Take 2!) Cruiserweight v. Light Heavyweight title: X-Pac v. Tajiri So Tajiri had the WWF belt and X-Pac had the WCW belt, despite them representing the opposite brands at this point. X-Pac was busy dragging both Justin Credible and Albert down with him via his “X Factor” stable. X-Pac takes Tajiri down with an armdrag while Jim Ross reminds people to call and harass DirectTV about not carrying WWF PPVs any longer. Boy, that was a one-sided fight, as it turned out. They trade takedowns and smack each other around, then X-Pac flips out of a hiptoss attempt before Tajiri dumps him and follows with a baseball slide. A nice plancha follows and they brawl on the floor, but Tajiri meets the post nut-first. Even his puffy pants couldn’t save him there. Back in, Tajiri tries flipping in, but X-Pac hits him with a spinkick to set up a bow-and-arrow. That results in X-Pac’s shoulders being down, so it gets two for Tajiri. Tajiri tries a rana, which is countered to a powerbomb for two. X-Pac misses the Bronco Buster and gets hung in the Tree of Woe, and Tajiri dropkicks him and makes the comeback. Handspring elbow gets two. Tarantula and he goes up with a high cross, but X-Pac rolls through for two. They fight in the corner and Tajiri gets a weird pinning combo for two, then catapults him in to the corner and into a german suplex for two. Tajiri goes to the apron and gets kicked to the floor as a result, and X-Pac follows with a somersault tope, actually showing some motivation tonight. Must have had the good shit delivered to him. (Allegedly.) Back in, the X-Factor gets two. Albert wanders out for moral support as Tajiri escapes a powerbomb, but Tajiri stops to spray the deadly RED MIST OF DEATH at Albert, allowing X-Pac to finish with another X-Factor at 7:23. (Little known fact: The deadly red mist, which has strange, short-term effects on anyone sprayed with it, in fact made Albert believe himself to be Japanese for a time, so much so that he moved to Japan and tricked all the internet fans into thinking he didn’t still completely suck.) Short but full of cool highspots and an energetic Sean Waltman. *** X-Pac had both belts as a result, although the WWF one, in a move very unlike the organization, would be jettisoned in favour of the WCW Cruiserweight title instead. – Chris Jericho v. Rhyno. Speaking of “As the Political World Turns”, here’s another interesting match, based more on connections than actual booking. (What, the PBS series hosted by James Burke? Because that was AWESOME!) Slugfest is won by Rhyno, and he grabs a headlock. Jericho crossbodies him and unleashes MIDCARD VIOLENCE. Rhyno tosses him, but he comes back in with a shot off the top for two. Walls of Jericho are blocked, but Rhyno bails and gets hit with the springboard dropkick. He goes up, but Steph’s giant mammaries distract him and block out half the ringlights, allowing Rhyno to GOAR GOAR GOAR Jericho on the way down to the floor. Back in, it gets two. Rhyno goes all OLD-SKOOL~!, with a body-scissors and AIRPLANE SPIN, BABEE! See, I was just calling for the resurrection of that move in the Wrestling Gold rants. That’s service. We hit the chinlock, and Jericho fights out and gets a rollup for two. Rhynoplex and he goes up, but misses a splash. Of course, had Jericho not moved it wouldn’t have hit anyway, but that’s neither here nor there. Jericho backslide gets two, and he comes back. A moonsault press is BADLY blown, but gets two. Rhyno misses a blind charge and Jericho goes up, and manages to blow a missile dropkick in EVEN WORSE fashion, slipping off the top completely and nearly breaking his neck. Note to Chris: Get rid of the damn lifts, you’re not fooling anyone. Note to Stephanie: There’s your comeback next time he makes fun of your gigantic bazookas. Note to Rhyno: I don’t really have anything witty to say to you, but I didn’t want you feeling left out. They then break my first rule of wrestling by repeating the spot, and this time Jericho tries from the middle to play it safe, and thus hits it. But alas, Sable McMahon-Helmsley is distracting the ref, so Jericho heads over and kisses her, setting up what I think we all know is coming down the road. Lionsault gets two, but Rhyno comes back with a spinebuster and Walls of Rhyno! Jericho makes the ropes and Rhyno preps for the GOAR GOAR GOAR, but misses and Jericho finishes with a Rhynotamer at 12:34. Good effort from everyone not 3 inches taller than they should be. *** (This was of course a LEGENDARY source of botched spot hilarity later on.) I hear through the grapevine that Jericho is now actively sucking up to the booking committee, which both delights and depresses me, for entirely differing reasons. (Pff, what’s that gonna get him, both WCW and WWF World titles at the same time for the first time in history? Dream on, Jericho!) But then I’m only truly faithful to the Other Chris when it comes down to it, (You know, Chris Evans, Captain America and Johnny Storm, that guy…) so what happens to Jericho at this point in his career has become less important to me with every PPV. Note to conspiracy theorists: JR sewed the seeds of the double-turn by declaring that Rhyno would look good in WWF colors. Maybe that just means he wants to dress him in a panda suit… (Oh that joke proved to be far too close to home, as it turned out.) – Hardcore ladder match: Jeff Hardy v. Rob Van Dam. Matwork to start establishes parity. They trade kicks and Jeff legdrops him low, and Rob backs off. Jeff gets dumped, but hiptosses Rob out and follows with a corkscrew plancha. He comes off the top and hits railing, allowing RVD to get the guillotine legdrop and grab the ladder. Jeff meets with the railrunner and brings the ladder in himself, but takes it in the jaw. Rob straddles the ladder to pick it up, and takes it in the crotch. Hardy 1, RVD 0. Double-jump moonsault on the ladder follows, but a blind charge misses and Rob hangs him in the Tree of Woe and does bad stuff to him, like forcing him to watch those old matches from Shotgun in 98 where the Hardy Boyz were dressing like Bon Jovi and jobbing to Los Boriquas. (As opposed to now, where Jeff paints eyes on his eyelids and looks like a rave party survivor.) Okay, he just kicks him in the face a bunch of times, but I think the former would be more painful. Rob puts Jeff on the ladder and somersaults across the ring onto it, and then spinkicks and superkicks Jeff to set up another guillotine legdrop, this time onto the ladder. Rob showboats outside and turns around to meet the ladder face-first, buying Jeff some time. Jeff climbs but gets dropkicked off. A cartwheel splash onto the ladder kills Jeff. Rob should have one of those gymnastics balls and a length of ribbon tied around his wrist to complete his ensemble. I mean, a friggin’ CARTWHEEL? He climbs, but gets dropkicked and falls off, wiping out both guys. Jeff DDTs him and goes up, but misses the swanton. ***** frog splash also misses. Jeff climbs again, RVD follows, and superplexes Jeff off the ladder. Rob goes back up, Jeff follows, and powerbombs him off the ladder. Jeff climbs again and grabs the belt, but Rob yanks the ladder away, leaving him swinging there. Missile dropkick fails to dislodge him, but Jeff eventually falls anyway, without the belt. Jeff goes back up, but Rob pushes him over (and hurt Jeff’s leg on the ropes from the looks of things), climbs up himself, and regains the title at 16:33. You could see they were trying to tone down the crazy spots a lot, but the result is a lacklustre, although still really good, ladder match. **** (Take 2!) WWF Hardcore title, ladder match: Jeff Hardy v. Rob Van Dam This is a rematch from Invasion 2001, which basically unleashed RVD on the world. They do some mat-wrestling to start, but who are we kidding here? They slug it out and Rob blocks a rollup, but stops to pose and gets hiptossed to the floor. Jeff follows with a corkscrew quebrada and they brawl on the floor. Rob hits the post, but Jeff tries to follow with a dive and hits the railing instead. So I’d call it even. Rob guillotines him on the railing, but Jeff comes back and runs the railing to keep Rob from fetching the ladder. Jeff tries to bring the ladder into the ring, but Rob catapults it into his face, and then Jeff returns the favour. Both spots were pretty contrived. Jeff springboards back in with a moonsault and follows with his double legdrop thing, but runs into an elbow in the corner. RVD hangs him in the Tree of Woe and backflips into a shoulderblock. See, now there the flip makes sense, because it builds momentum for the strike by allowing him to spring off his legs. He puts Jeff on the ladder and hits him with Rolling Thunder onto it, back when that was a new move for WWF audiences. Jeff fights up, but Rob spinkicks him and then puts him on the ladder again with a superkick and springs over the top with a legdrop. He takes a breather on the floor, but Jeff dropkicks the ladder into his face and tries to climb for the first time. Rob dropkicks him off the ladder to break it up. He puts the ladder onto Hardy and moonsaults it, which is one of those spots where it can’t do enough damage to the other guy to justify the damage to yourself, but that’s wrestling for ya. Rob climbs and Jeff gives him a receipt on the dropkick, so now they’re even again. Jeff DDTs RVD and heads up, with nary a ladder in sight, but he misses the swanton and Rob then pops up and misses the frog splash. Talk about your 50/50 booking. Jeff is the least injured so he climbs, and Rob follows him up and brings him down with a suplex. So now Rob climbs and it’s Jeff’s turn to bring him down, in this case with a powerbomb. And people watch them taking flat back bumps like that and wonder why wrestlers get addicted to painkillers? (Or get caught holding them with intent to distribute…) Jeff climbs and grabs the belt, but Rob removes the ladder, leaving Hardy swinging in the proverbial wind. Rob tries a spectacular spot where he spinkicks him off the belt, but misses and it just looks silly. Jeff falls down anyway, so mission accomplished, if indirectly. Jeff climbs again, but Rob is on it and pushes the ladder over, and this time Jeff can’t stop him from reaching the title at 16:33. The finish was less than inspiring, but the bumps were sick and it turned RVD into a star, so good on them. ***1/2 – Meanwhile, Shane has a gift for Booker: Bookends made out of the announce table. Awww. – WWF v. WCW tag titles: DDP & Kanyon v. Underseller & Kane. The brothers dismantle the Jersey Boyz and no-sell EVERYTHING, including a lowblow and two shots to the cage from DDP. UT no-sells a clothesline and more carnage follows. Kanyon gets chokeslammed and DDT gets pole-vaulted into the cage. Kanyon finally manages a fame-asser on Kane and DDP DDTs UT. They climb, but UT grabs DDP and tells Kane to let Kanyon get out. So it’s 2-on-1, and they just absolutely murder DDP, giving him literally no offense. Finally, he just tells Page to get the hell out and don’t come back, but even then changes his mind, chokeslams him, and finishes with the Last Ride to unify the titles at 10:17. 1/2* You know, I know that DDP is being a jerk backstage and that’s why this match was made into what it was, but for someone paying $30 to watch this at home who DOESN’T know this stuff, this had no place on PPV. I mean, you’re paying DDP like $300,000 a year and using him as a JOB GUY for Undertaker? What’s the point? They already used O’Haire and Palumbo in that slot two shows in a row, and they make a hell of a lot less than DDP does and have FAR more years ahead of them in the business. I hope to GOD this feud is finally put to rest once and for all (it was) and they just get rid of DDP and get it over with so that Kanyon isn’t brought down any further. (They did get rid of DDP the next year, but things didn’t end up good for Kanyon in the end.) Wasting a potential money-drawing unification match to play political games is the kind of thing WCW used to do. I’m pretty sure that Vince McMahon is above that sort of stuff and I hope he’s gotten it out of his system now. (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!) And let’s place our bets now on what goofy non-finish is used to get the unified titles off them. (Two fairly clean jobs, actually, one to the Dudley Boyz to get the WWF titles off them, and one to Booker T & Test to get the WCW belts.) – WWF title match: Steve Austin v. Kurt Angle. Fight on the floor to start, and Austin whales on him. Into the ring, Angle takes him down and they pound on each other like schoolkids fighting over a girl. Angle stomps a mudhole, but makes a crucial tactical error by not walking it dry, and Austin gets his own shots in. Angle clothesline and bodyblock get two, however. He puts his head down and gets caught, and Austin works on the knee. Stepover toehold is countered with the anklelock, but Austin makes the ropes. Outside, Austin hits a clothesline and they head in, where Austin dumps him again to soften up the ankle. Back in, a triple suplex gets two, but Angle comes back and gets seven german suplexes. HEY! That’s gimmick infringement! Angle Slam is blocked, and Austin sends him to the turnbuckle. Austin puts him on top, but Angle blocks a superplex. Austin keeps wearing him down and gets it on the second try. Good psychology there. KICK WHAM STUNNER out of nowhere…gets two. Again, and Angle goes flying out of the ring on the rebound. Austin viciously posts him, drawing blood as promised on RAW. Another two postings are added for good luck, then one for the road and one to grow on. Angle, as you might guess, looks like Tommy Dreamer after taking a tour of the cheese grater factory. Austin slugs him down for two, then tosses him back out and back to that post again. Angle finally sends Austin into the crowd, but Austin suplexes him on the concrete. As Austin climbs back in, however, Angle catches the anklelock, then drags him into the ring by the foot and keeps it on until Austin makes the ropes. Austin bails as Angle bleeds to death. Belly to belly on the floor turns the tide for Angle, and a backdrop suplex there helps. Back in, Angle hits the Anglesault for two. Austin grabs a Million Dollar Dream (!!), but Angle shows awesome psychology by using the Bret Hart Counter from Survivor Series 96 for two, which Austin then counters by rolling out of it and maintaining the sleeperhold. I bow to the Buddha nature of these guys and am not worthy to recap their matches. Angle dumps him to break, but Austin sneaks back in, KICK WHAM STUNNER…gets two. The crowd and my young cousins nearly have a collective heart attack. (I have no idea who the hell I would have been watching with in 2001 unless I was off visiting my family at the time. This was pre-marriage so I would have been watching with my usual crew in Edmonton, I would think. Nothing you care about, of course, but I’m always curious about the off-hand things I would write and then forget about.) Angle crawls up, blocks another Stunner, and gets the Angle Slam for the double KO. Angle crawls over for two. Anklelock, but Austin is in the ropes, and just in case he decks the ref. DDT from Angle, but a second ref counts two. Austin takes that ref out. Third ref in, third ref out. Angle Slam, no ref. Nick Patrick comes in, disqualifies Austin for grievous mistreatment of WWF officials, and the crowd is PISSED at 23:11. Man, they totally booked themselves into a corner with this match – they couldn’t put Austin over because it would destroy Kurt Angle, but they couldn’t put Angle over because they need Austin strong for the unification match against Rock. (Which never happened.) And that’s why DQs were invented. If it had a finish, it’s Match of the Year, but it didn’t, so it ain’t. ****1/2 (Take 2!) WWF World title: Steve Austin v. Kurt Angle Ah, for the days when Angle wasn’t a bloated freak. Austin had of course just betrayed the WWF and joined the Alliance, in vain hopes of salvaging his horrible heel turn. Really, casting Austin as the Bad Guy and Angle as the All-American Boy was the wrong thing for both guys, when each worked better on the other side of the fence. Luckily for the booking team, September 11 came along and gave them a need for an American hero. It was of course unlucky for everyone else in the world, but the point still stands. Big brawl to start and Angle takes him down in the ring and pounds away in the corner, but Austin fires back with chops. Angle gets a clothesline out of the corner and follows with a bodypress for two, but puts his head down and gets clobbered. Austin stomps him down, but Angle quickly grabs the anklelock, forcing Austin to make the ropes. They head out and Austin wins a quick brawl, but Angle is game for a slugfest in the ring. Austin dumps him to end that. Back in, Austin gets a pair of suplexes, and a third one gets two. Angle fires back with the rolling germans, and he manages seven of them, but Austin goes to the eyes to block the Angle Slam. Austin puts Angle on top, but his superplex attempt is blocked, and he has to fight his way back up and get it on the second attempt. I love it when guys have to fight for a move like that, because it adds a touch of realism to a move that’s so fundamentally ridiculous if you stop and think about the cooperation needed to pull it off. KICK WHAM STUNNER gets two, and then a second one actually sends Angle flying out of the ring. Angle sends him SQUARE into the post, and if that isn’t a cue for blood I don’t know what is. And then again for good measure, because Austin is a bastard. And a third one, just so Angle knows who’s boss. Angle’s cartoonish, flat back sell of each one is awesome stuff. Austin gives him two more, although the sixth one is more of a blow to the shoulder, and sure enough Angle is bleeding. Austin, his facial expressions showing why he was the best wrestler in the world for so long, slugs on the cut with glee, and gets two back in the ring. Back to the floor and Angle gets a seventh trip to the post. You know, I don’t recall anyone else doing that kind of spot, where you punish a guy with multiple postings like that. Someone should steal it, because I totally forgot about it until watching it again now. Austin continues the beating, suplexing him into the crowd, but Angle snaps and anklelocks him on the floor. That’s just silly, but Angle is a smart guy and he drags Austin back in and does it again, forcing Austin to make the ropes. Austin bails, so now Angle goes on the offensive and hits him with a belly to belly suplex on the floor and then follows with a backdrop suplex. Back in, the Anglesault gets two. Austin tries a tilt-a-whirl and Angle escapes, so Austin changes gears and hooks the Million Dollar Dream, which JR makes sure to call the cobra clutch instead because Ted Dibiase was persona non grata with WWE at that point. Angle does the Bret Hart reversal for two, but it’s 5 years later and Austin knows better, and he hangs on. I don’t know if that was intentional, but that’s how I interpreted it. And it’s my review, so nyah. Angle dumps him to escape, but Austin (still selling the ankle) sneaks back in with malice and it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER for two. Austin’s evil expressions just make the match. Angle is a fabulous worker and talker, but Austin is on another planet when it comes to the little touches. Angle pulls himself up and Austin gives him the disdainful glare, which Angle uses as a chance for the Angle Slam. That gets two. Another anklelock try, but Austin was already in the ropes and he escapes. Ref is bumped and Angle DDTs Austin, which brings out another ref for the count. That gets two. Austin goes low on Angle and the new ref gets in his face, and you can guess what happens to him. A third ref comes in to prevent Austin from using the belt, but Steve beats on him like he was his wife or something. Angle Slam, but Evil Ref Nick Patrick runs in to finish off the three-ring circus of refs and disqualifies Steve Austin at 22:37. Angle’s great, but this was the Steve Austin Show, as he carried everything on two legs to match of the year candidates in 2001, including HHH, the Rock and then of course Angle. ****1/2 If this was a one-off thing then the DQ would piss me off more than it did, but Angle went over clean at Unforgiven so no biggie. My friend Ed Koskey later complained to me that Austin changed the booking around, altering the original plans of Angle beating on him so badly that he needed to get himself disqualified, but I think this way made for a better match anyway so I can understand both sides of the argument. – WCW Title match: Booker T v. The Rock. Rock slugs away and chases Shane, allowing Booker to catch him coming back in. Rock gets a Samoan drop for two, but walks into a kneelift. The Book unloads with chops, but Rock lays the smackdown. La Majistral gets two. Good lord, Rocky. Booker hits the sidekick for two, and they slug it out again. Booker gets bumped, and they brawl until Rock goes low, pissing off Paul Heyman. Booker crotches Rock on the railing and they head into the crowd. Wicked clothesline from the Bookerman. He sends Rock back to the ringside and preps the announce table, then tosses him into the ringpost (where’s Angle blood is apparently still congealing) while Shane loosens a turnbuckle. Back in, Rock fights back but walks into a spinkick for two. Short-arm clothesline and kneedrop, but Rock fights back…and gets hit with the forearm for two. Booker hits the chinlock, into the surfboard. He’s gotta do something about that habit if he wants to go from a ***1/2 guy to a ****1/2 guy. Rock escapes and hooks the Sharpshooter, but Shane distracts the ref. Rock chases and gets kicked in the head for two. Rock gets a clothesline and catapults Booker into that loose turnbuckle (O, the painful hand of irony!), and a DDT gets two. Shane gives Booker a chair and then lays out Rock with the WCW title while the ref removes said chair. The APA come out and lay out Shane in revenge for earlier in the night. BOOKEND, BOOKEND, BOOKEND…gets two. Rock comes back with the flying lariat and overhead belly to belly for two. Spinebuster sets up the People’s Elbow, but Shane pulls out the ref. Rock gives Shane Rock Bottom and heads back in. Booker gets a spinebuster, no cover. Axe Kick sets up THE MOST ELECTRIFYING MOVE IN SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT TODAY, the Spinarooni, but Rock pops up, Rock Bottom, goodbye at 15:18 as Rock wins the WCW title. Frighteningly, the Spinarooni got a Poparooni. Really good match, but not WWF main-event level good, more like WCW main-event level good. That’s not a knock on either guy, because Rock is rusty and Booker just needs more main events to learn the style, but nonetheless they weren’t gonna follow Austin-Angle and it was kinda silly to even try. ***3/4 (Take 2! Courtesy the third Rock DVD review…) WCW World title: Booker T v. The Rock From Summerslam 2001. Slugfest to start and Rock runs Booker into Shane, then puts him down with a samoan drop for two. Booker comes back with chops, but Rock clotheslines him and cradles for two. Yeah, Rock busted out La Majastral, wanna fight about it? Book kicks him down again for two. Slugfest is won by the Rock and he tosses Booker, as they brawl on the floor. Rock puts him on the table and gives him the most blatant nutshot in PPV history, but Booker recovers and rams him into the stairs, followed by an atomic drop onto the railing. They head into the crowd, where Booker whips him into a barricade and follows with a clothesline, then they head back to ringside. They slug it out, but Rock gets whipped into the post, and Booker drops him on the railing to follow. They just can’t seem to get their chemistry together out there. Back in, Booker slugs him down for two and puts him down with a short clothesline. Kneedrop follows, and Rock fights up only to get put down by a forearm that gets two. And Booker hits the chinlock as this is just going nowhere. Rock comes back with the Scorpion King Deathlock, but Shane McMahon distracts the ref and Rock breaks, only to walk into a superkick that gets two for Booker. Rock takes him down again and catapults him into the corner, followed by a DDT for two. Shane sneaks in with the belt and puts Rock down, but the APA chases him into Bradshaw’s clothesline. Lemme tell ya, Shane selling the Clothesline from Hell is like * by itself. In the ring, Bookend gets two, but Rock slugs back and gets the flying forearm. Overhead belly to belly gets two. Spinebuster and People’s Elbow get two, as Shane pulls the referee out. Rock stops to give him a Rock Bottom on the floor and then lays the smackdown on Booker in the corner, but Booker comes back with his own spinebuster. However, he makes the fatal error and stops for the Spinarooni, which allows Rock to pop up and finish with the Rock Bottom at 15:17, improbably marking the first time the WCW World title would change hands on a WWF PPV. The match was competent enough, but they just had no flash together. *** The Bottom Line: Probably the second-best PPV of the year after Wrestlemania X-7 and definitely the best Summerslam ever (WHOA THERE, cowboy!), with 7 good matches and only one total stinkeroo in the form of the tag title cage match. Still, the Austin-Angle match was kinda like having a heaping bowl of delicious chili and finding a used needle stuck to the roof of your mouth at the end of it. I was actually thinking they’d go Angle over Austin and Booker over Rock to set up rematches next month, but I guess the money is burning a hole in Vince’s pocket and he wants to shoot his unification wad at Unforgiven and get it over with. (Surprisingly, no.) But hey, it’s his company, and I can totally understand why he’d want to. Peace, we out…
Hey Scott long time reader and owner of all your books. Just wondering if you plug my EBAY sell, the wife is making me shed my collection a little. Thanks if you can. Keep up the great writing.
End time: Jun 14, 2012 5:36:26 PM MST
WWF – WrestleMania X-Seven (DVD, 2001, 2-Disc Set)
The SmarK Rant for WWF Judgment Day 2001 Would have had this done earlier on Monday, but it was the Simpsons season finale and I HAVE PRIORITIES, DAMMIT. (Man, back in the days before I could just DVR everything and move on with my life.) Live from Sacra-mental, California. Your hosts are JR & Paul E. Opening match: William Regal v. Rikishi. Rikishi seems to be slipping into the Godfather’s old opening match slot as “lovable comedy figure to pop the crowd”, and if that works for them, so be it. (Now occupied by Brodus Clay.) Slugfest, won by Rikishi and he gets a clothesline. Regal bails to the corner, and blocks an attempted Stinkface with a ballshot and hammers away. Sunset flip and Rikishi misses a buttdrop in retaliation. Regal gets the double-knee for two. Rikishi comes back with a legdrop and CHEEKS OF FIRE, setting up the Super-Mega-Extendo-Stinkface of DOOM. Regal escapes and gives us the best facial expression I’ve ever seen to fully express his disgust. (Really, Regal taking a Stinkface from Rikishi is such a natural pairing that I’m shocked no one thought of doing it sooner.) Back in, Rikishi gets the superkick, but a blind charge misses and Regal finishes with his neckbreaker thingie at 3:56. This served the purpose intended. *1/2 (Rikishi sure fell hard and fast after his attempt to murder Austin.) Kurt Angle v. Chris Benoit. (This was a three falls match, with one pinfall, one submission and one ladder match fall. Weird concept to be sure.) Angle attacks to start, and stomps away in the corner. Angle uses Benoit’s rolling germans and tries the flying headbutt, but misses and Benoit finishes him with the Angle Slam at 1:04 to win the first fall. (Although Benoit didn’t use the Angle Slam much after this, Angle of course worked the rolling germans into his regular moveset from then on.) He grabs the crossface right away and Angle bails. They brawl outside and Angle eats stairs. Angle hits the post, but ducks a chop and sends Benoit nut-first to the post, drawing groans of sympathy from the crowd. (Not so much now.) Paul quips that he’s “not sure what sort of submission move you’d follow that up with”. More brawling, dominated by Angle. Back in, Benoit evades the Anglelock, but Angle goes back to it. Benoit counters to the crossface, but Angle makes the ropes and runs. Angle gets a cheapshot, but Benoit hammers him. Angle beats him down again, however. A suplex is followed by a belly-to-belly (called quite obviously by Angle), but a second try is countered to the crossface. Angle makes the ropes again. Benoit hits a clothesline, but Angle goes to the ankle again. Angle tries some chops and a rollup (?), but Benoit suplexes him out of his boots ala Dynamite Kid. Angle hotshots him to catch a break, and puts a vicious reverse indian deathlock on. Benoit comes back and gets his own Walls of Jericho, drawing a monster pop. (Benoit was doing that move in Japan before Jericho borrowed it, too.) Angle bails to the ropes again. Benoit tries a figure-four, Angle escapes. Benoit works on the knee in classic Flairish fashion, and Angle keeps going to the ropes, causing Ross to comment that he’s going steady with them. Angle finally dumps Benoit in desperation and they brawl on the floor. Back in, Benoit wins a slugfest and DDTs Angle, but takes the Angle Slam and the anklelock finishes at 13:27 to even it at one fall apiece. Ladder fall begins as they fight on the floor and Benoit posts Angle, but gets sent to the stairs. Angle grabs a ladder from under the ring and climbs for the medals, but the ladder is too short and Benoit pushes him over. Benoit grabs the “official” ladder and climbs, but Angle dumps him off. Suplex follows and Angle batters him with the ladder. He charges and Benoit backdrops him over the top to the floor, then grabs the ladder back and returns the abuse with the ladder. He heads back in to climb, but Angle lowblows him to stop it. He puts the ladder in the corner and rams Benoit into it, but Benoit catapults him into it. CANADIAN VIOLENCE! Angle climbs the ladder in the corner to stop the momentum of a whip into said corner, but Benoit dumps the ladder back onto him. That was SUCH a cool spot. Vicious german suplex misses the ladder by about 4 inches, but Angle pops up with a clothesline and whips Benoit into the ladder. He suplexes Benoit onto the ladder. Ouch. Benoit quickly comes back and see-saws the ladder into Angle’s jaw, and then hits him in the head with it for good measure. Benoit climbs with Angle under the ladder, but Angle pushes off and topples the ladder. They lifted that one from Shawn-Razor, but it’s forgivable. Benoit snaps off a crossface, meaning nothing, as Edge & Christian do the “run-in” and distract Benoit long enough for Angle to climb and regain the medals at 24:00. I didn’t like the screwy finish at all, but it’s fine as long as you book Edge & Christian’s later match that way it was booked. The rest of the match was par excellence and was given more than enough time to shine without feeling forced like the Iron Man match. ****1/4 Meanwhile, Jerry Lynn is so bitter and upset that he gives us a goofy death metal grunt to express the totality of his frustration. Oh lord… (Totally forgot about Jerry Lynn’s brief goofy stint in WWE. Maybe if they had let him have some matches with X-Pac like the old days, they could have gotten over together again.) Hardcore title: Rhyno v. Big Slow v. Test. Rhyno & Test double-team Slow, but he dumps both guys and they all brawl. Slow dumps Test into the crowd and they head into the teeming millions, and into the back. Standard RAW hardcore stuff follows as they wander around and then head back to the arena. Test & Rhyno end up alone, oblivious to the fate of the Big Slow. Rhyno loads up the arsenal and DDTs Test on a trashcan lid for two. Slow lumbers back and chokeslams Rhyno, but gets booted by Test for two. Rhyno backs up and it’s ALGORE! ALGORE! ALGORE for Big Slow, but Test nails him for two. Test fire extinguishes Slow for two, but Rhyno dumps him, and ALGORE finishes at 9:13 to retain. Well, it’s better than Test & Show would’ve been, I suppose, but it was mostly the usual here. ** (I see I was still tweaking ways to make fun of Rhyno’s finisher.) Women’s title match: Chyna v. Lita. Chyna is dressing like a Vegas drag queen tonight, complete with bizarre peacock head ornament. (Yeah she was spiralling pretty fast and if this wasn’t her last match in the promotion it was pretty close.) Hug to start draws boos. Chyna overpowers Lita, but gets sunset flipped for two. Chyna cradles her for two off of a handshake, a distinctly Eddy-ish move. Chyna does some kicking and hits a clothesline. Another one gets two. Lita gets a DDT and does some phantom punches. Jesus, someone teach her to punch. Lita gets a flying clothesline for two, and she works the arm, loosing the SILICON FUNBAGS OF DEATH from their flimsy holders, drawing big heat from the horny males in the crowd. Chyna gets a neckbreaker and a powerslam for two. Gorilla Press gets two, but she picks her up. Lita does something resembling a cross armbreaker, but Chyna casually counters with a headscissors. Poochiebomb is reversed into a rana that’s uglier than Chyna, but another Poochiebomb gets the duke at 6:30. I really don’t get that finish. (It was “You won’t job to Lita? Fine, you can win, but then you’re fired.”) Match wasn’t good or anything, but at least they’re out of the negative stars. ½* Intercontinental title match: HHH v. Kane. HHH attacks with the chain and goes after the arm. He wraps it around the post and introduces it to the stairs, then adds some damage with a chair. Into the ring, HHH attaches the chain to begin the match proper. Kane slugs away and uses the chair, but it goes back to the arm. He comes off the top with a chain to the head for two. More armwork. He rams Kane into the stairs a few times and they head back in. Paul & Jim appear to have a running contest to see who can say “Game” and/or “Cerebral Assassin” the most times. (Just think, this was 2001, BEFORE HHH was totally overpushed and overexposed.) HHH takes an unexpected chairshot and blades, and Kane comes back. He chokes HHH out with the chain, and they head. Kane pulls out the old Muraco-Steamboat hangman spot, but HHH yanks him off the top rope back in the ring. Back out, Kane slams him on the floor, but they head back in and Kane walks into the facebuster. Pedigree is stopped with a ballshot, and a chain to the head puts HHH down. Kane goes up and gets a flying chain to the head. Chokeslam, but Austin runs in to help and gets tossed. He tries again with a chair, but hits HHH by mistake in another case of wacky heel miscommunication and Kane gets the pin at 12:28 to win the title. Longish and slowish, but it’s Kane, so what can ya do? ** It was better than their Wrestlemania XV anti-classic, that’s for sure. (This was part of a plan to rebuild the I-C title for the millionth time. It didn’t work.) And now… TAG TEAM TURMOIL. I feel like it’s one of the old Coliseum videos where they introduce MIDGET MADNESS or the like. The APA v. The Radicalz. Saturn walks into a spinebuster at 1:31 to give the APA the first win. Well, that was brisk. DUD The APA v. The Dudley Boyz. (That probably could have been a bigger feud than it was. Seems like they’d have good chemistry together.) APA double-teams D-Von and a Faarooq powerslam gets two. The Dudz pound on Faarooq, but Buh Buh gets double-teamed for two. Buh Buh catches Bradshaw with a sideslam for two, and Bradshaw is your face-in-peril. D-Von legsweep gets two. Bradshaw fights back with a fallaway slam and big boot for two. Pier-six, Bradshaw takes the Dudley Device. Whazzup for Faarooq, tables are gotten. The Hollies run in and Hardcore whiplashes D-Von into his own table (OH! The harsh mistress that is irony…) and the Clothesline From Heck finishes Buh Buh at 4:56. Standard stuff here. ¾* The APA v. X-Factor. X-Pac SHAVED! Truly this is a new era. He gets Faarooq with a spinkick, but gets powerslammed for two. Bradshaw comes in with a suplex as JR notes the shaveitude “for those who might be keeping score at home”. Hey, that’s ME. Justin comes in and gets tossed, but Albert nails Bradshaw like the BIG BALD MONSTER he is. Back in, Bradshaw manages a powerslam, hot tag to the man with too many vowels in his name. Legdrop gets two. X-Pac beats him down, but gets powerslammed for two. Albert trips Bradshaw up and X-Pac gets the pin at 3:43. ¾* X-Factor v. The Hardy Boyz. I’m still in shock over the shave. (Hopefully he shaved for the sex tape.) Big brawl to start, Hardyz double-team Justin. X-Pac pulls Jeff out and X-Factor posts him to take over. X-Pac hits the broncobuster as they’re apparently trying to re-establish that move. Jeff comes back with a double-dropkick, hot tag Matt. Yodelling legdrop, and they dump Justin. Poetry in Motion, and swanton gets two. Albert makes the save, and X-Factor finishes with a superkick at 3:13. RAW match. * (What the fuck is with the X-Factor super-push here?) X-Factor v. The Canadian Violence Connection. (Why did Benoit have to do a 25:00 match with Angle, and then work this as well? They just bought WCW! You’d think they’d have TONS of warm bodies to throw in there and fill the show!) Note to the WWF: You can have that one gratis. Big brawl as Jericho & Benoit destroy X-Factor. Jericho dives onto Albert, but gets posted. And dropped on the railing. X-Pac works Benoit over with chops, and Justin gets an Aldobomb for two. He HITS THE CHINLOCK. Benoit sunset flip gets two, but he remains in enemy territory. X-Pac gets a flipping lariat, but the broncobuster misses. Hot tag Y2J. He nails everything that moves and gives X-Pac a missile dropkick for two. Ref bumped, X-Factor gets the double-superkick, and a new ref counts two. Justin gets catapulted into X-Pac, the CVC suplexes everyone and dumps Albert, and simultaneous submissions end X-Factor’s night at 5:15. Another good RAW match. ** Benoit & Jericho v. Edge & Christian. Winner is YOUR #1 contender. It’s MASS CANADIAN VIOLENCE to start. Jericho suplexes Edge, but he gets hotshotted and Edge stomps him. Christian hammers him for two. Edge dropkick gets two, Edge hits the chinlock. Kneelift, but Jericho fights back against Christian. Christian gets the backbreaker thingie for two. Edge misses a dropkick, Jericho misses the Lionsault. Christian misses Poetry in Motion, hot tag Benoit. Snap suplex for Christian and he dumps Edge. German suplex on Christian gets two, but Edge gets the Edge-O-Matic. Pier-six and E&C go for a double superplex, but Jericho stops it. Benoit dropkicks Christian off of Jericho’s shoulders for two. Edge DDTs Benoit as Jericho posts himself on blind charge. Conchairto is stopped by a double baseball slide, and the CVC try their own and miss. Edge & Christian try the real thing again, but Christian gets caught with a crossface and taps at 7:15. Good stuff. *** WWF title match: Steve Austin v. The Undertaker. They brawl up at the entranceway and back to ringside, where Austin meets the stairs. UT does a railing walk and into the ring, but Austin runs again. They fight out to the entrance again. Into the ring, Austin goes after the leg. Neckbreaker, and Austin works the knee. UT gets the flying clothesline, Stunner is blocked with a big boot for two. Brawl outside AGAIN, Austin gets posted. Back in, Austin wraps the knee around the post a few times. More brawling, Austin clips him on the floor. Back in, back to the knee, and those portions of the knee pertaining to the crotch. Austin grabs a legbar and lays around. UT escapes and they brawl out with Austin taking a TRIP ALL THE WAY BY GAWD TO HELL via the announce table and AS GOD IS MY WITNESS HE’S BROKEN IN HALF! Okay, so JR wasn’t quite that amped up, but you know he was prepping it. Back in, UT gets two. The camera shows a tiny nick in Austin’s back to underscore the severity of the injury from the table. UT drops an elbow for two. UT should start using the heart punch again, just so I can hear JR sell the psychology of why it doesn’t work against Austin, due to him being heartless and all. (Didn’t he start working it into some of his matches in later years, or am I crazy?) Austin bails and weakly nails him with a TV monitor. He pulls a turnbuckle pad off as UT blades. More brawling. Back in, slugfest and THESZ PRESS, THESZ PRESS, THESZ PRESS, BY GAWD. Crowd boos and Austin is all Hollywood Blonds as he smirks. I miss the days when Austin & Pillman used guerrilla warfare on WCW brass to get over by any means necessary. (Zack Ryder tried that too. Didn’t work out as well for him.) Lowblow gets two. Austin stomps away (no mudhole) and grabs a sleeper, but gets suplexed. Austin grabs a chair and KO’s UT. KICK WHAM STUNNER…gets two. Chokeslam to come back, UT uses the chair in excessive fashion. HHH runs in to protest his lack of sportsmanship, and I guess he wanted to make sure no one would steal his sledgehammer or something because we all know how close he is to it. Austin chairs Vince by mistake and Taker goes for the Last Ride, but the sledge, acting of it’s own volition, nails Undertaker and Austin gets the pin to retain at 22:53. HHH should get that thing checked. UT tried hard, but the gas tank is empty and the overbooking killed it. *** The Bottom Line: I had a lot to say, but this is being written after RAW, so it was all negated in dramatic fashion. The show itself was pretty enjoyable, good enough for a thumbs up but nothing to set the world on fire or anything. RAW on the other hand…wow. My thoughts on that are up on TheSmarks.com for any interested parties. (This seemed like a decent show, but it was totally forgettable. Creative was understandably distracted by other things at this point, though.)