Scott’s Feedback Feedbag–May 15 2001

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.
No
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.) 

Fwd: Earthquake’s 2001 try out


Have you even seen this, Mr. Keith?

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xbi27w_earthquake-wwf-dark-match-2001-clip_shortfilms

While incomplete, he looked pretty good.  Shame nothing panned out for the guy.

I've heard of it, although never seen it before.  I know everyone liked him a lot, too, and he probably could have fit in easily, especially with the brand split in 2002 meaning they needed way more bodies to fill up the shows.  It probably wouldn't have mattered because the cancer would have been hitting him pretty hard soon after.  

October Countdown: WWF No Mercy 2001

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.) 

SummerFest Countdown: 2001

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

WWF – WrestleMania X-Seven (DVD, 2001, 2-Disc Set)

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

View item:
WWF – WrestleMania X-Seven (DVD, 2001, 2-Disc Set)

Really?  $70?  People are actually paying that for this show?  Not that it isn't awesome, but holy cow. 
Anyway, good luck! 

Assorted May-Per-View Countdown: WWF Judgment Day 2001

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.) 

Assorted April PPV Countdown: 2001

The SmarK Rant for WWF Backlash 2K1 (2012 Scott sez:  In addition to the change from “Netcop Rant” to “SK Rant” and finally to “SmarK Rant” with this very rant in 2001, I was also doing the pretentious “2K1” year designation, possibly because I was playing a lot of NHL 2K1 on Dreamcast at that point.  Sadly, 2K1 failed to gain universal acceptance and I dropped it a couple of PPVs later.)  Kinda ironic that the WWF is suffering from it’s own backlash, namely from the online fans who are getting increasingly pissed off with their short-sighted booking, empty promises and unfulfilled potential. (Sound familiar?) Of course, much like WCW when the same thing happened to them, their solution to the problem has been becoming a reliance on having their shills tell off the hardcore fans because they’re just “smarks” who don’t know how to run a promotion, and that the “real” fans are still responding to the stale main events and nonsensical storylines. (Sound familiar?) But no matter how much you try to sugar-coat the bile with excuses, Smackdown still did a 3.1 rating last Thursday and the interest for this PPV seems non-existent compared to even Royal Rumble, let alone Wrestlemania. (Vince McMahon would dance a jig in the streets if Smackdown did a 3.1 these days.)  And isn’t it funny how much of a non-factor Austin, the World champion mind you, has become since allying with HHH? After chasing the World title for a year, now he wins it and becomes a coffee-fetching flunky for a guy who tried to kill him less than six months before. (Yeah, that was absolutely an issue and one of the reasons why the heel turn was such a flop.)  One thing’s for sure: No matter how things shakedown in the next few months, you can bet HHH will end up on top. That’s not a criticism, by the way, just an observation.  (Indeed, that proved to be absolutely true.)  By the way, for those who keep asking, my website has moved from Rantsylvania.com to TheSmarks.com. There’s a long story about why you now see an article on rape at the old address, but much of it is probably tied up in Sean Shannon’s various mental problems.  (That was quite the interesting day, as I woke up and discovered that I could no longer access my own website due to my webmaster having what can only be described as some sort of psychotic episode.  And no, I do not know whatever happened to Sean Shannon, aside from him getting a sex change and apparently doing quite well for herself.)  Live from Chi-Town. Your hosts are Paul E & JR. Opening match: X-Factor v. The Dudley Boyz. (Was there a theme song that got people less pumped up than X-Factor’s?  As a wrestling theme it was terrible and it also signalled that you’d have to watch X-Factor, so it was a double whammy of suck.)  Big brawl to start. The Dudz suplex Albert and Spike comes off the top with an ugly cannonball move, then he gets tossed over the top onto Justin & X-Pac. Back in, he gets a crucifix on Justin for two, and a rollup for two. Albert comes in and blocks the Acid Drop, and Spike takes a beating. Justin charges and posts himself, allowing the hot tag to D-Von. He nails X-Pac, but a cheapshot makes him brother-in-peril. The Glimmer Twins post him and and Albert gets some shots in. X-Pac’s lightning legdrop gets two and he hits the chinlock. Spinkick sets up some choking, and Justin gets a Bossman slam. Albert’s underhook slam gets two. D-Von gets the double-clothesline, hot tag Buh Buh. Bubba Bomb for Justin, sideslam for X-Pac. Justin takes Wazzup, but Buh Buh misses a blind charge and takes the superclique for the pin at 8:00. Perfectly Accectable Wrestling. **1/2 The bookers then annoy the shit out of me by having the Dudleyz IMMEDIATELY get their heat back by putting X-Pac through a table. Good lord, this promotion is on cruise control. Hardcore title: Rhyno v. Raven. Rhyno charges and runs into a stop sign for two. Trashcan to the head gets two, but Rhyno shoulderblocks Raven and uses a can for nefarious purposes. Raven hits the floor and gets covered for two. Rhyno sets up the stairs at ringside and tries a daring dive off them, but misses and smashes into a chair. Raven steals his idea and leaps off them with a lariat for two. Back in, Raven punches Rhyno to the floor and tosses more plunder in. Rhyno posts him, and uses the “Keep Off” SIGN OF DEATH for two. Again with that, it gets two. Back in, Rhyno hits him in the head with a shopping cart, but gets drop-toeholded into it. Ouch. Roadsign gives Raven a comeback and he gets the bulldog for two. Rhyno charges with the shopping cart, but Raven knocks him off, dropping the cart on him in the process. Raven runs him down with the cart, but walks into a sign for two. Rhyno preps the Gore, but misses and crashes into the shopping cart, trapping himself. That’s a brilliant spot. Raven pounds on him with a sink and gets two. Crowd was TOTALLY buying that near-fall. Rhyno pops up and gores him for the pin at 8:11. Really terrific hardcore match as the WWF continues to at least do a great job bringing Rhyno along. ***1/2  (I find it interesting that they just kind of gave up on Rhyno the way they did, given he was getting good reactions and had the kind of look and explosive offense that they usually dig.)  Duchess of Queensbury match: Chris Jericho v. William Regal. I think we all feared an outbreak of Russocity here. Regal actually brings the “Duchess” with him, who looks like Hank Azaria in drag, guaranteeing HOURS OF HILARITY for all. Jericho goes for the arm and gets some CANADIAN VIOLENCE. He goes up with a flying forearm and a dropkick sends Regal to the floor. They brawl for a bit, and back in as Jericho misses a dropkick badly. Regal gets two off a suplex. He spreads some goodwill and hits the chinlock. He goes up but gets dropkicked and rana’d. More Canadian Violence and a forearm set up the Lionsault, but the “first round” has expired, according to the Duchess, so the match continues. Everyone who CAN’T predict the finish from 8 miles away please leave the room now. Regal rolls him up for two. Jericho goes up, but gets caught, catapulted and suplexed onto his head. Nasty. Regal Stretch, but Jericho makes the ropes. Jericho gets the Walls of Doink, but of course now submissions don’t count. Note to future WWF writers: If you don’t have any GOOD ideas for a cutesy match, just DO A MATCH. Jericho goes after the Duchess but gets nailed with a scepter by Regal. Now it’s no-DQ, and the crowd just totally tunes out as they all see where this is going, too. The near-fall on Jericho back in hardly even gets a reaction. Regal gets a back elbow and a suplex for two. Jericho hits an enzuigiri and comes back to stomp a mudhole. Regal bails and lands in the Duchess’ lap (OH THE HILARITY! STOP MY SIDES FROM SPLITTING!), but Jericho tosses her into the ring, puts the Walls on her LIKE A MORON, thus leaving himself completely open to a chairshot for the pin at 12:34. Way too long to build to an obvious and totally unwanted Russo finish. ** Jericho’s character is just dying before our eyes, and they either need to get him up into the main event or find something new and different for him to do besides being the smart-ass Canadian who ends up back where he started. (He just kind of floundered in that position until they were suddenly like “Oh, let’s put both World titles on him and then have him headline Wrestlemania as Stephanie’s dog-walker” and wondered why he didn’t get more over in that position.)  With X-Pac, Kane, Benoit and Regal it’s always win one, lose one, win one, lose one. (Much like the entirety of the promotion today.)  Oddly enough, with HHH it was lose one, lose one, lose one. How about that.  (At least he’d get one back soon enough.)  30-minute Ultimate Submission match: Chris Benoit v. Kurt Angle. Lockup series to start, and they do a sweet mat-wrestling clinic. Angle goes for the ankle early, Benoit makes the ropes. Back to the mat, Angle makes the ropes and bails. Back in, Benoit controls the mat again. He goes for the Crossface, Angle makes the ropes and bails. Back in, Benoit grabs a waistlock and they fall to the floor where Benoit locks on the Crossface to no avail. Angle stalls. Back in, Angle grabs a legbar and gets the first fall at the 22:54 mark. Benoit with some CANADIAN VIOLENCE, but Angle works the knee with a pair of clips. He walks into a cross armbreaker, however, to even it up at 21:55. Benoit pounds him in the corner and goes to the armbar again, but Angle makes the ropes. Benoit gets a shoulderbreaker and more CV to the shoulder, so Angle grabs a chair and clocks Benoit. Anglelock puts him up 2-1 at 19:38. Benoit is still out, so Angle puts him in a Crossface to go 3-1 at 18:18. Backdrop suplex and Angle stomps Benoit to the floor and they brawl. Back in, Benoit backdrops him out and posts him. Angle sends him to the stairs, however, and Anglelocks him on the floor. Into the ring, Benoit blocks an armbar and makes the ropes. Angle grabs an abdominal stretch, reversed by Benoit. Angle makes the ropes, but Benoit snaps on a Sharpshooter, drawing a huge pop from the crowd. The WWF should take note and build that up as a finish for Benoit. (They did in fact.)  Half-crab with a knee to the face is enough for a submission to make it 3-2 at 11:55. Angle runs away, Benoit chases. Angle runs again, Benoit chases again. Again, and Benoit gets caught coming in. Slugfest and Angle tosses Benoit. Back in, Angle suplex and Benoit hits the ropes to prevent anything. Good psychology there. Blind charge misses, but Angle goes for the ankle again. To the floor, Angle suplexes him. Back in, Benoit tries his own anklelock, but Angle makes the ropes. Dropkick misses and Angle stretches him with a choke. Benoit breaks but gets clotheslined. Overhead belly to belly, twice, by Angle. Benoit comes back with the rolling germans and counters the anklelock into one of his own to tie it at 2:07. Benoit goes after the knee, viciously clipping him. Back to the germans, but Angle goes low and grabs the anklelock until time expires at 30:00. The match, of course, continues into OT. If Angle was from Dallas, Benoit would be in REAL trouble. (Hockey reference there.)  Angle gets a Steiner-ish belly to belly, but Benoit takes him down and they tustle. Benoit struggles into the Crossface and gets the win at 1:33 of overtime. Really really solid psychology and intensity, but a lot of the stuff just didn’t seem to go anywhere and the fast submissions really hurt the believability of it for me. ***3/4  (Seems like they were kind of overdoing the submission match conceit with this gimmick.  Like, a submission match would have been fine without the need to cram a bunch of them into 30 minutes.)  Shane McMahon v. The Big Show. (I don’t have the foggiest recollection of how we got to this particular feud after Wrestlemania.)  Shane grabs a kendo stick and canes Show into dog chow to start, drawing a “Shane O Mac” chant. Show clotheslines him and back in we go. Shane uses a chair to put him down, then gets an ETHER-SOAKED RAG?!? Didn’t Paul Bearer retire that gimmick in 1999? Holy 60s flashback, Batman! Show goes down, but Vince runs in and chairs his boy. Show comes back with a sideslam and bumps Shane around, then hits the Final Cut (of Meat). Chokeslam, Show picks him up. Test runs in and brawls with Show to the entrance, and Shane climbs the scaffolding. Test puts Show on the VERY conveniently placed black staging area, and Shane comes off from 239 feet in the air or whatever they’re claiming this PPV and gets the win at 11:55. Why would you even waste the stuntman bump on a Big Show match that was already flirting with negative stars? *1/4 European title: Matt Hardy v. Christian v. Eddy Guerrero. Well, we’ve got these guys, and we have no clue what to do with them, but they have good matches, so here you are. Welcome to the monopoly. (Going strong for 11 years and counting!) Heels beat on Matt and toss him, but Christian turns on Eddy. Powerslam gets two. Eddy gets a rana and they head up, but Matt shoves Eddy off and rolls him up for two. Christian nails Matt, but Eddy suplexes him. Everyone out. Matt sunset flips Eddy for two, and Eddy bails. Matt lariats Christian for two, but Eddy pulls Matt out. Christian follows and gets DDT’d by Matt. JR notes how nice it is that Edge & Jeff aren’t hanging around at ringside and that’s it man on man on man. Eddy suplexes Matt in, and then brainbusters him for two. Matt backdrops him and goes upstairs, but Eddy blocks with a rana attempt, which is stopped by Christian. Matt suplexes Christian onto Eddy and clotheslines them both. Yodelling legdrop on Eddy gets two, and Christian brawls with Matt outside, allowing Edge to run in and spear Matt on the floor. Oh, lord. Eddy covers Matt for two. Jeff then joins us and attacks Edge as Christian gets the Unprettier on Eddy, but Jeff comes in and swantons him, leading to the Twist of Fate for the pin to retain at 6:37. Way too short given all the interference allotted. This would be a good RAW match…but it’s a PPV, ya know? **1/2 In fact, I could make that comment about a lot of this stuff tonight.  (Yeah, I don’t remember one minute of this PPV this far.)  WWF World title, Intercontinental title, Tag team title match: Undertaker & Kane v. Steve Austin & HHH. (Cast in point, the main event, which I again didn’t even remember.  If you had held a gun to my head before re-reading this rant, I could not have told you what the main event for this show was.)  Heels bail right away and the Long Stall begins. UT beats on Austin in the ring, then Kane beats on HHH. Austin gets the same. HHH Uses the Knee on Kane and goes after the arm, but gets clotheslined. Austin comes in and runs like UT like a chickenshit. The Austin character gets weaker by the week. Taker stomps him and whips him hither and thither for a bit, and Kane comes in to continue. Austin nails the arm and tags HHH, who walks into a big UT right. Ropewalk on both heels and both bail. Back in, a HHH cheapshot puts UT down and they double-team. They beat on him on the floor and Austin hits a kneedrop back in the ring. More beating in the corner. DDT on HHH turns the tide, and Kane almost gets a tag, but not quite. Thesz Press for UT and FU elbow, but he no-sells and hits a double-clothesline on the heels. Hot tag Kane. Sideslam for Austin and Kane goes up with a lariat and slams HHH off the top. They nails the arm, but Kane fights them off. Austin finally gets the arm and they work on it, for TEN MINUTES. Seriously, that’s all it is. Austin comes off the top what feels like a year later and hits boot, and Kane breaks a sleeper with a suplex. HHH gets the Pedigree, but Austin wants the cover and gets one. Taker chokeslams him, and Kane gets two. Kanezuigiri for HHH, hot tag UT, but the ref misses it. UT cleans house and Wedgiebombs HHH, but HE’S NOT LEGAL. Of course, it’ll go uncalled the other 99/100 times it happens, but such is life. Stunner for Kane, and Austin goes brawling with UT and is basically forgotten. Vince runs in, gives HHH his trusty sledgehammer, and that finishes Kane at 25:02 to give HHH & Austin the tag titles. Like anyone cares. **1/2 I know it’s a main event and all, but 30 minutes (with stalling at the beginning) is just INSANELY long for what these guys are limited to right now. Notice how HHH gets the winning pin on Kane, a finish that pretty much everyone called, once again proving HHH is indeed the most intelligent person in our so-called sport. The match would have been higher on the spectrum of the good end if they didn’t have that immensely boring middle portion and if Austin wasn’t Budro to HHH’s Bill.  (Case in point about Austin, as they neutered him for the heel turn and built up HHH as the alpha dog, and then were stuck with cowardly heel Austin on top when HHH got injured.)  The Bottom Line: The show lacked anything really bad, and the good was good enough for a VERY mild thumbs up, but does the world REALLY clamour for Austin v. Undertaker part 18 next month, or that show-stealing HHH v. Kane match? (This show and whatever the May show was called both did pretty putrid buyrates, a trend for WWE that continues to this day.)  Can the WWF at least throw me a bone and have the Canadian Chris Connection win the tag belts from Austin & HHH in a somewhat non-screwy fashion tomorrow night? (Well, a month after this, yes.)  Will Rick’s thumb be firmly in the middle for this show again?  (I find it astonishing that the months after they BOUGHT WCW would be so ungodly dull and boring.  You’d think that this would have been the most exciting time to be a wrestling fan ever, but it just went wrong in so many ways and killed the boom period once and for all.)  Stay tuned for all the answers, same smark time, same smark channel! 

The King's Recap: WWF Smackdown 4.19.2001

WWF SMACKDOWN
Thursday, April 19th, 2001

Taped (4/17) from the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, TN

List of WWF Champions at the time:
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Triple H (4/16/2001)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian (4/01/2001)
WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero (4/01/2001)
WWF Hardcore Champion: Kane (4/01/2001)
WWF Women’s Champion: Chyna (4/01/2001)
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Crash Holly (3/18/2001)

~ Smackdown comes on the air with clips from the IC Title rematch on Raw and the subsequent events. Michael Cole then welcomes us to the show along with Tazz and announces tonight Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho will face the Dudleys in a tables match. And maybe some other stuff as well. Maybe they’ll even remember they have a pay-per-view in 10 days and actually book something for it.

~ Things kick off with Commissioner William Regal making his way to the ring. Regal gets on the mic and demands the Undertaker and Kane come out and face him in the ring. The brothers quickly answer and Regal chasises them for interfering in Steve Austin and Triple H’s business, warning them it will not be tolerated. Regal suggests Taker and Kane stay away from Austin and Triple H feeling they will do the same to them. Regal then tells Kane he looks ready for action and orders him to defend his Hardcore Title right now then proceeds to bring out Kane’s opponent which turns out to be…

  • WWF Hardcore Title: Kane © (w/The Undertaker) vs. Rhyno (w/Edge & Christian)

Rhyno rushes the ring with his pals but Kane works him over him while Taker takes care of E&C and the brothers clear the ring. Takes and Kane go out after their foes and Taker works over E&C then tosses them over the barricade and chases them in the crowd. Rhyno rams Kane into the ringsteps and tees off on him before tossing him back in the ring. Rhyno goes for a whip but Kane reverses it and hits a boot then climbs to the top rope and connects with the flying clothesline. Kane plants Rhyno with the chokeslam when Steve Austin and Triple H run in the ring brandishing chairs and nail Kane in the back before beating him down with them, especially targeting the arm. Triple H tells Rhyno to cover Kane and Rhyno does so for the 1..2..3 to win his first Hardcore Title. (2:31) Oddly enough they’re playing Triple H’s music even though Rhyno was the one who won the title. Taker rushes back to the ring and chases Austin and Triple H away but is far too late for Kane. NR

~ Back from break we get a replay of Austin and Triple H vicioulsy attacking Kane, followed by footage of Kane painfully making his way to the back while holding his arm.

  • The Right To Censor vs. The Acolytes & Kaientai

The RTC is on a massive losing streak and they’re hoping to turn things around here. Steven Richards starts off against Sho Funkai who tries to intimidate Richards with a sumo stance but Richards doesn’t go for it and attacks Funaki in mid-pose. Richards whips Funaki but Funaki comes back with a headscissors. Funaki tags Taka Michinoku in and trips Richards with a drop toehold then goes into a camel clutch and holds Richards while Taka dropkicks the face. Richards drives Taka into his corner where the RTC triple-team him before Val Venis tags in to take over. Val whips Taka into a and chagres but Taka sidesteps him only to eat an elbow in return. Val climbs to the top rope and misses a corkscrew crossbody but comes back with a clothesline. Val whips Taka and hits a spinebuster then goes into a submission hold but Bradshaw breaks it up. Goodfather tags in and beats Taka down then throws him across the ring and hits a suplex. Goodfather covers but Faarooq makes the save and Val comes in without a tag and stomps Taka. Bull Buchanan tags in and helps Goodfather whip Taka and hit a double elbow. Buchanan clotheslines Taka and sets him on the top rope then goes up but Bradshaw throws him off to the mat. Buchanan knocks Bradshaw off the apron and everyone pours in the ring while Taka is still perched on the top rope. Goodafther tosses Funaki over the ropes while Faarooq clotheslines Buchanan over as well. Bradshaw powerbombs Richards while Buchanan comes over and tries to whip him but Bradshaw reverses and Faaoorq helps him hit a double spinebuster. Taka follows up a kneedrop from the top rope and that gets the pin to continue the RTC’s woes. (4:21) The Acolytes celebrate with Kaientai while the RTC are shocked that they lost again. What you’d expect. *

~ Cole and Tazz now hype Saturday’s XFL Championship game between the San Francisco Demons and the L.A. Xtreme and we even get a special video look at Xtreme quarterback Tommy Maddox’s journey through the XFL season. That’s this Saturday on NBC!

~ Backstage Undertaker is promising Kane they’ll get even as he asks some backstage guys where Commissioner Regal’s office is. Once they point the way the brothers head off but not before Taker tells the guys to call 911 as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Grandmaster Sexay admires his reflection in Eddie Guerrero’s European Title belt when Eddie comes up and tells Sexay to keep his hands off his property. Sexay tells Eddie to chill while calling him dawg but Eddie takes offesne to being called a dog and Sexay tries to tell him not to be so hot, calling him tamale. Eddie takes offense to that as well and Sexay decides to show him his hip hop moves in the ring. Eddie takes that as a challenge so he grabs his title belt and storms off.

~ Elsewhere backstage a WCW1 limo arrives in the parking lot meaning Shane McMahon is here tonight.

~ Still elsewhere William Regal is enjoy his tea when The Undertaker and Kane barge into his office and angrily clear off his desk. Taker grabs Regal by his coat and accuses him of setting them up earlier then demands he give them Austin and Triple H, and after that Edge, Christian and Rhyno as well. Regal claims he’s not inclined to grant such a request so Kane responds by setting Regal’s trashcan on fire and that convinces Regal to grant Taker and Kane a tag team title match with Edge and Christian tonight. Taker feels that isn’t enough and Regal is at a loss of what he wants until Kane sets a nearby plant on fire. Regal finally caves in and tells Taker and Kane if they win the titles they can have Austin and Triple H. Taker and Kane seem satisfied and start to depart when Regal mentions their tag title match is no disqualification. The brothers walk off but not before Kane sets Regal’s desk on fire on his way out as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Undertaker forcing Regal to give him and Kane a tag title match. Cole reminds us of Taker and Kane win the titles they’ll they their shot at Austin and Triple H.

  • WWF European Title: Eddie Guerrero © vs. Grandmaster Sexay

Sexay leads the crowd in a cheer and busts a move that allows Eddie to attack him from behind. Eddie whips Sexay and hits an elbow then whips him again but Sexay slides under him and hits a neckbreaker. Sexay goes for a whip, Eddie reverses him into a corner and charges at him but eats a boot. Sexay hops onto the middle rope and leaps off, Eddie ducks him but Sexay comes back with a DDT for a two count. Eddie bails out to the floor but Sexay hits a baseball slide then brawls with Eddie up the ramp before bulldoging him onto it. Sexay throws Eddie back in the ring and climbs to the top rope and goes for a flying crossbody but misses it. Eddie hits a double stomp to the chest followed by shoulderblocks in a corner. Eddie whips Sexay into the opposite corner but Sexay stops himself then tosses Eddie his head onto the turnbuckles. Sexay hits an euzuigiri then whips Eddie and hits a backdrop and dances a big before hitting a right hand. Sexay goes for a whip, Eddie reverses him into a corner and Sexay lifts himself over Eddie then grabs Eddie with a waistlock. Eddie switches into his own waistlock when Sexay elbows him away and goes for a Figure Four but Eddie kicks him into the ringpost and rolls him up for a two count. Eddie hits a back suplex then climbs to the top rope looking for the Frogsplash but Sexay cuts him off then goes up and hits a superplex. Instead of covering Eddie, Sexay climbs to the top rope himself but Eddie grabs the referee’s ankle and causes him to bump the ropes, straddling Sexay on the buckle. Sexay falls to the mat and Eddie rolls him up with his own feet on the ropes for the win. (4:38) Eddie did his best but this match still had no heat.

~ Backstage Vince McMahon, Steve Austin and Triple H demand an explanation from William Regal about the match he set up and Regal assures them they can use the no-DQ stipulation to their advantage. Vince decides to add some entertainment and asks the other three to see what happens to Shane later then departs while the others continue their discussion as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Lillian Garcia interviews Edge and Christian about their tag title defense later as well as Rhyno’s controversial Hardcore title win. Edge responds by saying controversy rules and there’s a huge problem in their match tonight but it’s The Undertaker and Kane’s, not theirs. Edge says he and Christian are the big game hunters and any bets placed on them will pay big dividends. Christian adds they’ve been up against big obstacles before but have always walks out still tag team champs. Christian says they have a plan that reeks of awesomeness before the three of them depart.

~ Out in the arena Vince McMahon hits the ring because we just have to get our McMahon promo time in. Vince gets on the mic and talks about how Shane McMahon came back to the WWF some time ago and attacked him in the ring then stole WCW from under his nose and kicked a trash can in his face. Vince then suggest Shane is stalking him after appearing on Raw and pulling up in his limo tonight. Vince claims he never wanted WCW in the first place then feels Shane has something important to say so he dares Shane to come out and confront him face-to-face. Shane does make his way out and grabs a mic and apologizes to Vince … for not beating him up a long time ago after Wrestlemania. Shane says things are getting hot in WCW just like the issues in his personal life after his speech on Raw, which Linda and her attorneys found in very interesting. Shane tells Vince to have a nice day and starts to head out but Vince stops him and tries to explain himself, claiming what he said on Monday wasn’t about divorce, it was about the sanctity of marriage. Vince brings up the conversation Shane had with The Big Show and even shows it on the OvalTron before reminding him that Shows’s working for the WWF.

Vince then invites Show to the ring for a public conversation and Show comes out and shake Shane’s hand. Vince accuses Show of trying to impress Shane when Shane sees him just as the world does, the single biggest dissapopintment in the WWF. Vince feels Shane is trying to recruit Show to WCW behind the scenes and congradulates him on his accquisition. However Vince tells Show once he gets to WCW he’s going to get some of the pep talks Shane used to give him and shows a clip from Smackdown last year of Shane calling Show an pathetic, pea-brained, unmotivated slob. Vince then shows a still of Shane breaking a cement block over Show’s head at Judgment Day last May, followed by a series of clips of Shane making fun of Show over the past year as well. Vince tells Show he may have squandered his oppertunites but still has the potential to be WWF Champion before asking him to decide his path, whether he remains in the WWF or goes with Shane to WCW. Show grabs Vince by the throat but then turns and grabs Shane by the throat and proceeds to chokeslam him. Vince stands over Shane and tells him he will face Big Show at Backlash, in a Last Man Standing match. Vince and Show leave Shane laying in the ring and hey, we finally have a match booked for the pay-per-view.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Vince asking Show to make a decision and Show answering with a chokeslam.

~ Out in the arena The Dudleys make thier way to the ring for the tables match followed by Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho, who are teaming up for the first time. However before the match starts William Regal comes out to the stage along with Kurt Angle. Regal gets on the mic and mentions that Backlash is just 10 days away then tells Jericho he won’t be getting off that easy because the two will wrestle each other again, this time in a match under ‘Duchess of Queensbury’ rules which he will explain in due course. Regal then tells Benoit he will fight Angle on the card as well, in a 30-minute ultimate submission match where the most submissions wins. So we got three matches booked for Backlash, all in the span of five minutes. Anyway Regal then demands the tables match start just as the Dudleys attack Benoit and Jericho from behind.

  • The Dudley Boyz vs. Chris Benoit & Chris JerichoTables Match

Bubba Ray tosses Benoit through the ropes and goes after him on the floor while Jerricho tees off on D’Von in a corner. Jericho goes for a whip, D’Von reverses him into a corner and eats a boot but catches Jericho with a powerslam as Angle looks on. D’Von whips Jericho and hits the jumping elbow then whips him again but Jericho comes back with a forearm followed by a dropkick. D’Von rolls out to the apron when Jericho connects with the springboard dropkick but Bubba comes in and plants Jericho with a Samoan Drop. Benoit comes in and hammers away on Bubba then Benoit goes for a whip, Bubba reverses him into a corner and eats a double boot but nails Benoit with the Bubbabomb. Benoit fights back with chops and goes for a whip but Bubba reverses him into a corner and slams him. Bubba then sets Benoit up as D’Von climbs to the top rope and hits the “Wassup” headbutt as Angle continues to observe. The Dudleys go out and grab a table when Jericho goes for a baseball slide but the Dudleys raise the table up and ram it into Jericho’s face. The Dudleys set the table up in the ring then go for a double flapjack on Benoit through the table but Jericho moves it just in time. Jericho nails D’Von with a spinning heelkick but eats a right hand from Bubba. Bubba places Jericho onto the table as D’Von climbs to the top rope but Benoit cuts him off. Bubba clubs Benoit in the back but Jericho knocks Bubba through the ropes. Benoit and Jericho then go to superplex D’Von through the table but Bubba moves it to prevent that as well. Bubba clotheslines Jericho over the ropes when Benoit grabs him with a waistlock, Bubba fights out of it and goes for the Bubbabomb but Benoit counters into a German suplex. Benoit holds on for a second German then goes to put Bubba through the table with a third German suplex but D’Von moves it to save Bubba. Jericho climbs to the top rope and connects with a missle dropkick on D’Von. The Chrises set the table up and Benoit places D’Von on it while Jericho goes for a Liondsault but Bubba trips him from the floor. Benoit climbs to the top rope looking for the diving headbutt through the table when Angle runs down and shoves Benoit off the top through the table, which somehow gets the Dudleys the victory. (4:31) Entertaining match there but can someone explain how Angle putting Benoit through the table means the Dudleys win? **½

~ Back from break we get a music video about the Undertaker and Kane set to Marilyn Manson’s “Fight Song”.

~ Backstage Vince wishes Edge & Christian luck in their match but something tells him they won’t need it. Vince then joins Steve Austin and Triple H in looking at highlights of them beating down the Hardys on Raw. I guess this is suppsoed to make us think the Hardys are still in the main storyline but we know better.

~ Elsewhere Johnathan Coachman interviews Molly Holly on her chances of winning the Women’s title tonight. Molly feels her chances are fair and she may not be as big is Chyna but is still going to do her best.

~ Chyna is then shown heading to the ring for her aforementioned title defense as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get an exterior shot of the Gaylord Entertainment Center and also find Jevon Kearse of the Tennessee Titans in the crowd tonight.

~ Backstage Kevin Kelly interviews the Undertaker and Kane (who has his left elbow taped up), asking if they’re ready for their title shot. Taker chastises Kevin for asking the dumbest questions sometimes then asks why Steve Austin and Triple H feel beating up women and commentators makes them such bad dudes. Taker says once he and Kane finish Edge and Christian they’re going to show them who the real bad guys are, and while E&C are 7-time Tag Team champions they’re going to lose the titles for the seventh time. Taker finishes by saying E&C will make a name for themselves because he and Kane are going to make them famous.

  • WWF Women’s Title: Chyna © vs. Molly Holly

Molly grabs Chyna with a waistlock to start, Chyna counters into a hammerlock, Molly reverses it and Molly goes into a headlock but Chyna shoves her into the roeps and hits a shoulderblock. Molly locks up with Chyna and applies an arm wreinger but Chyna reverses into her own armwringer. Molly flips out of it and goes into an armbar but Chyna throws her to the mat and hits a press slam. Chyna charges at Molly in a corner but Molly sidesteps her and hits a bulldog for a two count. Molly climbs to the top rope and connects with a flying crossbody but that only gets two as well. Molly comes off the ropes but runs into a clothesline and Chyna powerbombs Molly for the pin. (2:15) And Chyna’s burial of the Women’s division continues. *

~ Backstage we find Kurt Angle telling someone off camera not to come out until he says it’s time because they’re going to teach Chris Benoit about the three I’s as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Cole and Tazz again shill the XFL Championship game this Saturday night. They really want is to watch it, dont they?

~ Kurt Angle comes out to the ring as Tony Chimel announces this as a five-minute submission exhibition. Angle gets on the mic and says how he’s been beating opponents his whole life which he calls his ‘thang’ and pinning opponents is great but leaves him a little empty since he just pins them to the mat. Angle says there’s no better feeling than humilitaing his opponent by making them submit to his Olympic wrath. Angle says he wanted the ultimate submisison match promising 30 minutes of torture for Chris Benoit at Backlash because he’s going to make Benoit squeal over and over. Angle feels the fans don’t get what he’s saying so he’s recruited a trio of local wrestlers and brings them out for a submission demonstration. Angle says he will give each of them the chance to make him submit and hopes Benoit is watching his future. The first guy moves in but Angle takes him down with a headlock/armbar combo and forces him to tap. The second guy charges but Angle trips him and hits a front facelock slam that gets a submission. The third guy grabs Angle with a waistlock but Angle hits a Fireman’s carry and forces a tapout with an armbar. The thrid guy tries agan but Angle throws him over his shoulder and slaps on a jujigatame for the submission. Angle hits the second guy with a belly-to-belly throw and forces him to quit with a Dragon sleeper. Angle helps the guy up but kicks him in the back of the knee and locks in the Anklelock for a tapout. The other two guys are hesitant to lockup again so Angle offer to be in the mount position for them. The third guy moves in with a waistlock but Angle rolls forward into the Anklelock for another tapout. Angle drops to the mat again but has his back to the ramp and I bet you’re thinking “I wonder if Benoit is going to come out, replace the scrub when Angle isn’t looking and slap on the Crossface.” Well, that’s exactly what happens as Benoit slips in the ring and tosses the remaining guy over the ropes behind Angle’s back then slaps on the Crossface and Angle is the one who’s forced to tap out. Benoit refuses to let go at first but eventually does and leaves Angle laying in the ring.

~ Edge, Christian and Rhyno are all shown heading to the ring as are The Undertaker and Kane which means main event time is next. We then see Steve Austin and Triple H getting up and heading somewhere as we go to commercial.

  • WWF World Tag Team Titles: Edge & Christian © (w/Rhyno) vs. The Undertaker & KaneNo-DQ Match

We opened the show with these five guys and it looks like we’re going to close with these same guys. Edge, Christian and Rhyno triple-team Kane while Taker rides to the ring on his motorcycle. Taker heads in and manages to clear Edge and Rhyno out then goes out after Edge leaving Christian and Kane. Kane plants Christian with a sidewalk slam and hits a clothesline then Christian goes after Kane’s bad arm but Kane swats him away and pounds him down in a corner. Christian slips out of the corner and gets in his own shots then goes for the count-along punches but Kane shoves him off and decks Edge off the apron. Kane manages to hit a one-arm powerslam then brings Edge in the ring and hits him with a big boot. Kane goes for the ropes and Rhyno nails him from behind to distract him as Christian moves in but Kane backdrops Christian over the ropes where Taker meets him with a right hand on the floor. In the ring Kane grabs Edge by the throat for a chokeslam but Rhyno comes in and Gores Kane. Edge lays the boots to Kane and kicks at the bad arm. Kane kicks him away and crawls to his corner but Edge cuts off the tag, even thought it’s no-DQ and Taker should just be able to come in whenever he wants. Edge applies an armwringer on the bad arm and Kane tries to fight back but Edge hits an amrbar slam. Taker breaks up the pin but is ordered out of the ring by Earl Hebner, again even though the match is no-DQ. Christian comes in without a tag and tees off on Kane’s bad arm then locks in a short-arm scissors. Kane manages to roll over and get to his feet with Christian on his arm and suplex him. Kane crawls over to his corner and makes the tag to Taker but Edge distracts Hebner who misses it. Making me ask why they’re doing the false tag spot in a no-DQ match?

Hebner orders Taker out of the ring while E&C pull Kane to their corner and Edge lays the boots to him. Both men exchange punches and Edge goes for a whip but Kane slings Edge into a corner and hits a suplex. Christian comes in but Kane clotheslines him down then crawls to his corner and makes the hot tag to Taker. Taker takes it to both E&C and whips Christian hitting a backdrop then nails Edge with a big boot. Taker works over E&C in opposite corners before clohteslining Edge over the ropes. Taker grabs Christian by the throat when Rhyno comes in with a chair and whacks Taker in the back. Christian crawls over and covers Taker but only gets a two count. Rhyno starts to work over Taker when Kane grabs him for a chokeslam but Rhyno kicks the bad arm and clotheslines him over the ropes. Kane lands on his feet on the floor as Rhyno goes out after him but Kane boots him down on the ramp. E&C double-team Taker in the ring while Kane chokeslams Rhyno on the ramp. Steve Austin and Triple H run out and beat Kane down on the floor as E&C continue to assault Taker. E&c bring a pair of chairs in the ring and go for the ConChairto but Taker ducks the shot. Taker pops Edge then plants Christian with the Last Ride and gets the three for the belts! (8:14) Taker and Kane get their first tag titles as a duo as well as a match with Austin and Triple H. Okay main event but got overbooked toward the finish and it would mark the end of E&C’s last tag title run together. **

Austin and Triple H prevent a celebration by rushing the ring and double-teaming Taker. Kane comes in swinging a chair with his good arm and manages to clear Austin and Triple H from the ring and we have a staredown to finish the show. Hmm, Austin is World Champ, Triple H is Intercontinential Champ and Taker and Kane are Tag Team Champs. I wonder if there’s any type of match to take advantage of this fact.

Conclusion: Unusual but mediocre show as the WWF scrambled to put together Backlash, which was only 10 days away. The matches weren’t anything noteworthy other than the opener and main event, both of which, oddly enough, had the same cast of characters and featured title changes. Plus there was too much talking to build up the three matches suddenly made for the supercard so far. But that’s what happens when you squander three weeks with very little happening and are left with only three shows (four if you include Heat, which you’ll have to) to build the pay-per-view, kind of like the 2011 NBA preseason. So unless you want see Taker and Kane win the belts or Rhyno capture his first WWF gold, go ahead and skip this one.

For more reviews visit my archive at: http://kingsrecaps.wordpress.com

The King's Recap: WWF Smackdown 4.19.2001

WWF SMACKDOWN
Thursday, April 19th, 2001

Taped (4/17) from the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, TN

List of WWF Champions at the time:
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Triple H (4/16/2001)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian (4/01/2001)
WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero (4/01/2001)
WWF Hardcore Champion: Kane (4/01/2001)
WWF Women’s Champion: Chyna (4/01/2001)
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Crash Holly (3/18/2001)

~ Smackdown comes on the air with clips from the IC Title rematch on Raw and the subsequent events. Michael Cole then welcomes us to the show along with Tazz and announces tonight Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho will face the Dudleys in a tables match. And maybe some other stuff as well. Maybe they’ll even remember they have a pay-per-view in 10 days and actually book something for it.

~ Things kick off with Commissioner William Regal making his way to the ring. Regal gets on the mic and demands the Undertaker and Kane come out and face him in the ring. The brothers quickly answer and Regal chasises them for interfering in Steve Austin and Triple H’s business, warning them it will not be tolerated. Regal suggests Taker and Kane stay away from Austin and Triple H feeling they will do the same to them. Regal then tells Kane he looks ready for action and orders him to defend his Hardcore Title right now then proceeds to bring out Kane’s opponent which turns out to be…

  • WWF Hardcore Title: Kane © (w/The Undertaker) vs. Rhyno (w/Edge & Christian)

Rhyno rushes the ring with his pals but Kane works him over him while Taker takes care of E&C and the brothers clear the ring. Takes and Kane go out after their foes and Taker works over E&C then tosses them over the barricade and chases them in the crowd. Rhyno rams Kane into the ringsteps and tees off on him before tossing him back in the ring. Rhyno goes for a whip but Kane reverses it and hits a boot then climbs to the top rope and connects with the flying clothesline. Kane plants Rhyno with the chokeslam when Steve Austin and Triple H run in the ring brandishing chairs and nail Kane in the back before beating him down with them, especially targeting the arm. Triple H tells Rhyno to cover Kane and Rhyno does so for the 1..2..3 to win his first Hardcore Title. (2:31) Oddly enough they’re playing Triple H’s music even though Rhyno was the one who won the title. Taker rushes back to the ring and chases Austin and Triple H away but is far too late for Kane. NR

~ Back from break we get a replay of Austin and Triple H vicioulsy attacking Kane, followed by footage of Kane painfully making his way to the back while holding his arm.

  • The Right To Censor vs. The Acolytes & Kaientai

The RTC is on a massive losing streak and they’re hoping to turn things around here. Steven Richards starts off against Sho Funkai who tries to intimidate Richards with a sumo stance but Richards doesn’t go for it and attacks Funaki in mid-pose. Richards whips Funaki but Funaki comes back with a headscissors. Funaki tags Taka Michinoku in and trips Richards with a drop toehold then goes into a camel clutch and holds Richards while Taka dropkicks the face. Richards drives Taka into his corner where the RTC triple-team him before Val Venis tags in to take over. Val whips Taka into a and chagres but Taka sidesteps him only to eat an elbow in return. Val climbs to the top rope and misses a corkscrew crossbody but comes back with a clothesline. Val whips Taka and hits a spinebuster then goes into a submission hold but Bradshaw breaks it up. Goodfather tags in and beats Taka down then throws him across the ring and hits a suplex. Goodfather covers but Faarooq makes the save and Val comes in without a tag and stomps Taka. Bull Buchanan tags in and helps Goodfather whip Taka and hit a double elbow. Buchanan clotheslines Taka and sets him on the top rope then goes up but Bradshaw throws him off to the mat. Buchanan knocks Bradshaw off the apron and everyone pours in the ring while Taka is still perched on the top rope. Goodafther tosses Funaki over the ropes while Faarooq clotheslines Buchanan over as well. Bradshaw powerbombs Richards while Buchanan comes over and tries to whip him but Bradshaw reverses and Faaoorq helps him hit a double spinebuster. Taka follows up a kneedrop from the top rope and that gets the pin to continue the RTC’s woes. (4:21) The Acolytes celebrate with Kaientai while the RTC are shocked that they lost again. What you’d expect. *

~ Cole and Tazz now hype Saturday’s XFL Championship game between the San Francisco Demons and the L.A. Xtreme and we even get a special video look at Xtreme quarterback Tommy Maddox’s journey through the XFL season. That’s this Saturday on NBC!

~ Backstage Undertaker is promising Kane they’ll get even as he asks some backstage guys where Commissioner Regal’s office is. Once they point the way the brothers head off but not before Taker tells the guys to call 911 as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Grandmaster Sexay admires his reflection in Eddie Guerrero’s European Title belt when Eddie comes up and tells Sexay to keep his hands off his property. Sexay tells Eddie to chill while calling him dawg but Eddie takes offesne to being called a dog and Sexay tries to tell him not to be so hot, calling him tamale. Eddie takes offense to that as well and Sexay decides to show him his hip hop moves in the ring. Eddie takes that as a challenge so he grabs his title belt and storms off.

~ Elsewhere backstage a WCW1 limo arrives in the parking lot meaning Shane McMahon is here tonight.

~ Still elsewhere William Regal is enjoy his tea when The Undertaker and Kane barge into his office and angrily clear off his desk. Taker grabs Regal by his coat and accuses him of setting them up earlier then demands he give them Austin and Triple H, and after that Edge, Christian and Rhyno as well. Regal claims he’s not inclined to grant such a request so Kane responds by setting Regal’s trashcan on fire and that convinces Regal to grant Taker and Kane a tag team title match with Edge and Christian tonight. Taker feels that isn’t enough and Regal is at a loss of what he wants until Kane sets a nearby plant on fire. Regal finally caves in and tells Taker and Kane if they win the titles they can have Austin and Triple H. Taker and Kane seem satisfied and start to depart when Regal mentions their tag title match is no disqualification. The brothers walk off but not before Kane sets Regal’s desk on fire on his way out as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Undertaker forcing Regal to give him and Kane a tag title match. Cole reminds us of Taker and Kane win the titles they’ll they their shot at Austin and Triple H.

  • WWF European Title: Eddie Guerrero © vs. Grandmaster Sexay

Sexay leads the crowd in a cheer and busts a move that allows Eddie to attack him from behind. Eddie whips Sexay and hits an elbow then whips him again but Sexay slides under him and hits a neckbreaker. Sexay goes for a whip, Eddie reverses him into a corner and charges at him but eats a boot. Sexay hops onto the middle rope and leaps off, Eddie ducks him but Sexay comes back with a DDT for a two count. Eddie bails out to the floor but Sexay hits a baseball slide then brawls with Eddie up the ramp before bulldoging him onto it. Sexay throws Eddie back in the ring and climbs to the top rope and goes for a flying crossbody but misses it. Eddie hits a double stomp to the chest followed by shoulderblocks in a corner. Eddie whips Sexay into the opposite corner but Sexay stops himself then tosses Eddie his head onto the turnbuckles. Sexay hits an euzuigiri then whips Eddie and hits a backdrop and dances a big before hitting a right hand. Sexay goes for a whip, Eddie reverses him into a corner and Sexay lifts himself over Eddie then grabs Eddie with a waistlock. Eddie switches into his own waistlock when Sexay elbows him away and goes for a Figure Four but Eddie kicks him into the ringpost and rolls him up for a two count. Eddie hits a back suplex then climbs to the top rope looking for the Frogsplash but Sexay cuts him off then goes up and hits a superplex. Instead of covering Eddie, Sexay climbs to the top rope himself but Eddie grabs the referee’s ankle and causes him to bump the ropes, straddling Sexay on the buckle. Sexay falls to the mat and Eddie rolls him up with his own feet on the ropes for the win. (4:38) Eddie did his best but this match still had no heat.

~ Backstage Vince McMahon, Steve Austin and Triple H demand an explanation from William Regal about the match he set up and Regal assures them they can use the no-DQ stipulation to their advantage. Vince decides to add some entertainment and asks the other three to see what happens to Shane later then departs while the others continue their discussion as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Lillian Garcia interviews Edge and Christian about their tag title defense later as well as Rhyno’s controversial Hardcore title win. Edge responds by saying controversy rules and there’s a huge problem in their match tonight but it’s The Undertaker and Kane’s, not theirs. Edge says he and Christian are the big game hunters and any bets placed on them will pay big dividends. Christian adds they’ve been up against big obstacles before but have always walks out still tag team champs. Christian says they have a plan that reeks of awesomeness before the three of them depart.

~ Out in the arena Vince McMahon hits the ring because we just have to get our McMahon promo time in. Vince gets on the mic and talks about how Shane McMahon came back to the WWF some time ago and attacked him in the ring then stole WCW from under his nose and kicked a trash can in his face. Vince then suggest Shane is stalking him after appearing on Raw and pulling up in his limo tonight. Vince claims he never wanted WCW in the first place then feels Shane has something important to say so he dares Shane to come out and confront him face-to-face. Shane does make his way out and grabs a mic and apologizes to Vince … for not beating him up a long time ago after Wrestlemania. Shane says things are getting hot in WCW just like the issues in his personal life after his speech on Raw, which Linda and her attorneys found in very interesting. Shane tells Vince to have a nice day and starts to head out but Vince stops him and tries to explain himself, claiming what he said on Monday wasn’t about divorce, it was about the sanctity of marriage. Vince brings up the conversation Shane had with The Big Show and even shows it on the OvalTron before reminding him that Shows’s working for the WWF.

Vince then invites Show to the ring for a public conversation and Show comes out and shake Shane’s hand. Vince accuses Show of trying to impress Shane when Shane sees him just as the world does, the single biggest dissapopintment in the WWF. Vince feels Shane is trying to recruit Show to WCW behind the scenes and congradulates him on his accquisition. However Vince tells Show once he gets to WCW he’s going to get some of the pep talks Shane used to give him and shows a clip from Smackdown last year of Shane calling Show an pathetic, pea-brained, unmotivated slob. Vince then shows a still of Shane breaking a cement block over Show’s head at Judgment Day last May, followed by a series of clips of Shane making fun of Show over the past year as well. Vince tells Show he may have squandered his oppertunites but still has the potential to be WWF Champion before asking him to decide his path, whether he remains in the WWF or goes with Shane to WCW. Show grabs Vince by the throat but then turns and grabs Shane by the throat and proceeds to chokeslam him. Vince stands over Shane and tells him he will face Big Show at Backlash, in a Last Man Standing match. Vince and Show leave Shane laying in the ring and hey, we finally have a match booked for the pay-per-view.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Vince asking Show to make a decision and Show answering with a chokeslam.

~ Out in the arena The Dudleys make thier way to the ring for the tables match followed by Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho, who are teaming up for the first time. However before the match starts William Regal comes out to the stage along with Kurt Angle. Regal gets on the mic and mentions that Backlash is just 10 days away then tells Jericho he won’t be getting off that easy because the two will wrestle each other again, this time in a match under ‘Duchess of Queensbury’ rules which he will explain in due course. Regal then tells Benoit he will fight Angle on the card as well, in a 30-minute ultimate submission match where the most submissions wins. So we got three matches booked for Backlash, all in the span of five minutes. Anyway Regal then demands the tables match start just as the Dudleys attack Benoit and Jericho from behind.

  • The Dudley Boyz vs. Chris Benoit & Chris JerichoTables Match

Bubba Ray tosses Benoit through the ropes and goes after him on the floor while Jerricho tees off on D’Von in a corner. Jericho goes for a whip, D’Von reverses him into a corner and eats a boot but catches Jericho with a powerslam as Angle looks on. D’Von whips Jericho and hits the jumping elbow then whips him again but Jericho comes back with a forearm followed by a dropkick. D’Von rolls out to the apron when Jericho connects with the springboard dropkick but Bubba comes in and plants Jericho with a Samoan Drop. Benoit comes in and hammers away on Bubba then Benoit goes for a whip, Bubba reverses him into a corner and eats a double boot but nails Benoit with the Bubbabomb. Benoit fights back with chops and goes for a whip but Bubba reverses him into a corner and slams him. Bubba then sets Benoit up as D’Von climbs to the top rope and hits the “Wassup” headbutt as Angle continues to observe. The Dudleys go out and grab a table when Jericho goes for a baseball slide but the Dudleys raise the table up and ram it into Jericho’s face. The Dudleys set the table up in the ring then go for a double flapjack on Benoit through the table but Jericho moves it just in time. Jericho nails D’Von with a spinning heelkick but eats a right hand from Bubba. Bubba places Jericho onto the table as D’Von climbs to the top rope but Benoit cuts him off. Bubba clubs Benoit in the back but Jericho knocks Bubba through the ropes. Benoit and Jericho then go to superplex D’Von through the table but Bubba moves it to prevent that as well. Bubba clotheslines Jericho over the ropes when Benoit grabs him with a waistlock, Bubba fights out of it and goes for the Bubbabomb but Benoit counters into a German suplex. Benoit holds on for a second German then goes to put Bubba through the table with a third German suplex but D’Von moves it to save Bubba. Jericho climbs to the top rope and connects with a missle dropkick on D’Von. The Chrises set the table up and Benoit places D’Von on it while Jericho goes for a Liondsault but Bubba trips him from the floor. Benoit climbs to the top rope looking for the diving headbutt through the table when Angle runs down and shoves Benoit off the top through the table, which somehow gets the Dudleys the victory. (4:31) Entertaining match there but can someone explain how Angle putting Benoit through the table means the Dudleys win? **½

~ Back from break we get a music video about the Undertaker and Kane set to Marilyn Manson’s “Fight Song”.

~ Backstage Vince wishes Edge & Christian luck in their match but something tells him they won’t need it. Vince then joins Steve Austin and Triple H in looking at highlights of them beating down the Hardys on Raw. I guess this is suppsoed to make us think the Hardys are still in the main storyline but we know better.

~ Elsewhere Johnathan Coachman interviews Molly Holly on her chances of winning the Women’s title tonight. Molly feels her chances are fair and she may not be as big is Chyna but is still going to do her best.

~ Chyna is then shown heading to the ring for her aforementioned title defense as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get an exterior shot of the Gaylord Entertainment Center and also find Jevon Kearse of the Tennessee Titans in the crowd tonight.

~ Backstage Kevin Kelly interviews the Undertaker and Kane (who has his left elbow taped up), asking if they’re ready for their title shot. Taker chastises Kevin for asking the dumbest questions sometimes then asks why Steve Austin and Triple H feel beating up women and commentators makes them such bad dudes. Taker says once he and Kane finish Edge and Christian they’re going to show them who the real bad guys are, and while E&C are 7-time Tag Team champions they’re going to lose the titles for the seventh time. Taker finishes by saying E&C will make a name for themselves because he and Kane are going to make them famous.

  • WWF Women’s Title: Chyna © vs. Molly Holly

Molly grabs Chyna with a waistlock to start, Chyna counters into a hammerlock, Molly reverses it and Molly goes into a headlock but Chyna shoves her into the roeps and hits a shoulderblock. Molly locks up with Chyna and applies an arm wreinger but Chyna reverses into her own armwringer. Molly flips out of it and goes into an armbar but Chyna throws her to the mat and hits a press slam. Chyna charges at Molly in a corner but Molly sidesteps her and hits a bulldog for a two count. Molly climbs to the top rope and connects with a flying crossbody but that only gets two as well. Molly comes off the ropes but runs into a clothesline and Chyna powerbombs Molly for the pin. (2:15) And Chyna’s burial of the Women’s division continues. *

~ Backstage we find Kurt Angle telling someone off camera not to come out until he says it’s time because they’re going to teach Chris Benoit about the three I’s as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Cole and Tazz again shill the XFL Championship game this Saturday night. They really want is to watch it, dont they?

~ Kurt Angle comes out to the ring as Tony Chimel announces this as a five-minute submission exhibition. Angle gets on the mic and says how he’s been beating opponents his whole life which he calls his ‘thang’ and pinning opponents is great but leaves him a little empty since he just pins them to the mat. Angle says there’s no better feeling than humilitaing his opponent by making them submit to his Olympic wrath. Angle says he wanted the ultimate submisison match promising 30 minutes of torture for Chris Benoit at Backlash because he’s going to make Benoit squeal over and over. Angle feels the fans don’t get what he’s saying so he’s recruited a trio of local wrestlers and brings them out for a submission demonstration. Angle says he will give each of them the chance to make him submit and hopes Benoit is watching his future. The first guy moves in but Angle takes him down with a headlock/armbar combo and forces him to tap. The second guy charges but Angle trips him and hits a front facelock slam that gets a submission. The third guy grabs Angle with a waistlock but Angle hits a Fireman’s carry and forces a tapout with an armbar. The thrid guy tries agan but Angle throws him over his shoulder and slaps on a jujigatame for the submission. Angle hits the second guy with a belly-to-belly throw and forces him to quit with a Dragon sleeper. Angle helps the guy up but kicks him in the back of the knee and locks in the Anklelock for a tapout. The other two guys are hesitant to lockup again so Angle offer to be in the mount position for them. The third guy moves in with a waistlock but Angle rolls forward into the Anklelock for another tapout. Angle drops to the mat again but has his back to the ramp and I bet you’re thinking “I wonder if Benoit is going to come out, replace the scrub when Angle isn’t looking and slap on the Crossface.” Well, that’s exactly what happens as Benoit slips in the ring and tosses the remaining guy over the ropes behind Angle’s back then slaps on the Crossface and Angle is the one who’s forced to tap out. Benoit refuses to let go at first but eventually does and leaves Angle laying in the ring.

~ Edge, Christian and Rhyno are all shown heading to the ring as are The Undertaker and Kane which means main event time is next. We then see Steve Austin and Triple H getting up and heading somewhere as we go to commercial.

  • WWF World Tag Team Titles: Edge & Christian © (w/Rhyno) vs. The Undertaker & KaneNo-DQ Match

We opened the show with these five guys and it looks like we’re going to close with these same guys. Edge, Christian and Rhyno triple-team Kane while Taker rides to the ring on his motorcycle. Taker heads in and manages to clear Edge and Rhyno out then goes out after Edge leaving Christian and Kane. Kane plants Christian with a sidewalk slam and hits a clothesline then Christian goes after Kane’s bad arm but Kane swats him away and pounds him down in a corner. Christian slips out of the corner and gets in his own shots then goes for the count-along punches but Kane shoves him off and decks Edge off the apron. Kane manages to hit a one-arm powerslam then brings Edge in the ring and hits him with a big boot. Kane goes for the ropes and Rhyno nails him from behind to distract him as Christian moves in but Kane backdrops Christian over the ropes where Taker meets him with a right hand on the floor. In the ring Kane grabs Edge by the throat for a chokeslam but Rhyno comes in and Gores Kane. Edge lays the boots to Kane and kicks at the bad arm. Kane kicks him away and crawls to his corner but Edge cuts off the tag, even thought it’s no-DQ and Taker should just be able to come in whenever he wants. Edge applies an armwringer on the bad arm and Kane tries to fight back but Edge hits an amrbar slam. Taker breaks up the pin but is ordered out of the ring by Earl Hebner, again even though the match is no-DQ. Christian comes in without a tag and tees off on Kane’s bad arm then locks in a short-arm scissors. Kane manages to roll over and get to his feet with Christian on his arm and suplex him. Kane crawls over to his corner and makes the tag to Taker but Edge distracts Hebner who misses it. Making me ask why they’re doing the false tag spot in a no-DQ match?

Hebner orders Taker out of the ring while E&C pull Kane to their corner and Edge lays the boots to him. Both men exchange punches and Edge goes for a whip but Kane slings Edge into a corner and hits a suplex. Christian comes in but Kane clotheslines him down then crawls to his corner and makes the hot tag to Taker. Taker takes it to both E&C and whips Christian hitting a backdrop then nails Edge with a big boot. Taker works over E&C in opposite corners before clohteslining Edge over the ropes. Taker grabs Christian by the throat when Rhyno comes in with a chair and whacks Taker in the back. Christian crawls over and covers Taker but only gets a two count. Rhyno starts to work over Taker when Kane grabs him for a chokeslam but Rhyno kicks the bad arm and clotheslines him over the ropes. Kane lands on his feet on the floor as Rhyno goes out after him but Kane boots him down on the ramp. E&C double-team Taker in the ring while Kane chokeslams Rhyno on the ramp. Steve Austin and Triple H run out and beat Kane down on the floor as E&C continue to assault Taker. E&c bring a pair of chairs in the ring and go for the ConChairto but Taker ducks the shot. Taker pops Edge then plants Christian with the Last Ride and gets the three for the belts! (8:14) Taker and Kane get their first tag titles as a duo as well as a match with Austin and Triple H. Okay main event but got overbooked toward the finish and it would mark the end of E&C’s last tag title run together. **

Austin and Triple H prevent a celebration by rushing the ring and double-teaming Taker. Kane comes in swinging a chair with his good arm and manages to clear Austin and Triple H from the ring and we have a staredown to finish the show. Hmm, Austin is World Champ, Triple H is Intercontinential Champ and Taker and Kane are Tag Team Champs. I wonder if there’s any type of match to take advantage of this fact.

Conclusion: Unusual but mediocre show as the WWF scrambled to put together Backlash, which was only 10 days away. The matches weren’t anything noteworthy other than the opener and main event, both of which, oddly enough, had the same cast of characters and featured title changes. Plus there was too much talking to build up the three matches suddenly made for the supercard so far. But that’s what happens when you squander three weeks with very little happening and are left with only three shows (four if you include Heat, which you’ll have to) to build the pay-per-view, kind of like the 2011 NBA preseason. So unless you want see Taker and Kane win the belts or Rhyno capture his first WWF gold, go ahead and skip this one.

For more reviews visit my archive at: http://kingsrecaps.wordpress.com

The King's Recap: WWF Raw Is War 4.16.2001

WWF RAW IS WAR
Monday, April 16th, 2001

Live from Knoxville, TN

List of WWF Champions at the time:
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Jeff Hardy (4/12/2001)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian (4/01/2001)
WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero (4/01/2001)
WWF Hardcore Champion: Kane (4/01/2001)
WWF Women’s Champion: Chyna (4/01/2001)
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Crash Holly (3/18/2001)

~ Raw comes on the air with highlights of Jeff Hardy’s upset title win over Triple H on Smackdown. Jim Ross and Paul Heyman welcome us to the show and announce that tonight Kurt Angle takes on Chris Jericho. Plus the Hollys get their Tag Team title shot and Triple H gets his Intercontinential Title rematch with Jeff Hardy.

~ Things kick off with Vince McMahon swaggering his way to the ring to make sure we get an opening promo. Vince gets on the mic and mentions how he tried to reason with his wife last week only for her to demand a divorce. Vince says in his view, when two people exchange vows the marriage should literally last until death do them part. Vince says is should be unlawfur for marriage to end in a divorce since it causes half the world’s problems. Vince asks te fans to think of the hardships and heartaches of divorce, which also forces someone to divide his assets. Vince announces he will not grant Linda a divorce and will fight her to the bitter end for the sancity of their marriage. Suddenly a glum-looking Debra starts making her way to the ring and I don’t foresee this segment getting any better. Debra gets on the mic and says she doesn’t believe Vince and accuses him of being a negative inflence on her husband. Vince denies that, saying him beating The Rock and sending him out of here and joining up with Triple H was his idea. Vince also says that he can’t be blamed for Austin beating JR down and brutalizing The Hardys and Lita last week. Vince says he’s proud to know the “real” Stone Cold Steve Austin and he’s a great man who became WWF Champion. Vince then mentions how behind every great man is a great woman but feels that Debra is an exception to that rule. Debra gets offended and says she does blame Vince before slapping the taste out of his mouth and storming off. Well that was 10 minutes I’ll never get back, and it sure felt like a lot longer than that. Way to go, guys.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Debra slapping Vince in the face. Don’t know why I’d want to see it again. We then see Vince makins his way to his limo and pauses to shout “Women!” before climbing in and driving off.

~ Elsewhere we see Steve Austin dragging Debra into their dressing room and yelling at her for slapping Vince before demainding she sit in a chair for the rest of the show.

  • WWF World Tag Team Titles: Edge & Christian © vs. Crash & Hardcore Holly (w/Molly Holly)

This is E&C’s first title defense since winning the belt at Wrestlemania, and was originally scheduled for Smackdown but Rhyno took Crash out before it happened. So the Hollys get their tag title match tonight. E&C come out and give Heyman a paper containing phrases he uses to praise the champs during the match. The Hollys are out and stare down E&C … when Rhyno comes out and Gores Hardcore before the bell rings! Rhyno leaves the ring while Edge demands the bell be rung then covers Hardcore but only gets a two count! Christian helps Edge double-team Hardcore then takes over without a tag and chokes Hardcore with his boot. Edge tags back in for some more stomping when Hardcore starts to fight back but Edge regains the advantage. Christian tags back in and hits a Russian legdweep for a near fall but Hardcore starts to fight back again. Edge nails Hardcore from behind so Hardcore decks him but Christian nails him with a Slop Drop for a two. Christian draws Crash in to distract the referee while Edge helps with a double-team before taking over. Hardocre rallies again but Edge rakes the face to stop that and drops him on the ropes before tagging Christian. Christian then goes for a piledriver but Hardcore counters it into the Alabama Slam and both men are down. Christian grabs Hardcore’s ankle while tagging Edge back in and Edge hits a clothesline followed by a snapmare then slaps on a chinlock. Hardcore fights out of it then comes off the ropes and connects with the dropkick. Hardcore makes the tag to Crash who takes it to E&C then dropkicks Edge and drills Christian with a DDT. Crash drills Edge with a tornado bulldog then does the same to Christian but Edge nails him with a Spear. Molly climbs to the top rope and hits Edge with the Molly-Go-Round and Crash covers him but only gets two. Hardcore comes in and clotheslines Christian and himself over the ropes while Crash climbs to the top rope. Crash hits Edge with a crossbody but Edge rolls through it into a rollup and grabs the tights to steal the pin. (4:16) Not a bad match, actually, and the crowd was somewhat into it. **

~ Backstage The Hardys are arriving at the building when Michael Cole intervews Jeff on facing Triple H again. Jeff calls winning the Intercontinential Title on Thursday an amazing accomplishment for him but there was more to it because what Steve Austin and Triple H did to Lita was wrong. Jeff says he’s fine with giving Triple H his rematch tonight but he and Matt have some unfinished business to take care of first and the two head off.

~ Back from break we get a look at the ‘WCW 1’ limo driving in the garage and sure enough Shane McMahon is here.

  • Bubba Ray Dudley (w/D’Von Dudley) vs. Justin Credible (w/X-Pac and Albert)

Bubba sidesteps Credible to start and peppers him with jabs then whips him into a corner and hits a suplex. Bubba clubs Credible in the back and hits a chop in a corner then whips him and connects with an elbow. Bubba goes for a whip but Credible reverses and X-Pac grabs Bubba’s leg so Bubba pulls him onto the apron. X-Pac snaps Bubba on the ropes and Credible follows it up with a superkick then gets in his offense on him. D’Von then goes after X-Pac on the floor but X’Pac dodges him while Albert nails him witha bicycle kick. Credible snapmares Bubba and snaps him back then hits a clothesline and chokes him on the middle rope. Credible distracts the referee while X-Pac gets in a shot from the floor then hits a DDT that gets a two count. Bubba starts to fight back but Credible regains control then stomps Bubba down in a corner and chokes him. Credible goes for a whip and goes into a waitslock but Bubba switches behind him and hits the BubbaBomb. Bubba whips Credible and hits a backdrop and a cltohesline and Credible begs him off but Bubba won’t have it. Bubba whips Credible into a corner and Credible nearly flips over the ropes then Bubba hits a sidewalk slam. Bubba climbs to the middle rope and goes for a senton but misses it. Credible climbs to the middle rope and leaps off but Bubba catches him with a Diamond Cutter. Bubba covers Credible but Albert pulls Credible away and the referee argues with Albert but that allows X-Pac to come in nail Bubba with the spinkick. X-Pac slips back out while Credible covers Bubba but only gets a two count. X-Pac argues with the referee when Bubba decks him off the apron and the referee keeps Albert from coming in. Bubba slams Credible and sets him up while D’Von climbs to the top rope and hits the “Wassup” headbutt which gets the three. (4:25) And there’s no post-match attack this time around. Pretty blah match that was just there to further this feud.

~ Backstage Shane McMahon runs into Grandmaster Sexay who mumbles some rap asking about the latest with WCW and Shane responds with some incoherent rhyming of his own. The Big Show appears and sends Sexay on his way then asks Shane if he’s here to watch his match. Shane explains he actually came here to confront his father but Vince took off so he’s going to do the same. Show insists he watch him take on Kaientai and Shane says he’ll watch the match from his hotel room and takes off as Show says he has some ideas to run by him. So why did they even bother to bring Shane on the program anyway?

~ We then get a shot of Michael Cole waiting to interview Steve Austin in mere moments as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Johnathan Coachman interviews Steven Richards about the Right To Censor disintegrating. Richards says what happened last Thursday was the culmination of months of frustration in recruiting new members. Richards then says that he will right the wrong tonight by leading the charge to rid the WWF of the Hardcore Title. Richards says that once he beats Kane the RTC will be united once again, even if he has to sacrifice himself to do so.

~ Elsewhere Kurt Angle whines to Edge & Christian about facing Chris Jericho while William Regal gets Chris Benoit. Angle figures Regal must have mad cow disease for that decision but doesn’t notice Regal waling up behind him. E&C try to warn Angle of Regal’s presence as Angle claims Regal has a fake accent when Regal gets his attention. Angle finally notices Regal and tells him that he wants to face Benoit while Regal should be fighting Jericho. Regal asks Angle to join him in his office for tea and they leave while E&C try to warn him not to drink the tea.

~ Still elsewhere Michael Cole interviews Steve Austin about Triple H losing the Intercontinential Title on Smackdown after he and Debra let the building and now Debra slapping Vince McMahon’s face. Austin mentions how it took two men for the Hardys to beat Triple H when Matt Hardy suddenly jumps Austin! The referees manage to pull Matt off Austin and Austin is curing up a storm as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Matt Hardy’s sneak attack against Austin. We then find the Hemlseys reacting to what they saw on a monitor when Austin barges in wanting some retaliation. Triple H says that’s what the Hardys want, for them to beat Jeff up so he can’t defend the Intercontinential title tonight, and he doesn’t want Austin to do anything to jeopardize it shot to regain the IC title. So Austin offers to be in Triple H’s corner to help him but Triple H tells him that his state of mind might get him DQ’ed. Triple H suggests Austin instead go cool off at his hotel and let him handle this and Austin relucantly leaves the room.

  • WWF Hardcore Title: Kane © vs. Steven Richards

Richards tosses some plunder in the ring then greets Kane with some garbage can shots but they have no effect. Kane decks Richards and throws him over the ropes then pounds on him as they head past the ramp to the back. Kane throws Richards against a garage door and into a guardrail then nails him with a plastic garbage can. Richards tries to crawl away when Kane grabs a 2×4 then takes a swing but Richards is able to dodge the swing. Richards tries to hide under a semi and Kane grabs him with the rest of the RTC run out and gang up on Kane. Kane tries to fight them off and gets overwhelemed but sure enough here comes The Undertaker for the save. Taker quickly dispatches Goodfather and Val Venis while Kane tosses Bull Buchanan through a nearby door. With his plan in shambles Richards tries to climb up a stack of bleaches to escape but Kane cuts off his escape. Kane scoops Richards up and lawn darts him into a semi trailer and Richards is out for the three count. (3:08) Yeah. Taker then tells the unconcious Richards to forget about fighting the good fight and find a good woman. DUD

~ Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho are shown heading to the ring, signaling they’re up next as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get a shot of Debra pacing when Austin comes in and tells her to pack her gear because they’re leaving. Funny how Austin leaving didn’t work out so well for Triple H the last time. Then again…

  • Chris Jericho vs. Kurt Angle

Angle gets on the mic to address the fans but Jericho’s entrance cuts him off as he asks Angle to shut up. Jericho goes right to work on Angle with punches and chops then whips him but Angle hits a shoulderblock. Angle comes off the ropes but Jericho leapfrogs over him and chops him down then follows up with an armdrag. Jericho slaps on an armbar when Angle counters it with a headscissors but Jericho slips out of that into a cover. Angle briges out of it into a backslide for a near fall and Jericho hits more chops but Angle starts fighting back and stomps Jericho down in a corner. Angle whips Jericho into a corner but Jericho comes out with a clothesline. Jericho whips Angle and hits a hiptoss then kncoks him out through the ropes with the springboard dropkick. Angle tries to recovers but Jericho nails him with a baseball slide then goes out and drops him onto the barricade. Jericho throws Angle onto the timekeeper’s chair but Angle grabs the ringbell and jabs Jericho in the chest with it. Angle throws Jericho over the announce table as Heyman tells both guys to leave since they don’t speak Spanish. Angle throws Jericho in the ring and lays the boots to him then hits a suplex and another suplex for a near fall. Jericho starts fighting back and and goes for a whip, Angle reverses him into a corner but eats a boot. Jerihco hops to the middle rope and goes for an axehandle but Angle catches him into a belly-to-belly suplex. Angle plants Jericho with a back suplex that gets a near fall then slaps on a chinlock but Jericho fights out of it. Jericho goes for a whip, Angle reverses it but Jericho rolls him up for a two count then goes for a waistlock. Angle trips Jericho by the leg then goes for the Anklelock but Jericho grabs the ropes before he can get it on. Angle stomsp Angle down whips him into a corner then blocks a kick but Jericho comes back with an enzuigiri. Both men get to their feet and Angle gets a waistlock but Jericho rolls through it into a rollup for a near fall. Jericho goes for a whip, Angle reverses but Jericho hits a flying forearm then goes for the bulldog but misses. Angle goes for the Olympic Slam but Jericho lands on his feet then tries the bulldog again and this time hits it. Jericho goes for the Lionsault and misses Angle but lands on his feet while Angle bails out to the floor and decides he’s had enough of this. Angle starts walking up the ramp when Jericho decides to go after him but William Regal jumps Jericho and there’s a DQ! Lame! (6:52) Terrible finish to what was a pretty sweet match. ***

Anyway Regal fights Jericho down the ramp and throws him in the ring but Jericho takes him down by the legs and puts him in the Walls of Jericho. Regal starts tapping out when Angle comes back in the ring. However Jericho catches Angle coming in and plants him with a fireman’s carry slam then hits the Lionsault. Jericho then stomps Regal down in a corner but Angle nails him from behind and the numbers start to take over. Angle plants Jericho with a suplex and slaps on the Anklelock while Regal also applies the Regal Stretch. Chris Benoit runs in and takes on both men then drills Angle with a DDT and hits Regal with a German suplex. Benoit then suplexes Angle right onto Regal and both heels roll out to the floor while Benoit is left standing.

~ Back from break we get a replay of the previous match’s finish…but it sounds like someone is talking in the ring. Turns out that voice belongs to Regal (with Angle standing near him) who yells at Benoit for meddling in his affairs. Regal demands to have his match with Benoit right now and Benoit does come back out but he’s not coming alone…

  • Chris Benoit (w/Chris Jericho) vs. William Regal (w/Kurt Angle)

The Chrises rush the ring and Benoit goes to work on Regal while Jericho clotheslines Angle over the ropes and the two take their places in the corners. Benoit whips Regal into a corner and htis a suplex then climbs to the top rope and goes for the diving headbutt already but misses it. Regal gets in his shots and hits a dropkick for a near fall then hammers Benoit with forearms and caps off with a European uppercut. Regal hits a suplex that get a two count then grinds his forearm into Benoit’s face but still can’t get three. Regal kicks Benoit in the back and hits an elbowdrop for another near fall then whips him and hits an elbow. Regal hits the kneelifts and an European uppercut then scoops him up but Benoit shifts his weight and falls on top. Regal clotheslines Benoit for a two count then slaps on a modified submission hold but Benoit doesn’t submit. Benoit fights back and comes off the ropes but runs into a knee to the chest and Regal stomps him in the face. Regal hits Benoit with a double kneelift to the face and a forearm to the back but still only gets a two count. Regal applies a chinlock over his knee and Benoti tries to fight out but Regal stops that with a Euro uppercut. Benoit grabs a wasitlock, Regal elbows him away and whips him but Benoit rolls him in a cradle for a two count. Regal knocks Benoit down and works him over in a corner but Benoit reverses position and chops away at him. Benoit whips Regal into the other corner and charegs then eats a boot but comes back with a German suplex. Benoit holds on and hits a second German suplex then goes for a third but Regal tosses him through the ropes. Angle rams Benoit into the apron before throwing him back in the ring but Jericho is over to pounce on him. Regal puts Benoit in the Regal Stretch while the referee tries to break up the Jericho/Angle brawl on the floor. The referee then tries to keep Angle from going in the ring but Jericho makes it in and breaks up Regal’s hold. Benoit quickly puts Regal in the Crossface and the referee makes it back in the ring to see Regal give it up. (5:00) Not exactly their match at the Brian Pillman Memorial Show, but still a good TV bout. Jericho goes in to make sure Angle can’t get a piece of Benoit and helps Benoit clear their foes from the ring, officially cementing Benoit’s face turn. ***

~ JR now hypes the XFL’s Million Dollar Game between the Los Angeles Xtreme and San Francisco Demons which is Saturday Night on NBC. It could be your last chance to catch the XFL (in more ways than one).

~ Backstage we find Billy Gunn walking somewhere with Test who seems unnatually happy about something. Test tells Billy he understands why they’re teaming up against The Radicals but doesn’t get why Raven is their partner. Raven says something about making our own choices and having choices made for us and having no choices in life. Raven calls it his pleasure and torment to team with Billy and Test and mentions something about fate, destiny and pain. Billy wonders if they can trust him, while Test wonders what he just said. I wonder why we wasted our time with this.

~ Back from break Matt Hardy urges Jeff to be on his game tonight, feeling that Triple H will be out to cripple him. Jeff asks Matt about his attacking Steve Austin earlier and Matt says it felt good, just like him retaining his title. The Hardys are interupted by the appearence of Lita, and Matt reminds her how they told her to stay back at the hotel. Lita tells them she couldn’t just watch them on TV with all this action but Matt tries to get Lita to realize it isn’t safe here. Lita says she’s not concerned about safety and insists she stay with them and the Hardys reluctantly agree with her.

  • Test, Raven & Billy Gunn vs. Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko & Perry Saturn (w/Terri Runnels)

We have one extablished stable against a thrown-together squad. Can you guess who wins? The Radicalz are out first followed by Billy and Test who decide not to wait for Raven and gets things going. Billy goes after Eddie as Malenko and Saturn double-team Test when Raven finally makes his way to the ring. Raven tosses Saturn over the ropes and Test does the same to Malenko while Billy stomps Eddie out as well. The Radicalz try to regroup on the floor before Malenko goes in the ring against Test who pounds on him. Malenko jabs the eyes and goes for a whip but Test reverses ad hits a spinning sidewalk slam for a two count. Test whips Malenko but lowers the head, Malenko kicks the face but Test comes back with a shoulderblock. Billy tags in and gets an armwringer but Malenko jabs his eyes then tags Eddie when Billy regains his sight. Eddie tries offering a hand of friendship but Billy pulls him down by the hair then hits a pair of clotheslines. Billy whips Eddie and presses him up but Saturn made a blind tag and knocks the pile over with a superkick. Saturn hits an elbowdrop and a suplex for a two count then tags Malenko in and Malenko lays the boots to him. Malneko goes for a whip when Billy counters it and hits the Rocker Dropper but is too hurt to make the cover. Eddie clotheslines Billy from the apron then tags in and slings himself over the ropes, connecting with the hilo. Eddie peppers Billy with jabs in his corner when Billy tries to fight out of it but Eddie regains the advantage. Saturn snaps Billy on the top rope then pulls him out to the floor and rams him back-first into the steps. Saturn tosses Billy in the ring and Eddie hits a suplex then tags Malenko in and Malenko kicks Billy in the ribs. Malenko wrenches Billy’s arm then tags Saturn in and Saturn hits a kneedrop to the arm then works it over. Saturn goes for a whip and Billy reverses it but Saturn comes back with an exploder suplex for a near fall. Billy nails Saturn with a jawbreaker then whips him and hits a tilt-o-whirl slam and both men are down. Both men head for the corners and Eddie gets his tag but Billy tags in Raven who greets him with a right hand. Saturn is in and Raven whips him right into Malenko but Eddie gets in a kick and works him over in a corner. Eddie goes for a whip but Raven reverses him into a corner and hits a clothesline followed by the bulldog. Raven covers Eddie and Saturn makes the save but Test comes in and plants Saturn with the Full Nelson slam. Test decks Malenko and knocks Saturn through the ropes with a boot but Malenko knocks him through as well. Malenko turns and slams Raven while Eddie climbs to the top rope and goes for the Frogsplash but misses it. Eddie rolls up to his feet but Raven drils him with the Evenflow DDT then covers and grabs the pin. (5:56) Yes, the makeshift team won. And you’d think Raven pinning the European Champion would have earned him a title shot but it didn’t quite happen that way. **

~ Backstage Kevin Kelly interviews The Big Show on Kaientai challenging him to a handicap match tonight. Show mentions how Kaientai are always saying how they’re evil, while he’s 7-foot-2, 500 pounds of bad attitude. Show then says Kaientai will get every bit of it because Shane McMahon is watching and he has something to prove. On that note Show throws an anvil case just to show how mean he is or something as we go to commercial.

~ Back form break we get a special music video about The Undertaker and Kane set to Marilyn Manson’s “Fight Song”.

~ Big Show makes his way to the ring followed by Kaientai but Taka gets on the mic and in his dubbed voice claims they’ve lured Show into a trap because not even Godzilla is a match for cold, hard cash and they will show Big Show not to mess with true evil. Funaki adds in an “Indeed!” just before The Acolytes make their way out, presumibly having heen hired by Kaientai. Show tries to fight them off and grabs Bradshaw by the throat but Faarooq save him from a chokeslam with a low blow. Bradshaw follows up with the Clothesline from Hades and the Acolytes double-team Show as Kaientai look on. The Acolytes whip Show and plant him with a double spinebuster before finally heading out, having done their job.

  • The Big Show vs. KaientaiHandicap Match

With Show down both guys climb to the top rope and Funaki hits an elbowdrop while Taka adds in a kneedrop. The Kaientai guys start celebrating for some reason then head back to the top as Show starts to get to his feet. Both guys leap off again but this time Show catches both of them in a choke and hits a double chokeslam then covers both guys for the pin. (0:33) Waste of time, let’s just move on. NR

~ Back from break we get footage of Trish Stratus arriving at WWF New York earlier as we prepare to hear from her. We then get Trish’s promo as she says she was attracted to Vince McMahon, more for his money than anything else. Trish says she would do anything for the right cause and found it when she realized the kind of man Vince really was. Trish says that’s why she took Linda McMahon off her medication and will support her duing her divorce proceedings. Trish finishes by saying she may be nice but there will always be a part of her that’s naughty. Okay then.

~ JR and Heyman then hype the IC Title rematch by showing the video we already saw at the beginning of the program.

~ We then see the Helmsleys making their way to the ring which means the main event is next. The Hardys and Lita also head out but William Regal stops them and yells at Matt for what he did to Steve Austin and because of his actions earlier he’s banning him from ringside. The group doesn’t like that as Regal also warns Matt that should he take even one step towards the ring, Jeff will be stripped of the title on the spot. Regal walks off while Matt assures Jeff that he doesn’t need him out there and Jeff and Lita head off without him.

~ Back for break the XFL Championship game is hyped again, this time with a special look at Tommy Maddox. JR mentions the game will be held in the Colliseum and good seats are still available. Eh, the joke is too obvious.

  • WWF Intercontinential Title: Jeff Hardy © (w/Lita) vs. Triple H (w/Stephanie McMahon)

The participants file out to the ring as we get a shot of Matt Hardy watching the match on a backstage monitor. Triple H wastes no time pounding on Jeff and stomphing him down in a corner then decks him with a hard right. Triple H shoulderblocks Jeff in a corner and Earl Hebner orders him to back off then whips him but eats a boot. Jeff comes off the ropes but Triple H drops him to the mat then grabs his hair and unloads on him with rights. Triple H hits a delayed suplex and follows up with a kneedrop for a two as Matt urges Jeff on from the back. Triple H continues his assault then goes for another delayed suplex but Jeff lands on his feet and gets in his shots. Jeff comes off the ropes but runs into a powerslam. Triple H tosses Jeff through the ropes then goes after him and drops him onto the steps before rolling him back in the ring. Jeff desparately tries to fight back and comes off the ropes but Triple H clotheslines him down for a near fall then covers again for another two. Triple H puts Jeff in an Abdominal Stretch and even grabs the ropes for leverage while pounding on Jeff’s chest. Triple H grabs the rope again but Hebner sees it and kicks the arm off, allowing Jeff to escape with a hiptoss. Jeff comes off the ropes yet again and yet again Triple H cuts him down, this time with a knee to the chest. Jeff comes back with a jawbreaker and whips Triple H but lowers the head and Triple H hits the facebuster. Triple H covers Jeff but Lita pulls him off so Stephanie goes over to slap her but Lita manages to block it. Lita then chases Stephanie around the ring but Triple H goes out to stand in her way forcing Lita to back off. Stephanie gets Hebner’s attention while Triple H tosses Jeff through the ropes then goes after him on the floor. However Jeff manages to grab the IC belt and clocks Triple H with it, sending him acorss the announce table!

Jeff rams Triple H into the ringpost and the steps then into the announce table before rolling him in the ring. Jeff climbs to the top rope and connects with a missile dropkick … but only gets a two count! Jeff goes for a whip, Triple H reverses him into a corner but Jeff lifts himself over Triple H and dropkicks him. Triple H sets Jeff up for the Pedigree when Jeff counters it into the backslide but that only gets a near fall. Jeff hits a hedscissors then climbs to the top rope and goes for the Whisper in the Wind but Triple H dodges it. Triple H hops to the mddile rope but Jeff cuts him off with a dropkick then goes up and hits a Frankensteiner. Jeff climbs to the top again and goes for the Swanton Bomb but Triple H avoids it and both men are down. We cut to the back to see Matt’s reaction .. when Steve Austin suddenly appears and assaults Matt with a chair. Lita sees this on the TitanTron and doesn’t know whether to go to the back and check on Matt or stay with Jeff. Lita eventually chooses Matt over Jeff and starts heading up the ramp, but Steve Austin emerges and cuts her off. Austin starts stalking after Lita with an evil look on his face … when we suddenly hear the bell ring? The heck? Apparenlty while everyone’s attention was diverted Triple H hit Jeff with the Pedigree and got the clean pin to regain the title. (11:28) So Triple H gets his win back after just four days, rendering Jeff’s big victory on Smackdown virtually meaningless. Match was okay but this was a blown oppertunity to cement the Hardys as the next big stars and lead to them possibly getting a main event shot at Backlash, which would have been something different that the usual fare. Instead, just check out what happened next. **½

Austin goes in and helps Triple H double-team Jeff then takes off his belt and whips Jeff with it. Matt comes in with a chair but Triple H cuts him off then grabs the chair himself and whacks Matt with it. Austin and Triple H continue assaulting Matt and Jeff with the chair and belt then dare Lita to come in the ring. Lita tries to back away but Stephanie tosses her in the ring and it looks like a repeat of last Monday is coming. Austin and Triple H move in … when the lights go out before The Undertaker and Kane come out to the stage. Taker and Kane slowly make their way down the ramp with Austin and Triple H signaling they’re ready to go. However once Taker and Kane slide in the ring Ausitn and Triple H bail out to the floor and back up the ramp. Yep, after the past week suggested Matt and Jeff would be the next big stars, it’s Undertaker and Kane who are going to be challenging Austin and Triple H, instantly killing any shot the Hardys had at a push.

Conclusion: Up and down episode that continued the WWF’s stunning fall from their highest point. The first hour wasn’t much to sit through with some boring matches and skits but things got better with two great bouts in Angle/Jericho and Benoit/Regal. The main event was okay but again it rendered the past few shows became moot as Undertaker and Kane just swooped right in to take the main event spot while the Hardys were swept back to the midcard. And it wouldn’t be the last time the bookers started to push someone new only to abort it. Not to mention Backlash was less than two weeks from this show yet not one match had been booked for it up to this point. It just felt like the bookers most likely felt they didn’t have to really try as hard anymore since they were the lone top promotion in the U.S. So not really a bad show and there is some good stuff to see here, but I am going to have to go thumbs in the middle.

For more reviews visit my archive at: http://kingsrecaps.wordpress.com

The King's Recap: WWF Raw Is War 4.16.2001

WWF RAW IS WAR
Monday, April 16th, 2001

Live from Knoxville, TN

List of WWF Champions at the time:
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Jeff Hardy (4/12/2001)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian (4/01/2001)
WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero (4/01/2001)
WWF Hardcore Champion: Kane (4/01/2001)
WWF Women’s Champion: Chyna (4/01/2001)
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Crash Holly (3/18/2001)

~ Raw comes on the air with highlights of Jeff Hardy’s upset title win over Triple H on Smackdown. Jim Ross and Paul Heyman welcome us to the show and announce that tonight Kurt Angle takes on Chris Jericho. Plus the Hollys get their Tag Team title shot and Triple H gets his Intercontinential Title rematch with Jeff Hardy.

~ Things kick off with Vince McMahon swaggering his way to the ring to make sure we get an opening promo. Vince gets on the mic and mentions how he tried to reason with his wife last week only for her to demand a divorce. Vince says in his view, when two people exchange vows the marriage should literally last until death do them part. Vince says is should be unlawfur for marriage to end in a divorce since it causes half the world’s problems. Vince asks te fans to think of the hardships and heartaches of divorce, which also forces someone to divide his assets. Vince announces he will not grant Linda a divorce and will fight her to the bitter end for the sancity of their marriage. Suddenly a glum-looking Debra starts making her way to the ring and I don’t foresee this segment getting any better. Debra gets on the mic and says she doesn’t believe Vince and accuses him of being a negative inflence on her husband. Vince denies that, saying him beating The Rock and sending him out of here and joining up with Triple H was his idea. Vince also says that he can’t be blamed for Austin beating JR down and brutalizing The Hardys and Lita last week. Vince says he’s proud to know the “real” Stone Cold Steve Austin and he’s a great man who became WWF Champion. Vince then mentions how behind every great man is a great woman but feels that Debra is an exception to that rule. Debra gets offended and says she does blame Vince before slapping the taste out of his mouth and storming off. Well that was 10 minutes I’ll never get back, and it sure felt like a lot longer than that. Way to go, guys.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Debra slapping Vince in the face. Don’t know why I’d want to see it again. We then see Vince makins his way to his limo and pauses to shout “Women!” before climbing in and driving off.

~ Elsewhere we see Steve Austin dragging Debra into their dressing room and yelling at her for slapping Vince before demainding she sit in a chair for the rest of the show.

  • WWF World Tag Team Titles: Edge & Christian © vs. Crash & Hardcore Holly (w/Molly Holly)

This is E&C’s first title defense since winning the belt at Wrestlemania, and was originally scheduled for Smackdown but Rhyno took Crash out before it happened. So the Hollys get their tag title match tonight. E&C come out and give Heyman a paper containing phrases he uses to praise the champs during the match. The Hollys are out and stare down E&C … when Rhyno comes out and Gores Hardcore before the bell rings! Rhyno leaves the ring while Edge demands the bell be rung then covers Hardcore but only gets a two count! Christian helps Edge double-team Hardcore then takes over without a tag and chokes Hardcore with his boot. Edge tags back in for some more stomping when Hardcore starts to fight back but Edge regains the advantage. Christian tags back in and hits a Russian legdweep for a near fall but Hardcore starts to fight back again. Edge nails Hardcore from behind so Hardcore decks him but Christian nails him with a Slop Drop for a two. Christian draws Crash in to distract the referee while Edge helps with a double-team before taking over. Hardocre rallies again but Edge rakes the face to stop that and drops him on the ropes before tagging Christian. Christian then goes for a piledriver but Hardcore counters it into the Alabama Slam and both men are down. Christian grabs Hardcore’s ankle while tagging Edge back in and Edge hits a clothesline followed by a snapmare then slaps on a chinlock. Hardcore fights out of it then comes off the ropes and connects with the dropkick. Hardcore makes the tag to Crash who takes it to E&C then dropkicks Edge and drills Christian with a DDT. Crash drills Edge with a tornado bulldog then does the same to Christian but Edge nails him with a Spear. Molly climbs to the top rope and hits Edge with the Molly-Go-Round and Crash covers him but only gets two. Hardcore comes in and clotheslines Christian and himself over the ropes while Crash climbs to the top rope. Crash hits Edge with a crossbody but Edge rolls through it into a rollup and grabs the tights to steal the pin. (4:16) Not a bad match, actually, and the crowd was somewhat into it. **

~ Backstage The Hardys are arriving at the building when Michael Cole intervews Jeff on facing Triple H again. Jeff calls winning the Intercontinential Title on Thursday an amazing accomplishment for him but there was more to it because what Steve Austin and Triple H did to Lita was wrong. Jeff says he’s fine with giving Triple H his rematch tonight but he and Matt have some unfinished business to take care of first and the two head off.

~ Back from break we get a look at the ‘WCW 1’ limo driving in the garage and sure enough Shane McMahon is here.

  • Bubba Ray Dudley (w/D’Von Dudley) vs. Justin Credible (w/X-Pac and Albert)

Bubba sidesteps Credible to start and peppers him with jabs then whips him into a corner and hits a suplex. Bubba clubs Credible in the back and hits a chop in a corner then whips him and connects with an elbow. Bubba goes for a whip but Credible reverses and X-Pac grabs Bubba’s leg so Bubba pulls him onto the apron. X-Pac snaps Bubba on the ropes and Credible follows it up with a superkick then gets in his offense on him. D’Von then goes after X-Pac on the floor but X’Pac dodges him while Albert nails him witha bicycle kick. Credible snapmares Bubba and snaps him back then hits a clothesline and chokes him on the middle rope. Credible distracts the referee while X-Pac gets in a shot from the floor then hits a DDT that gets a two count. Bubba starts to fight back but Credible regains control then stomps Bubba down in a corner and chokes him. Credible goes for a whip and goes into a waitslock but Bubba switches behind him and hits the BubbaBomb. Bubba whips Credible and hits a backdrop and a cltohesline and Credible begs him off but Bubba won’t have it. Bubba whips Credible into a corner and Credible nearly flips over the ropes then Bubba hits a sidewalk slam. Bubba climbs to the middle rope and goes for a senton but misses it. Credible climbs to the middle rope and leaps off but Bubba catches him with a Diamond Cutter. Bubba covers Credible but Albert pulls Credible away and the referee argues with Albert but that allows X-Pac to come in nail Bubba with the spinkick. X-Pac slips back out while Credible covers Bubba but only gets a two count. X-Pac argues with the referee when Bubba decks him off the apron and the referee keeps Albert from coming in. Bubba slams Credible and sets him up while D’Von climbs to the top rope and hits the “Wassup” headbutt which gets the three. (4:25) And there’s no post-match attack this time around. Pretty blah match that was just there to further this feud.

~ Backstage Shane McMahon runs into Grandmaster Sexay who mumbles some rap asking about the latest with WCW and Shane responds with some incoherent rhyming of his own. The Big Show appears and sends Sexay on his way then asks Shane if he’s here to watch his match. Shane explains he actually came here to confront his father but Vince took off so he’s going to do the same. Show insists he watch him take on Kaientai and Shane says he’ll watch the match from his hotel room and takes off as Show says he has some ideas to run by him. So why did they even bother to bring Shane on the program anyway?

~ We then get a shot of Michael Cole waiting to interview Steve Austin in mere moments as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Johnathan Coachman interviews Steven Richards about the Right To Censor disintegrating. Richards says what happened last Thursday was the culmination of months of frustration in recruiting new members. Richards then says that he will right the wrong tonight by leading the charge to rid the WWF of the Hardcore Title. Richards says that once he beats Kane the RTC will be united once again, even if he has to sacrifice himself to do so.

~ Elsewhere Kurt Angle whines to Edge & Christian about facing Chris Jericho while William Regal gets Chris Benoit. Angle figures Regal must have mad cow disease for that decision but doesn’t notice Regal waling up behind him. E&C try to warn Angle of Regal’s presence as Angle claims Regal has a fake accent when Regal gets his attention. Angle finally notices Regal and tells him that he wants to face Benoit while Regal should be fighting Jericho. Regal asks Angle to join him in his office for tea and they leave while E&C try to warn him not to drink the tea.

~ Still elsewhere Michael Cole interviews Steve Austin about Triple H losing the Intercontinential Title on Smackdown after he and Debra let the building and now Debra slapping Vince McMahon’s face. Austin mentions how it took two men for the Hardys to beat Triple H when Matt Hardy suddenly jumps Austin! The referees manage to pull Matt off Austin and Austin is curing up a storm as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Matt Hardy’s sneak attack against Austin. We then find the Hemlseys reacting to what they saw on a monitor when Austin barges in wanting some retaliation. Triple H says that’s what the Hardys want, for them to beat Jeff up so he can’t defend the Intercontinential title tonight, and he doesn’t want Austin to do anything to jeopardize it shot to regain the IC title. So Austin offers to be in Triple H’s corner to help him but Triple H tells him that his state of mind might get him DQ’ed. Triple H suggests Austin instead go cool off at his hotel and let him handle this and Austin relucantly leaves the room.

  • WWF Hardcore Title: Kane © vs. Steven Richards

Richards tosses some plunder in the ring then greets Kane with some garbage can shots but they have no effect. Kane decks Richards and throws him over the ropes then pounds on him as they head past the ramp to the back. Kane throws Richards against a garage door and into a guardrail then nails him with a plastic garbage can. Richards tries to crawl away when Kane grabs a 2×4 then takes a swing but Richards is able to dodge the swing. Richards tries to hide under a semi and Kane grabs him with the rest of the RTC run out and gang up on Kane. Kane tries to fight them off and gets overwhelemed but sure enough here comes The Undertaker for the save. Taker quickly dispatches Goodfather and Val Venis while Kane tosses Bull Buchanan through a nearby door. With his plan in shambles Richards tries to climb up a stack of bleaches to escape but Kane cuts off his escape. Kane scoops Richards up and lawn darts him into a semi trailer and Richards is out for the three count. (3:08) Yeah. Taker then tells the unconcious Richards to forget about fighting the good fight and find a good woman. DUD

~ Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho are shown heading to the ring, signaling they’re up next as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get a shot of Debra pacing when Austin comes in and tells her to pack her gear because they’re leaving. Funny how Austin leaving didn’t work out so well for Triple H the last time. Then again…

  • Chris Jericho vs. Kurt Angle

Angle gets on the mic to address the fans but Jericho’s entrance cuts him off as he asks Angle to shut up. Jericho goes right to work on Angle with punches and chops then whips him but Angle hits a shoulderblock. Angle comes off the ropes but Jericho leapfrogs over him and chops him down then follows up with an armdrag. Jericho slaps on an armbar when Angle counters it with a headscissors but Jericho slips out of that into a cover. Angle briges out of it into a backslide for a near fall and Jericho hits more chops but Angle starts fighting back and stomps Jericho down in a corner. Angle whips Jericho into a corner but Jericho comes out with a clothesline. Jericho whips Angle and hits a hiptoss then kncoks him out through the ropes with the springboard dropkick. Angle tries to recovers but Jericho nails him with a baseball slide then goes out and drops him onto the barricade. Jericho throws Angle onto the timekeeper’s chair but Angle grabs the ringbell and jabs Jericho in the chest with it. Angle throws Jericho over the announce table as Heyman tells both guys to leave since they don’t speak Spanish. Angle throws Jericho in the ring and lays the boots to him then hits a suplex and another suplex for a near fall. Jericho starts fighting back and and goes for a whip, Angle reverses him into a corner but eats a boot. Jerihco hops to the middle rope and goes for an axehandle but Angle catches him into a belly-to-belly suplex. Angle plants Jericho with a back suplex that gets a near fall then slaps on a chinlock but Jericho fights out of it. Jericho goes for a whip, Angle reverses it but Jericho rolls him up for a two count then goes for a waistlock. Angle trips Jericho by the leg then goes for the Anklelock but Jericho grabs the ropes before he can get it on. Angle stomsp Angle down whips him into a corner then blocks a kick but Jericho comes back with an enzuigiri. Both men get to their feet and Angle gets a waistlock but Jericho rolls through it into a rollup for a near fall. Jericho goes for a whip, Angle reverses but Jericho hits a flying forearm then goes for the bulldog but misses. Angle goes for the Olympic Slam but Jericho lands on his feet then tries the bulldog again and this time hits it. Jericho goes for the Lionsault and misses Angle but lands on his feet while Angle bails out to the floor and decides he’s had enough of this. Angle starts walking up the ramp when Jericho decides to go after him but William Regal jumps Jericho and there’s a DQ! Lame! (6:52) Terrible finish to what was a pretty sweet match. ***

Anyway Regal fights Jericho down the ramp and throws him in the ring but Jericho takes him down by the legs and puts him in the Walls of Jericho. Regal starts tapping out when Angle comes back in the ring. However Jericho catches Angle coming in and plants him with a fireman’s carry slam then hits the Lionsault. Jericho then stomps Regal down in a corner but Angle nails him from behind and the numbers start to take over. Angle plants Jericho with a suplex and slaps on the Anklelock while Regal also applies the Regal Stretch. Chris Benoit runs in and takes on both men then drills Angle with a DDT and hits Regal with a German suplex. Benoit then suplexes Angle right onto Regal and both heels roll out to the floor while Benoit is left standing.

~ Back from break we get a replay of the previous match’s finish…but it sounds like someone is talking in the ring. Turns out that voice belongs to Regal (with Angle standing near him) who yells at Benoit for meddling in his affairs. Regal demands to have his match with Benoit right now and Benoit does come back out but he’s not coming alone…

  • Chris Benoit (w/Chris Jericho) vs. William Regal (w/Kurt Angle)

The Chrises rush the ring and Benoit goes to work on Regal while Jericho clotheslines Angle over the ropes and the two take their places in the corners. Benoit whips Regal into a corner and htis a suplex then climbs to the top rope and goes for the diving headbutt already but misses it. Regal gets in his shots and hits a dropkick for a near fall then hammers Benoit with forearms and caps off with a European uppercut. Regal hits a suplex that get a two count then grinds his forearm into Benoit’s face but still can’t get three. Regal kicks Benoit in the back and hits an elbowdrop for another near fall then whips him and hits an elbow. Regal hits the kneelifts and an European uppercut then scoops him up but Benoit shifts his weight and falls on top. Regal clotheslines Benoit for a two count then slaps on a modified submission hold but Benoit doesn’t submit. Benoit fights back and comes off the ropes but runs into a knee to the chest and Regal stomps him in the face. Regal hits Benoit with a double kneelift to the face and a forearm to the back but still only gets a two count. Regal applies a chinlock over his knee and Benoti tries to fight out but Regal stops that with a Euro uppercut. Benoit grabs a wasitlock, Regal elbows him away and whips him but Benoit rolls him in a cradle for a two count. Regal knocks Benoit down and works him over in a corner but Benoit reverses position and chops away at him. Benoit whips Regal into the other corner and charegs then eats a boot but comes back with a German suplex. Benoit holds on and hits a second German suplex then goes for a third but Regal tosses him through the ropes. Angle rams Benoit into the apron before throwing him back in the ring but Jericho is over to pounce on him. Regal puts Benoit in the Regal Stretch while the referee tries to break up the Jericho/Angle brawl on the floor. The referee then tries to keep Angle from going in the ring but Jericho makes it in and breaks up Regal’s hold. Benoit quickly puts Regal in the Crossface and the referee makes it back in the ring to see Regal give it up. (5:00) Not exactly their match at the Brian Pillman Memorial Show, but still a good TV bout. Jericho goes in to make sure Angle can’t get a piece of Benoit and helps Benoit clear their foes from the ring, officially cementing Benoit’s face turn. ***

~ JR now hypes the XFL’s Million Dollar Game between the Los Angeles Xtreme and San Francisco Demons which is Saturday Night on NBC. It could be your last chance to catch the XFL (in more ways than one).

~ Backstage we find Billy Gunn walking somewhere with Test who seems unnatually happy about something. Test tells Billy he understands why they’re teaming up against The Radicals but doesn’t get why Raven is their partner. Raven says something about making our own choices and having choices made for us and having no choices in life. Raven calls it his pleasure and torment to team with Billy and Test and mentions something about fate, destiny and pain. Billy wonders if they can trust him, while Test wonders what he just said. I wonder why we wasted our time with this.

~ Back from break Matt Hardy urges Jeff to be on his game tonight, feeling that Triple H will be out to cripple him. Jeff asks Matt about his attacking Steve Austin earlier and Matt says it felt good, just like him retaining his title. The Hardys are interupted by the appearence of Lita, and Matt reminds her how they told her to stay back at the hotel. Lita tells them she couldn’t just watch them on TV with all this action but Matt tries to get Lita to realize it isn’t safe here. Lita says she’s not concerned about safety and insists she stay with them and the Hardys reluctantly agree with her.

  • Test, Raven & Billy Gunn vs. Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko & Perry Saturn (w/Terri Runnels)

We have one extablished stable against a thrown-together squad. Can you guess who wins? The Radicalz are out first followed by Billy and Test who decide not to wait for Raven and gets things going. Billy goes after Eddie as Malenko and Saturn double-team Test when Raven finally makes his way to the ring. Raven tosses Saturn over the ropes and Test does the same to Malenko while Billy stomps Eddie out as well. The Radicalz try to regroup on the floor before Malenko goes in the ring against Test who pounds on him. Malenko jabs the eyes and goes for a whip but Test reverses ad hits a spinning sidewalk slam for a two count. Test whips Malenko but lowers the head, Malenko kicks the face but Test comes back with a shoulderblock. Billy tags in and gets an armwringer but Malenko jabs his eyes then tags Eddie when Billy regains his sight. Eddie tries offering a hand of friendship but Billy pulls him down by the hair then hits a pair of clotheslines. Billy whips Eddie and presses him up but Saturn made a blind tag and knocks the pile over with a superkick. Saturn hits an elbowdrop and a suplex for a two count then tags Malenko in and Malenko lays the boots to him. Malneko goes for a whip when Billy counters it and hits the Rocker Dropper but is too hurt to make the cover. Eddie clotheslines Billy from the apron then tags in and slings himself over the ropes, connecting with the hilo. Eddie peppers Billy with jabs in his corner when Billy tries to fight out of it but Eddie regains the advantage. Saturn snaps Billy on the top rope then pulls him out to the floor and rams him back-first into the steps. Saturn tosses Billy in the ring and Eddie hits a suplex then tags Malenko in and Malenko kicks Billy in the ribs. Malenko wrenches Billy’s arm then tags Saturn in and Saturn hits a kneedrop to the arm then works it over. Saturn goes for a whip and Billy reverses it but Saturn comes back with an exploder suplex for a near fall. Billy nails Saturn with a jawbreaker then whips him and hits a tilt-o-whirl slam and both men are down. Both men head for the corners and Eddie gets his tag but Billy tags in Raven who greets him with a right hand. Saturn is in and Raven whips him right into Malenko but Eddie gets in a kick and works him over in a corner. Eddie goes for a whip but Raven reverses him into a corner and hits a clothesline followed by the bulldog. Raven covers Eddie and Saturn makes the save but Test comes in and plants Saturn with the Full Nelson slam. Test decks Malenko and knocks Saturn through the ropes with a boot but Malenko knocks him through as well. Malenko turns and slams Raven while Eddie climbs to the top rope and goes for the Frogsplash but misses it. Eddie rolls up to his feet but Raven drils him with the Evenflow DDT then covers and grabs the pin. (5:56) Yes, the makeshift team won. And you’d think Raven pinning the European Champion would have earned him a title shot but it didn’t quite happen that way. **

~ Backstage Kevin Kelly interviews The Big Show on Kaientai challenging him to a handicap match tonight. Show mentions how Kaientai are always saying how they’re evil, while he’s 7-foot-2, 500 pounds of bad attitude. Show then says Kaientai will get every bit of it because Shane McMahon is watching and he has something to prove. On that note Show throws an anvil case just to show how mean he is or something as we go to commercial.

~ Back form break we get a special music video about The Undertaker and Kane set to Marilyn Manson’s “Fight Song”.

~ Big Show makes his way to the ring followed by Kaientai but Taka gets on the mic and in his dubbed voice claims they’ve lured Show into a trap because not even Godzilla is a match for cold, hard cash and they will show Big Show not to mess with true evil. Funaki adds in an “Indeed!” just before The Acolytes make their way out, presumibly having heen hired by Kaientai. Show tries to fight them off and grabs Bradshaw by the throat but Faarooq save him from a chokeslam with a low blow. Bradshaw follows up with the Clothesline from Hades and the Acolytes double-team Show as Kaientai look on. The Acolytes whip Show and plant him with a double spinebuster before finally heading out, having done their job.

  • The Big Show vs. KaientaiHandicap Match

With Show down both guys climb to the top rope and Funaki hits an elbowdrop while Taka adds in a kneedrop. The Kaientai guys start celebrating for some reason then head back to the top as Show starts to get to his feet. Both guys leap off again but this time Show catches both of them in a choke and hits a double chokeslam then covers both guys for the pin. (0:33) Waste of time, let’s just move on. NR

~ Back from break we get footage of Trish Stratus arriving at WWF New York earlier as we prepare to hear from her. We then get Trish’s promo as she says she was attracted to Vince McMahon, more for his money than anything else. Trish says she would do anything for the right cause and found it when she realized the kind of man Vince really was. Trish says that’s why she took Linda McMahon off her medication and will support her duing her divorce proceedings. Trish finishes by saying she may be nice but there will always be a part of her that’s naughty. Okay then.

~ JR and Heyman then hype the IC Title rematch by showing the video we already saw at the beginning of the program.

~ We then see the Helmsleys making their way to the ring which means the main event is next. The Hardys and Lita also head out but William Regal stops them and yells at Matt for what he did to Steve Austin and because of his actions earlier he’s banning him from ringside. The group doesn’t like that as Regal also warns Matt that should he take even one step towards the ring, Jeff will be stripped of the title on the spot. Regal walks off while Matt assures Jeff that he doesn’t need him out there and Jeff and Lita head off without him.

~ Back for break the XFL Championship game is hyped again, this time with a special look at Tommy Maddox. JR mentions the game will be held in the Colliseum and good seats are still available. Eh, the joke is too obvious.

  • WWF Intercontinential Title: Jeff Hardy © (w/Lita) vs. Triple H (w/Stephanie McMahon)

The participants file out to the ring as we get a shot of Matt Hardy watching the match on a backstage monitor. Triple H wastes no time pounding on Jeff and stomphing him down in a corner then decks him with a hard right. Triple H shoulderblocks Jeff in a corner and Earl Hebner orders him to back off then whips him but eats a boot. Jeff comes off the ropes but Triple H drops him to the mat then grabs his hair and unloads on him with rights. Triple H hits a delayed suplex and follows up with a kneedrop for a two as Matt urges Jeff on from the back. Triple H continues his assault then goes for another delayed suplex but Jeff lands on his feet and gets in his shots. Jeff comes off the ropes but runs into a powerslam. Triple H tosses Jeff through the ropes then goes after him and drops him onto the steps before rolling him back in the ring. Jeff desparately tries to fight back and comes off the ropes but Triple H clotheslines him down for a near fall then covers again for another two. Triple H puts Jeff in an Abdominal Stretch and even grabs the ropes for leverage while pounding on Jeff’s chest. Triple H grabs the rope again but Hebner sees it and kicks the arm off, allowing Jeff to escape with a hiptoss. Jeff comes off the ropes yet again and yet again Triple H cuts him down, this time with a knee to the chest. Jeff comes back with a jawbreaker and whips Triple H but lowers the head and Triple H hits the facebuster. Triple H covers Jeff but Lita pulls him off so Stephanie goes over to slap her but Lita manages to block it. Lita then chases Stephanie around the ring but Triple H goes out to stand in her way forcing Lita to back off. Stephanie gets Hebner’s attention while Triple H tosses Jeff through the ropes then goes after him on the floor. However Jeff manages to grab the IC belt and clocks Triple H with it, sending him acorss the announce table!

Jeff rams Triple H into the ringpost and the steps then into the announce table before rolling him in the ring. Jeff climbs to the top rope and connects with a missile dropkick … but only gets a two count! Jeff goes for a whip, Triple H reverses him into a corner but Jeff lifts himself over Triple H and dropkicks him. Triple H sets Jeff up for the Pedigree when Jeff counters it into the backslide but that only gets a near fall. Jeff hits a hedscissors then climbs to the top rope and goes for the Whisper in the Wind but Triple H dodges it. Triple H hops to the mddile rope but Jeff cuts him off with a dropkick then goes up and hits a Frankensteiner. Jeff climbs to the top again and goes for the Swanton Bomb but Triple H avoids it and both men are down. We cut to the back to see Matt’s reaction .. when Steve Austin suddenly appears and assaults Matt with a chair. Lita sees this on the TitanTron and doesn’t know whether to go to the back and check on Matt or stay with Jeff. Lita eventually chooses Matt over Jeff and starts heading up the ramp, but Steve Austin emerges and cuts her off. Austin starts stalking after Lita with an evil look on his face … when we suddenly hear the bell ring? The heck? Apparenlty while everyone’s attention was diverted Triple H hit Jeff with the Pedigree and got the clean pin to regain the title. (11:28) So Triple H gets his win back after just four days, rendering Jeff’s big victory on Smackdown virtually meaningless. Match was okay but this was a blown oppertunity to cement the Hardys as the next big stars and lead to them possibly getting a main event shot at Backlash, which would have been something different that the usual fare. Instead, just check out what happened next. **½

Austin goes in and helps Triple H double-team Jeff then takes off his belt and whips Jeff with it. Matt comes in with a chair but Triple H cuts him off then grabs the chair himself and whacks Matt with it. Austin and Triple H continue assaulting Matt and Jeff with the chair and belt then dare Lita to come in the ring. Lita tries to back away but Stephanie tosses her in the ring and it looks like a repeat of last Monday is coming. Austin and Triple H move in … when the lights go out before The Undertaker and Kane come out to the stage. Taker and Kane slowly make their way down the ramp with Austin and Triple H signaling they’re ready to go. However once Taker and Kane slide in the ring Ausitn and Triple H bail out to the floor and back up the ramp. Yep, after the past week suggested Matt and Jeff would be the next big stars, it’s Undertaker and Kane who are going to be challenging Austin and Triple H, instantly killing any shot the Hardys had at a push.

Conclusion: Up and down episode that continued the WWF’s stunning fall from their highest point. The first hour wasn’t much to sit through with some boring matches and skits but things got better with two great bouts in Angle/Jericho and Benoit/Regal. The main event was okay but again it rendered the past few shows became moot as Undertaker and Kane just swooped right in to take the main event spot while the Hardys were swept back to the midcard. And it wouldn’t be the last time the bookers started to push someone new only to abort it. Not to mention Backlash was less than two weeks from this show yet not one match had been booked for it up to this point. It just felt like the bookers most likely felt they didn’t have to really try as hard anymore since they were the lone top promotion in the U.S. So not really a bad show and there is some good stuff to see here, but I am going to have to go thumbs in the middle.

For more reviews visit my archive at: http://kingsrecaps.wordpress.com

The King's Recap: WWF Smackdown 4.12.2001

WWF SMACKDOWN
Thursday, April 12th, 2001

Taped (4/10) from the First Union Center in Philadelphia, PA

List of WWF Champions at the time:
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Triple H (4/05/2001)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian (4/01/2001)
WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero (4/01/2001)
WWF Hardcore Champion: Kane (4/01/2001)
WWF Women’s Champion: Chyna (4/01/2001)
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Crash Holly (3/18/2001)

~ Smackdown comes on the air with stills of Steve Austin and Triple H brutailizing the Hardys and Lita on Raw. Michael Cole and Tazz then welcome us to the show and add their thoughts on the vicious Austin/Triple H alliance before reporting Matt Hardy and Lita are resting comfortably at home tonight after a brief hospital stay.

~ Things kick off with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon heading to the ring and they’re quickly joined by Steve Austin. Triple H gets on the mic and talks now how the WWF was a rosy place just a month ago with The Rock as champion. Triple H comments on how things have changed since and where they stand just a few short weeks after Wrestlemania. Triple H first brings up how Rock often called Wrestlemania a meeting of the two most dominant forces in the WWF but Rock was mistaken because he and Austin are the two dominant men in the WWF, now and forever. Triple H says he and Austin destroyed Rock and took the both WWF and IC titles because no one can stop them. Triple H then says the Hardys and Lita dared to stand in their way on last Monday and look what happened to them. Triple H says people everywhere are telling them how they went too far before but they will decide when it’s enough. Triple H finishes by saying he is that darn good, Austin is that cold, and together the two of them are that unstoppable. Austin takes over the mic and brags that he annihilated Rock with the chair at Wrestlemania just because he wanted to. Austin then brings up how he viciously assaulted Jim Ross last week, accusing him of riding his coattails for a living. Austin says he beat and bloddied JR becasue he could and because there isn’t a soul backstage who could stop him. Austin next talks about what they did to the Hardys last week because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Austin gloats about beating Matt Hardy with a chair and seeing Lita covering him, hoping that he’ll show some mercy. Austin says Lita was mistaken and laid into her with everything he had, and if given the chance he would do it again. Austin rants that could have been anyone when Jeff Hardy charges in and whacks Austin and Triple H with a chair! Stephanie slaps Jeff in the face and Jeff responds by laying her out with the Twist of Fate then dashes to the back! Triple H and Austin are left fuming in the ring while we wonder if Jeff has a death wish as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Jeff Hardy getting payback on Steve Austin and Triple H and even Stephanie. Backstage Commissioner William Regal is watching a monitor when Triple H bursts in and yells about Jeff’s ambush then demands a match with Jeff tonight and doesn’t even care if he has to put his Intercontinential Title on the line. Regal promises to take care of it and Triple H storms off but not before saying Jeff Hardy is a dead man.

  • Spike Dudley (w/The Dudley Boyz) vs. Albert (w/X-Pac & Justin Credible)

Spike wants some payback after Albert destroyed him on Raw, but after his encounters with Bam Bam Bigelow and Mike Awesome you’d think Spike would learn to stop challenging bigger men. In any case Both men stand nose-to-nose with Albert looking down at Spike when Spike tries to get in the first shots. Albert swats Spike down but Spike is back up and gets in more offense but Albert decks him with a hard right. Albert tosses Spike across the ring and walks over his chest then picks him up by his pants and slams him. Albert headbutts Spike then whips him into a corner and goes for the Avalanche but Spike headbutts his chest. Spike goes for a Sunset Flip but can’t get Albert over so Albert goes for a sit-down splash and that misses. Spike dropkicks Albert’s head then climbs to the top rope but straddles the buckle after Albert bumps the ropes. Albert climbs up but Spike fights him off and connects with a double stom then follows up with the Acid Drop, or as Cole and Tazz now refer to it, the Dudley Dawg. X-Pac and Credible hop on the apron and Spike knocks them off then covers Albert but only gets a two count. The Dudleys attack Credible and X-Pac on the floor while Spike comes off the ropes but runs right into a bicycle kick and that pretty much is all she wrote. (2:36) Nothing more than a squash. DUD

Albert celebrates when the Dudleys run in and plant him with a double back suplex. Bubba sets Albert up while D’Von climbs to the top rope and connects with the “Wassup” headbutt. Bubba sends D’Von out for a table and D’Von sets one up at ringside when X-Pac jumps him and takes him out with the X-Factor on the floor. Bubba poinds on Albert in the ring but X-Pac and Credible head in and nail Bubba with a double superkick. Spike tries to get a piece of Albert but Albert Baldobombs him from the apron through the table.

~ Backstage Debra is walking somewhere when he comes across Dave Hebner and asks where Jim Ross is. Dave shows her the way to JR’s dressing room and Debra walks off as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we find William Regal sitting in his office when Jeff Hardy comes in to answer his summons. Regal informs Jeff that Triple H wants to face him tonight so he congradulates him on his Intercontinential Title shot but warns him that if he ever besmirches Stephanie McMahon again, he will never ever get another title match. Jeff says that’s fine with him, feeling he might not need another title shot because he just might take the strap tonight. Jeff departs just as the Big Show comes in and takes a moment to tell Jeff that Triple H is going to bust him in half. Show then tells Regal how The Undertaker and Kane made a fool of him last week and demands a match with them. Regal is about to give Show the go ahead but Show says he wants some help to take Taker and Kane out for good. Regal agrees to book Show and two partners of his choosing in a 3-on-2 handicap match and Show seems satisfied.

~ Backstage Lillian Garcia interviews Crash on him and Hardcore challening Edge & Christian for the tag team titles. Crash says ever since he came to the WWF they’ve been knocking him down but every time he gets right back up. Crash also says how Hardcore’s back and thus he feels the Hollys are up to the challnge of winning the tag titles. Crash says Rhyno isn’t an issue when Rhyno suddenly flies into the scene and Gores Crash into a closed garage door!

~ Elsewhere Jim Ross is looking over some papers when Debra comes in and talks about some things bothering her. Debra tells JR that she feels really bad about what Steve Austin did to him last week but claims she wasn’t involved in it JR believes Debra and tells her that he knows what kind of person she is, unlike her husband who he thought he knew and Debra says she’s confused at what Austin does. At that point Austin enters the room and accuses JR of flirting with his wife before ordering him to get lost. Austin then turns and tells Debra to pack her bags because they’re leaving right now.

~ Back from break we get footage of Steve Austin and Debra leaving the building during the break.

~ Backstage Triple H looks on as the trainer checks on Stephanie who complains about her neck hurting then whines about Jeff Hardy breaking her diamond earrings. Triple H promises to take care of him and also decides to dedicate the match to her then warns the trainer to do a good job with here and departs.

~ Out in the arena Cole announces the Tag Team Title match has been scrubbed due to Crash being taken out. Cole says Edge and Christian will instead team with Kurt Angle and Regal against Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho.

  • WWF Women’s Title: Chyna © vs. Ivory (w/Steven Richards)

This is Ivory’s rematch after Chyna crushed her at Wrestlemania. Only tis time Ivory has her pal Richards in her corner so maybe that’ll make a difference. Or not. Chyna hammers away on Ivory to start and slams her then sets her on the top rope and throws her to the mat. Chyna shoves Ivory into a corner and goes for the handspring elbow but Ivory sidesteps it and hits a bulldog. Ivory gets in her offense with a series of elbowdrops and follows up with a legdrop to the neck for a two count. Ivory snaps Chyna back then applies a chinlock but Chyna gets to her feet and throws Ivory off her back. Chyna goes for the ropes but Richards pulls her out to the floor and clotheslines her then tosses her back in. Ivory hits an elbowdrop and taunts the fans before covering Chyna for a two count then applies a facelock. Chyna counters it into a delayed vertical suplex then hits a powerslam followed by a pair of clotheslines. Chyna whips Ivory back and forth between the corners then presses her up and slams her and gets the pin. (3:53) And thus would being Chyna’s burial of the Women’s division. Richards comes in ready for a Stevenkick but Chyna catches him and spins him around into a DDT. DUD

~ Backstage Big Show knocks on the Acolytes’ door and asks them to team with him against Undertaker and Kane. Bradshaw and Faarooq make fun of a 7′ 3-ton giant needing their help and Show accuses them of being chicken. The Acolytes say they’re too busy and Show tells them not to come crying to him if they need a giant and storms off.

~ Back from break Chris Jericho is conversing with Chris Benoit about having to face four opponents tonight. Jericho reminds Benoit how they humilaited William Regal on Raw and feels he’s obviously out to get his revenge tonight so they’re being set up for a screwjob. Benoit ponders this then suggests he and Jericho go with it.

  • Kurt Angle, William Regal, Edge & Christian vs. Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho4-on-2 Handicap Match

Interesting how many future world champions are in this match. Benoit and Jericho both rush the ring and take it right to their four opponents, actually getting the advantage. Benoit tosses Regal over the ropes while Jericho hits Angle with a low blow then clotheslines Christian over. Edge tries to whip Benoit but Benoit counters into a suplex and Jericho follows up with the Lionsault on Edge. Angle comes back in and Jericho catches him with a right while Benoit and Regal are fighting it out on the floor. Benoit rams Regal into the apron then climbs to the top rope and connects with the diving headbutt on Edge. Benoit covers Edge but Christian is in to make the save then hits Benoit with a Slop Drop and stomps at him. Regal tags in and gets in his stomps on Benoit then caps off with a European uppercut before tagging in Angle. Angle stomps away at Benoit and hits a suplex before Edge tags in and takes over on Benoit then slams him. Christian tags in as Benoit comes back with chops when Christian whips him into a corner but eats a boot. Benoit hits more chops when Christian goes for a Slop Drop but Benoit counters with a Northen Light suplex. Both men crawl toward their corners and Christian tags in Angle while Benoit makes the hot tag to Jericho. Jericho clotheslines Angle, catches Edge with a clothesline, pops Regal off the apron and hits Angle with a chop. Jericho goes for a whip, Angle reverses but Jericho comes back with a flying forearm then goes for the bulldog. Angle ducks it and goes for the Olympic Slam, Jericho counters and goes for a backslide but Angle blocks that. Jericho puts Angle in the Walls of Jericho and Regal is in but Benoit intercepts him and slaps on the Crossface. Before either man submits Chrsitian is back in but Jericho releases Angle and puts him in the Walls of Jericho. Edge then tries to save Regal from Benoit with the spear but Benoit ducks it and slaps the Crossface on Edge. Again before either man taps Angle nails Jericho to break his hold then hits the Olympic Slam and grabs the pin. (3:28) Okay stuff but it was obvious Benoit and Jericho weren’t beating the odds. **

After the bell Benoit goes after Regal but Angle nails him from behind and the two proceed to double-team him. Regal then takes a swing at Jericho but Jericho ducks it and takes him down the puts him in the Walls of Jericho. Benoit comes back against Angle and gets him in the Crossface and both Angle and Regal are tapping like mad. Edge and Christian try to come back in for the save but Jericho and Benoit knock both of them off the apron. Angle then retreats with his crew up the ramp while Benoit and Jericho are the ones standing tall in the ring.

~ Back from break Jeff Hardy is preparing for his match when Test comes in and wishes him luck against Triple H. Test also gives Jeff props for him laying Stephanie out earlier, saying how many times he’s wanted to do that himself.

~ Cole and Tazz then recap Linda McMahon’s chat with Vince last Monday on Raw ending with her divorce demand. The announcers mention that Vince isn’t here tonight, perhaps still suffering from the shock of Linda’s request.

  • Hardcore Holly vs. Rhyno

As mentioned earlier Hardcore and Crash were to get a tag title match but Rhyno taking Crash out changed that, so Hardcore is out for payback instead. Both men start exchanging shots and go all around the ring until Hardcore hammers away at Rhyno in a corner. Hardcore then goes for a whip, Rhyno reverses him into the other corner and charges at him but eats a boot. Hardcore continues teeing off on Rhyno but Rhyno gets the advantage before both men start exchanging chops. Hardcore takes control with a clothesline then drapes Rhyno on the top rope and kicks him in the chest. Rhyno fights back and lays the boots to Hardcore then comes off the ropes and connects with a running boot. Rhyno clubs Hardcore’s back but Hardcore takes Rhyno down and unloads on him in a corner then chokes him. Hardcore continues his assault when the referee pulls him off but Rhyno comes out and Gores both men ar once. Suddenly Molly Holly runs out and tosses a trash can to Hardcore who knocks Rhyno through the ropes with it. Rhyno backs away up the ramp and they’re showing replays so I guess that’s the match. (3:17) Not much to see here. DUD

~ Backstage Big Show meets with Grandmaster Sexay and asks if he and Steve Blackman might be his partners tonight. Sexay declines, telling Show that he has somewhere else to play so Show needs to start steppin’ and hit the bricks. Show decides to step on Sexay instead when Blackman comes in brandishing his nunchucks and Show backs away.

~ Back from break we get a look at WWF New York which is sporting a giant ‘XFL Championship’ poster. We also get a shot of Triple H taping up his wrists in the back for his big IC Title defense later tonight.

~ Backstage Kevin Kelly interviews Jeff Hardy on his chances of winning the Intercontinental Title. Jeff says winning the title would be great but tonight is all about payback and revenge for Matt and Lita.

~ Elsehwere backstage Test is checking out a magazine when the Right to Censor walks up to try and recruit him. The Goodfather says how they’re trying to make a difference in the WWF and the workd and it starts with all of them. Val Venis then tells Test how the world is being choked out by abomination and he can change that by joining them. Test laughs about how he can give up women and his beliefs and dress just like them before telling them to get lost. Val responds by challenging Test to face him tonight and show how deep his convictions lie and Test accepts.

~ Again elsehwere Big Show is walking when he comes across Kaientai and their interpretor asks them to tag with him. The interpretor asks Taka and Funaki then tells Show they’ll accept his invitiaton because he reminds them of Godzilla. Show mentions something about soup and wantons then walks off with them as we go to commercial.

  • The Undertaker & Kane vs. The Big Show & Kaientai3-on-2 Handicap Match

The participants file out but Kaientai get scared since Show didn’t mention who their opponents were. Show tries to pull his team together and asks one of them to start us off but they’re hesitant to get in the ring. Eventually Sho Funaki is in to start off but Taker says he has no beef with him and allows him to tag Show in. However Show refuses so Taker boots Funaki to get thigns started then drags him by the arm to Show’s corner. Show again refuses and hops off the apron when Taka Michinoku tags in and tries to get a sleeper on Taker. Taker just walks over to his corner and tags Kane in and Kane knocks Taka off Taker’s back with a right hand. Kane presses Taka up and slams him then goes for the ropes when Show nails him, finally getting involved. Kane turns and grabs Show by the throat when Funaki tries to fight him off but Kane decks Funaki in response. Taka then dropkicks Kane in the knee before Show finally comes in and hits a clothesline but Kane sits right up. So Show brings Funaki in the hard way and decides he’s had enough as he heads out and abandons his partners. Kane grabs Funaki when Taka climbs to the top and leaps ofg but Kane grabs him and chokeslams both guys. Taker then convines Kane to hit a Last Ride and Kane sets Funaki up but tosses him over his head instead. Taker decides to do a proper Last Ride to Taka and Show is throwing a fit while Kane powerbombs Funaki to finally end this. (2:54) Nothing more than a comedy match, and an uniteresting one at that. DUD

~ We get a shot of Jeff Hardy preparing for his big match backstage as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Cole and Tazz hype the XFL playoffs this weekend. San Francisco/Orlando Saturday night on NBC and Los Angeles/Chicago Sunday night on UPN. Just two more weeks of the XFL, folks.

  • Test vs. Val Venis (w/The Right to Censor)

Test pounds on Val to start and goes for a whip, Val reverses but lowers the head and Test kicks the face. Test goes for the big boot but Val fakes him out so he goes for the ropes but Goodfather trips him from the floor. Test then pulls Goodfather onto to the apron but that allows Val to nail him from behind and get in his offense. Val distracts the referee while the others get in their shots from the floor then stomps Test down in a corner. Val chokes Test with his shoe and hits a suplex then applies a submission hold before clubbing him in the chest. Val slams Test and hits a kneedrop for a two count then goes for a whip and Test reverses but lowers the head. Val kicks the face then comes off the ropes but runs right into a tilt-o-whirl slam that gets Test a near fall. Test whips Val and hits him with a backdrop and Val begs him off before pulling him out through the ropes. Val distracts the referee again while Buchanan nails Test with a bicycle kick on the floor and tosses him back in. Val covers Test but only gets a two and Val argues the count but Test comes back with the pump-handle slam. Test covers Val when Goodfather distracts the referee while Buchanan comes in and nails Test for the save. Bucnanan holds Test as Steven Richards goes for the Stevenkick but Test escapes and Buchanan takes the shot. Raven then runs in and drills Richards with the Evenflow DDT but Val decks him and kicks him out to the floor. Val then scoops Test up but Test floats over him and shoves him into Goodfather, knocking him off the apron. Test then nails Val with the big boot and is finally able to get the three count. (4:08) Yawn. DUD

Test departs when Buchanan and Goodfather start shoving each other while Richards tries to calm them down. However Goodfather and Buchanan both drop Richards with a right hand before Val clotheslines both guys. Everyone starts fighting everyone else around the ring and end was finally beginning for the RTC angle.

~ Jeff Hardy and Triple H are both shown heading to the ring which means main event time as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break they replay the video package we saw at the beginning of the show, just in case you missed it.

  • WWF Intercontinential Title: Triple H © vs. Jeff Hardy

Amazing how this would be a world title match in seven years. Triple H wastes no time beating on Jeff and hammering away on him in a corner. Triple H throws Jeff through the ropes then brings him back in as we see Stephanie watching from the back. Triple H whips Jeff but Jeff comes back with a headscissors followed by a dropkick and hits a second dropkick. Triple H regains control and goes for a Pedigree but Jeff counters with a takedown and hits the double legdrop. Jeff dropkicks Triple H in the face then hits the count-along punches in a corner but Triple H shoves him off. Triple H whips Jeff into a corner but Jeff runs up the turnbuckles and connects with the Whisper in the Wind. Triple H throws Jeff under the ropes then goes after him but Jeff blocks Triple H and rams him into the steps. Jeff runs across the barricade and dives at Triple H but Triple H catches him into a slightly-botched powerslam. Triple H goes for a whip. Jeff sends him into the barrier then leaps off the apron but Triple H powerslams him. Triple H whips Jeff into the steps before rolling him back in the ring when Jeff desparately tries to fight back. Jeff goes for a whip but Triple H reverses it and connects with the high knee then continues assaulting him. Triple H chokes Jeff on the middle rope then beats him down some in a corner and chokes him with his boot. Triple H whips Jeff and slaps on a sleeperhold and Jeff begins to fade but counters the hold with a jawbreaker. Jeff follows up with a Russian legsweep and climbs to the top rope but Triple H pulls the referee into the ropes. Jeff straddles the turnbuckles and the referee repremands Triple H for that but Triple H just shoves him down. Triple H goes up and sets up for a superplex … when Matt Hardy runs in and clobbers Triple H with a chair! Triple H is down as Jeff connects with the Swanton Bomb and gets the 1..2..3!!! (8:06) Jeff upsets Triple H and wins his first singles title. Fun main event there with some nice bumping by Jeff and halfway-decent selling by Triple H. Now you’d figure this win would have elevated the Hardys to the next level but … well, you’ll see in the next review. **½

Matt quickly helps Jeff out of the ring with Jeff’s new title in hand and Stephanie is shocked in the back as while Triple H starts throwing a fit as the Hardys look on from the stage. However Tazz feels Jeff may be the champion but in his eyes he’s a dead man as Smackdown goes off the air.

Conclusion: Other than the main event, a pretty forgettable show. Most of the matches weren’t worth your time and the WWF seemed to be in a holding pattern as very little was progressed toward the next pay-per-view. The main event was fine and actually featured a happy ending, which was nice after three shows with downer finishes. Again Jeff’s win over Triple H should have made him and Matt the next big stars and could have even started a program between them and Austin & Triple H leading up to Backlash but again we’ll cover that in the next review. Since you can find the Jeff Hardy/Triple H match on the WWF Action DVD, there’s no real reason to track this show down.

For more reviews visit my archive at: http://kingsrecaps.wordpress.com

The King's Recap: WWF Smackdown 4.12.2001

WWF SMACKDOWN
Thursday, April 12th, 2001

Taped (4/10) from the First Union Center in Philadelphia, PA

List of WWF Champions at the time:
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Triple H (4/05/2001)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian (4/01/2001)
WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero (4/01/2001)
WWF Hardcore Champion: Kane (4/01/2001)
WWF Women’s Champion: Chyna (4/01/2001)
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Crash Holly (3/18/2001)

~ Smackdown comes on the air with stills of Steve Austin and Triple H brutailizing the Hardys and Lita on Raw. Michael Cole and Tazz then welcome us to the show and add their thoughts on the vicious Austin/Triple H alliance before reporting Matt Hardy and Lita are resting comfortably at home tonight after a brief hospital stay.

~ Things kick off with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon heading to the ring and they’re quickly joined by Steve Austin. Triple H gets on the mic and talks now how the WWF was a rosy place just a month ago with The Rock as champion. Triple H comments on how things have changed since and where they stand just a few short weeks after Wrestlemania. Triple H first brings up how Rock often called Wrestlemania a meeting of the two most dominant forces in the WWF but Rock was mistaken because he and Austin are the two dominant men in the WWF, now and forever. Triple H says he and Austin destroyed Rock and took the both WWF and IC titles because no one can stop them. Triple H then says the Hardys and Lita dared to stand in their way on last Monday and look what happened to them. Triple H says people everywhere are telling them how they went too far before but they will decide when it’s enough. Triple H finishes by saying he is that darn good, Austin is that cold, and together the two of them are that unstoppable. Austin takes over the mic and brags that he annihilated Rock with the chair at Wrestlemania just because he wanted to. Austin then brings up how he viciously assaulted Jim Ross last week, accusing him of riding his coattails for a living. Austin says he beat and bloddied JR becasue he could and because there isn’t a soul backstage who could stop him. Austin next talks about what they did to the Hardys last week because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Austin gloats about beating Matt Hardy with a chair and seeing Lita covering him, hoping that he’ll show some mercy. Austin says Lita was mistaken and laid into her with everything he had, and if given the chance he would do it again. Austin rants that could have been anyone when Jeff Hardy charges in and whacks Austin and Triple H with a chair! Stephanie slaps Jeff in the face and Jeff responds by laying her out with the Twist of Fate then dashes to the back! Triple H and Austin are left fuming in the ring while we wonder if Jeff has a death wish as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Jeff Hardy getting payback on Steve Austin and Triple H and even Stephanie. Backstage Commissioner William Regal is watching a monitor when Triple H bursts in and yells about Jeff’s ambush then demands a match with Jeff tonight and doesn’t even care if he has to put his Intercontinential Title on the line. Regal promises to take care of it and Triple H storms off but not before saying Jeff Hardy is a dead man.

  • Spike Dudley (w/The Dudley Boyz) vs. Albert (w/X-Pac & Justin Credible)

Spike wants some payback after Albert destroyed him on Raw, but after his encounters with Bam Bam Bigelow and Mike Awesome you’d think Spike would learn to stop challenging bigger men. In any case Both men stand nose-to-nose with Albert looking down at Spike when Spike tries to get in the first shots. Albert swats Spike down but Spike is back up and gets in more offense but Albert decks him with a hard right. Albert tosses Spike across the ring and walks over his chest then picks him up by his pants and slams him. Albert headbutts Spike then whips him into a corner and goes for the Avalanche but Spike headbutts his chest. Spike goes for a Sunset Flip but can’t get Albert over so Albert goes for a sit-down splash and that misses. Spike dropkicks Albert’s head then climbs to the top rope but straddles the buckle after Albert bumps the ropes. Albert climbs up but Spike fights him off and connects with a double stom then follows up with the Acid Drop, or as Cole and Tazz now refer to it, the Dudley Dawg. X-Pac and Credible hop on the apron and Spike knocks them off then covers Albert but only gets a two count. The Dudleys attack Credible and X-Pac on the floor while Spike comes off the ropes but runs right into a bicycle kick and that pretty much is all she wrote. (2:36) Nothing more than a squash. DUD

Albert celebrates when the Dudleys run in and plant him with a double back suplex. Bubba sets Albert up while D’Von climbs to the top rope and connects with the “Wassup” headbutt. Bubba sends D’Von out for a table and D’Von sets one up at ringside when X-Pac jumps him and takes him out with the X-Factor on the floor. Bubba poinds on Albert in the ring but X-Pac and Credible head in and nail Bubba with a double superkick. Spike tries to get a piece of Albert but Albert Baldobombs him from the apron through the table.

~ Backstage Debra is walking somewhere when he comes across Dave Hebner and asks where Jim Ross is. Dave shows her the way to JR’s dressing room and Debra walks off as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we find William Regal sitting in his office when Jeff Hardy comes in to answer his summons. Regal informs Jeff that Triple H wants to face him tonight so he congradulates him on his Intercontinential Title shot but warns him that if he ever besmirches Stephanie McMahon again, he will never ever get another title match. Jeff says that’s fine with him, feeling he might not need another title shot because he just might take the strap tonight. Jeff departs just as the Big Show comes in and takes a moment to tell Jeff that Triple H is going to bust him in half. Show then tells Regal how The Undertaker and Kane made a fool of him last week and demands a match with them. Regal is about to give Show the go ahead but Show says he wants some help to take Taker and Kane out for good. Regal agrees to book Show and two partners of his choosing in a 3-on-2 handicap match and Show seems satisfied.

~ Backstage Lillian Garcia interviews Crash on him and Hardcore challening Edge & Christian for the tag team titles. Crash says ever since he came to the WWF they’ve been knocking him down but every time he gets right back up. Crash also says how Hardcore’s back and thus he feels the Hollys are up to the challnge of winning the tag titles. Crash says Rhyno isn’t an issue when Rhyno suddenly flies into the scene and Gores Crash into a closed garage door!

~ Elsewhere Jim Ross is looking over some papers when Debra comes in and talks about some things bothering her. Debra tells JR that she feels really bad about what Steve Austin did to him last week but claims she wasn’t involved in it JR believes Debra and tells her that he knows what kind of person she is, unlike her husband who he thought he knew and Debra says she’s confused at what Austin does. At that point Austin enters the room and accuses JR of flirting with his wife before ordering him to get lost. Austin then turns and tells Debra to pack her bags because they’re leaving right now.

~ Back from break we get footage of Steve Austin and Debra leaving the building during the break.

~ Backstage Triple H looks on as the trainer checks on Stephanie who complains about her neck hurting then whines about Jeff Hardy breaking her diamond earrings. Triple H promises to take care of him and also decides to dedicate the match to her then warns the trainer to do a good job with here and departs.

~ Out in the arena Cole announces the Tag Team Title match has been scrubbed due to Crash being taken out. Cole says Edge and Christian will instead team with Kurt Angle and Regal against Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho.

  • WWF Women’s Title: Chyna © vs. Ivory (w/Steven Richards)

This is Ivory’s rematch after Chyna crushed her at Wrestlemania. Only tis time Ivory has her pal Richards in her corner so maybe that’ll make a difference. Or not. Chyna hammers away on Ivory to start and slams her then sets her on the top rope and throws her to the mat. Chyna shoves Ivory into a corner and goes for the handspring elbow but Ivory sidesteps it and hits a bulldog. Ivory gets in her offense with a series of elbowdrops and follows up with a legdrop to the neck for a two count. Ivory snaps Chyna back then applies a chinlock but Chyna gets to her feet and throws Ivory off her back. Chyna goes for the ropes but Richards pulls her out to the floor and clotheslines her then tosses her back in. Ivory hits an elbowdrop and taunts the fans before covering Chyna for a two count then applies a facelock. Chyna counters it into a delayed vertical suplex then hits a powerslam followed by a pair of clotheslines. Chyna whips Ivory back and forth between the corners then presses her up and slams her and gets the pin. (3:53) And thus would being Chyna’s burial of the Women’s division. Richards comes in ready for a Stevenkick but Chyna catches him and spins him around into a DDT. DUD

~ Backstage Big Show knocks on the Acolytes’ door and asks them to team with him against Undertaker and Kane. Bradshaw and Faarooq make fun of a 7′ 3-ton giant needing their help and Show accuses them of being chicken. The Acolytes say they’re too busy and Show tells them not to come crying to him if they need a giant and storms off.

~ Back from break Chris Jericho is conversing with Chris Benoit about having to face four opponents tonight. Jericho reminds Benoit how they humilaited William Regal on Raw and feels he’s obviously out to get his revenge tonight so they’re being set up for a screwjob. Benoit ponders this then suggests he and Jericho go with it.

  • Kurt Angle, William Regal, Edge & Christian vs. Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho4-on-2 Handicap Match

Interesting how many future world champions are in this match. Benoit and Jericho both rush the ring and take it right to their four opponents, actually getting the advantage. Benoit tosses Regal over the ropes while Jericho hits Angle with a low blow then clotheslines Christian over. Edge tries to whip Benoit but Benoit counters into a suplex and Jericho follows up with the Lionsault on Edge. Angle comes back in and Jericho catches him with a right while Benoit and Regal are fighting it out on the floor. Benoit rams Regal into the apron then climbs to the top rope and connects with the diving headbutt on Edge. Benoit covers Edge but Christian is in to make the save then hits Benoit with a Slop Drop and stomps at him. Regal tags in and gets in his stomps on Benoit then caps off with a European uppercut before tagging in Angle. Angle stomps away at Benoit and hits a suplex before Edge tags in and takes over on Benoit then slams him. Christian tags in as Benoit comes back with chops when Christian whips him into a corner but eats a boot. Benoit hits more chops when Christian goes for a Slop Drop but Benoit counters with a Northen Light suplex. Both men crawl toward their corners and Christian tags in Angle while Benoit makes the hot tag to Jericho. Jericho clotheslines Angle, catches Edge with a clothesline, pops Regal off the apron and hits Angle with a chop. Jericho goes for a whip, Angle reverses but Jericho comes back with a flying forearm then goes for the bulldog. Angle ducks it and goes for the Olympic Slam, Jericho counters and goes for a backslide but Angle blocks that. Jericho puts Angle in the Walls of Jericho and Regal is in but Benoit intercepts him and slaps on the Crossface. Before either man submits Chrsitian is back in but Jericho releases Angle and puts him in the Walls of Jericho. Edge then tries to save Regal from Benoit with the spear but Benoit ducks it and slaps the Crossface on Edge. Again before either man taps Angle nails Jericho to break his hold then hits the Olympic Slam and grabs the pin. (3:28) Okay stuff but it was obvious Benoit and Jericho weren’t beating the odds. **

After the bell Benoit goes after Regal but Angle nails him from behind and the two proceed to double-team him. Regal then takes a swing at Jericho but Jericho ducks it and takes him down the puts him in the Walls of Jericho. Benoit comes back against Angle and gets him in the Crossface and both Angle and Regal are tapping like mad. Edge and Christian try to come back in for the save but Jericho and Benoit knock both of them off the apron. Angle then retreats with his crew up the ramp while Benoit and Jericho are the ones standing tall in the ring.

~ Back from break Jeff Hardy is preparing for his match when Test comes in and wishes him luck against Triple H. Test also gives Jeff props for him laying Stephanie out earlier, saying how many times he’s wanted to do that himself.

~ Cole and Tazz then recap Linda McMahon’s chat with Vince last Monday on Raw ending with her divorce demand. The announcers mention that Vince isn’t here tonight, perhaps still suffering from the shock of Linda’s request.

  • Hardcore Holly vs. Rhyno

As mentioned earlier Hardcore and Crash were to get a tag title match but Rhyno taking Crash out changed that, so Hardcore is out for payback instead. Both men start exchanging shots and go all around the ring until Hardcore hammers away at Rhyno in a corner. Hardcore then goes for a whip, Rhyno reverses him into the other corner and charges at him but eats a boot. Hardcore continues teeing off on Rhyno but Rhyno gets the advantage before both men start exchanging chops. Hardcore takes control with a clothesline then drapes Rhyno on the top rope and kicks him in the chest. Rhyno fights back and lays the boots to Hardcore then comes off the ropes and connects with a running boot. Rhyno clubs Hardcore’s back but Hardcore takes Rhyno down and unloads on him in a corner then chokes him. Hardcore continues his assault when the referee pulls him off but Rhyno comes out and Gores both men ar once. Suddenly Molly Holly runs out and tosses a trash can to Hardcore who knocks Rhyno through the ropes with it. Rhyno backs away up the ramp and they’re showing replays so I guess that’s the match. (3:17) Not much to see here. DUD

~ Backstage Big Show meets with Grandmaster Sexay and asks if he and Steve Blackman might be his partners tonight. Sexay declines, telling Show that he has somewhere else to play so Show needs to start steppin’ and hit the bricks. Show decides to step on Sexay instead when Blackman comes in brandishing his nunchucks and Show backs away.

~ Back from break we get a look at WWF New York which is sporting a giant ‘XFL Championship’ poster. We also get a shot of Triple H taping up his wrists in the back for his big IC Title defense later tonight.

~ Backstage Kevin Kelly interviews Jeff Hardy on his chances of winning the Intercontinental Title. Jeff says winning the title would be great but tonight is all about payback and revenge for Matt and Lita.

~ Elsehwere backstage Test is checking out a magazine when the Right to Censor walks up to try and recruit him. The Goodfather says how they’re trying to make a difference in the WWF and the workd and it starts with all of them. Val Venis then tells Test how the world is being choked out by abomination and he can change that by joining them. Test laughs about how he can give up women and his beliefs and dress just like them before telling them to get lost. Val responds by challenging Test to face him tonight and show how deep his convictions lie and Test accepts.

~ Again elsehwere Big Show is walking when he comes across Kaientai and their interpretor asks them to tag with him. The interpretor asks Taka and Funaki then tells Show they’ll accept his invitiaton because he reminds them of Godzilla. Show mentions something about soup and wantons then walks off with them as we go to commercial.

  • The Undertaker & Kane vs. The Big Show & Kaientai3-on-2 Handicap Match

The participants file out but Kaientai get scared since Show didn’t mention who their opponents were. Show tries to pull his team together and asks one of them to start us off but they’re hesitant to get in the ring. Eventually Sho Funaki is in to start off but Taker says he has no beef with him and allows him to tag Show in. However Show refuses so Taker boots Funaki to get thigns started then drags him by the arm to Show’s corner. Show again refuses and hops off the apron when Taka Michinoku tags in and tries to get a sleeper on Taker. Taker just walks over to his corner and tags Kane in and Kane knocks Taka off Taker’s back with a right hand. Kane presses Taka up and slams him then goes for the ropes when Show nails him, finally getting involved. Kane turns and grabs Show by the throat when Funaki tries to fight him off but Kane decks Funaki in response. Taka then dropkicks Kane in the knee before Show finally comes in and hits a clothesline but Kane sits right up. So Show brings Funaki in the hard way and decides he’s had enough as he heads out and abandons his partners. Kane grabs Funaki when Taka climbs to the top and leaps ofg but Kane grabs him and chokeslams both guys. Taker then convines Kane to hit a Last Ride and Kane sets Funaki up but tosses him over his head instead. Taker decides to do a proper Last Ride to Taka and Show is throwing a fit while Kane powerbombs Funaki to finally end this. (2:54) Nothing more than a comedy match, and an uniteresting one at that. DUD

~ We get a shot of Jeff Hardy preparing for his big match backstage as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Cole and Tazz hype the XFL playoffs this weekend. San Francisco/Orlando Saturday night on NBC and Los Angeles/Chicago Sunday night on UPN. Just two more weeks of the XFL, folks.

  • Test vs. Val Venis (w/The Right to Censor)

Test pounds on Val to start and goes for a whip, Val reverses but lowers the head and Test kicks the face. Test goes for the big boot but Val fakes him out so he goes for the ropes but Goodfather trips him from the floor. Test then pulls Goodfather onto to the apron but that allows Val to nail him from behind and get in his offense. Val distracts the referee while the others get in their shots from the floor then stomps Test down in a corner. Val chokes Test with his shoe and hits a suplex then applies a submission hold before clubbing him in the chest. Val slams Test and hits a kneedrop for a two count then goes for a whip and Test reverses but lowers the head. Val kicks the face then comes off the ropes but runs right into a tilt-o-whirl slam that gets Test a near fall. Test whips Val and hits him with a backdrop and Val begs him off before pulling him out through the ropes. Val distracts the referee again while Buchanan nails Test with a bicycle kick on the floor and tosses him back in. Val covers Test but only gets a two and Val argues the count but Test comes back with the pump-handle slam. Test covers Val when Goodfather distracts the referee while Buchanan comes in and nails Test for the save. Bucnanan holds Test as Steven Richards goes for the Stevenkick but Test escapes and Buchanan takes the shot. Raven then runs in and drills Richards with the Evenflow DDT but Val decks him and kicks him out to the floor. Val then scoops Test up but Test floats over him and shoves him into Goodfather, knocking him off the apron. Test then nails Val with the big boot and is finally able to get the three count. (4:08) Yawn. DUD

Test departs when Buchanan and Goodfather start shoving each other while Richards tries to calm them down. However Goodfather and Buchanan both drop Richards with a right hand before Val clotheslines both guys. Everyone starts fighting everyone else around the ring and end was finally beginning for the RTC angle.

~ Jeff Hardy and Triple H are both shown heading to the ring which means main event time as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break they replay the video package we saw at the beginning of the show, just in case you missed it.

  • WWF Intercontinential Title: Triple H © vs. Jeff Hardy

Amazing how this would be a world title match in seven years. Triple H wastes no time beating on Jeff and hammering away on him in a corner. Triple H throws Jeff through the ropes then brings him back in as we see Stephanie watching from the back. Triple H whips Jeff but Jeff comes back with a headscissors followed by a dropkick and hits a second dropkick. Triple H regains control and goes for a Pedigree but Jeff counters with a takedown and hits the double legdrop. Jeff dropkicks Triple H in the face then hits the count-along punches in a corner but Triple H shoves him off. Triple H whips Jeff into a corner but Jeff runs up the turnbuckles and connects with the Whisper in the Wind. Triple H throws Jeff under the ropes then goes after him but Jeff blocks Triple H and rams him into the steps. Jeff runs across the barricade and dives at Triple H but Triple H catches him into a slightly-botched powerslam. Triple H goes for a whip. Jeff sends him into the barrier then leaps off the apron but Triple H powerslams him. Triple H whips Jeff into the steps before rolling him back in the ring when Jeff desparately tries to fight back. Jeff goes for a whip but Triple H reverses it and connects with the high knee then continues assaulting him. Triple H chokes Jeff on the middle rope then beats him down some in a corner and chokes him with his boot. Triple H whips Jeff and slaps on a sleeperhold and Jeff begins to fade but counters the hold with a jawbreaker. Jeff follows up with a Russian legsweep and climbs to the top rope but Triple H pulls the referee into the ropes. Jeff straddles the turnbuckles and the referee repremands Triple H for that but Triple H just shoves him down. Triple H goes up and sets up for a superplex … when Matt Hardy runs in and clobbers Triple H with a chair! Triple H is down as Jeff connects with the Swanton Bomb and gets the 1..2..3!!! (8:06) Jeff upsets Triple H and wins his first singles title. Fun main event there with some nice bumping by Jeff and halfway-decent selling by Triple H. Now you’d figure this win would have elevated the Hardys to the next level but … well, you’ll see in the next review. **½

Matt quickly helps Jeff out of the ring with Jeff’s new title in hand and Stephanie is shocked in the back as while Triple H starts throwing a fit as the Hardys look on from the stage. However Tazz feels Jeff may be the champion but in his eyes he’s a dead man as Smackdown goes off the air.

Conclusion: Other than the main event, a pretty forgettable show. Most of the matches weren’t worth your time and the WWF seemed to be in a holding pattern as very little was progressed toward the next pay-per-view. The main event was fine and actually featured a happy ending, which was nice after three shows with downer finishes. Again Jeff’s win over Triple H should have made him and Matt the next big stars and could have even started a program between them and Austin & Triple H leading up to Backlash but again we’ll cover that in the next review. Since you can find the Jeff Hardy/Triple H match on the WWF Action DVD, there’s no real reason to track this show down.

For more reviews visit my archive at: http://kingsrecaps.wordpress.com

The King's Recap: WWF Raw Is War 4.09.2001

WWF RAW IS WAR
Monday, April 9th, 2001

Live from The FleetCenter in Boston, MA

List of WWF Champions at the time:
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Triple H (4/05/2001)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian (4/01/2001)
WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero (4/01/2001)
WWF Hardcore Champion: Kane (4/01/2001)
WWF Women’s Champion: Chyna (4/01/2001)
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Crash Holly (3/18/2001)

~ Raw comes on the air with highlights of the Vince & Linda McMahon saga from December up to tonight’s climax. Yea, this is much more interesting than storylines we actually care about, such as the Steve Austin/Triple H alliance.

~ Next we get footage of Vince meeting with Jim Ross who’s still showing the signs from Thursday’s beatdown. Vince first asks JR what happened to his face before offering to accept partial responsiblity for Austin attacking him. However Vince tells JR they have some things to discuss because he’s not sure JR is in the right frame of mind tonight, feeling he’s going to go to the announce table with any ill thoughts about him or certain other people. Vince asks JR to come with him to his office so they can have a little discussion before he goes to work tonight.

~ We now get the intro and since JR is still meeting with Vince it’s Paul Heyman who welcomes us to the show. Heyman then offers to play JR’s part should he be detained the entire two hours and does an imitation of him.

~ Now Kurt Angle makes his way to the ring since we’re apparently in no hurry to get to the actual wrestling tonight. Angle gets on the mic and talks about being naked in Boston which is a place not known for winning championships. Angle says he’s not like the Red Sox since he’s a champion for life and became King of the Ring in this very arena but unlike Roger Clemens or Bill Parcells he doesn’t want to leave Boston until he has championship gold. Thus Angle makes a challenge for any title holder to give him a title shot tonight. Now who usually responds in this situation? Angle says he won’t fake injuries like Nomar Garciaparra when sure enough here comes….

  • WWF Hardcore Title: Kane © vs. Kurt Angle

Heyman mentions that Angle has won every championship he can think of except for the Hardcore Title, ignoring that he’s never been Tag Team champion or Light Heavyweight Champion either. Angle goes out to meet Kane on the floor but Kane gets in the first shots before tossing him back in the ring. Kane starts to climb through the ropes but Angle knocks him back and Kane’s foot get’s caught in the ropes. Angle goes out and lays the boots to Kane then starts pulling out weapons and throwing them in the ring. Angle climbs on the apron with a trash can in hand but Kane is in the ring and boots the can in Angle’s face. Kane goes after Angle on the floor and drops him onto the barrier then follows up with a suplex onto the floor. Kane whacks Angle with a trash can and throws him back in the ring then presses him up but Angle slips out. Angle takes Kane down and goes right for the Anklelock but Kane is ablt ot turn over and kick Angle away. Angle clocks Kane a trash lid then climbs to the top rope but Kane stops him and throws him off to the mat. Kane readies to finish this when The Big Show runs in with another referee and nails Kane with the Final Cut. Angle covers Kane but Show pulls him off and headbutts him then covers Kane himself but only gets a near fall. Show and Kane exchange shots when Angle clotheslines Kane to turn the tide then helps Show double-team him. Now The Undertaker runs in for the save and fights Angle off then he helps Kane with a double-team on Show. Taker and Kane punch Show back and forth when Angle tries to be a team player but eats a double right hand in response. Angle decides that’s enough of this and flees while Taker and Kane both hit Show with a double chokeslam. Kane covers Show and gets the three to retain. Even though Angle was the actual opponent, but whatever. (3:55) One funny momnet but ultimately pointless. Taker drapes a ‘NO DUMPING ALLOWED’ sign on Show’s carcass while Kane stands tall in the ring. *

~ Backstage we find Vince and Jim Ross sitting in Vince’s office with Vince asking JR if he’s comfortable. Vince says he wants JR to go out and work with a clear conscience so he invited someone to put his mind at ease. On that note Steve Austin bursts in and asks JR if he could sit next to him then complements his pretty cowboy hat. Vince then assures JR that they’re here to entertain him and in a little bit they’re going to watch some movies.

~ Back from break we get a replay of the Kane/Angle match with Kane pinning Big Show with Undertaker’s help. Kevin Kelly then asks Show for his reaction and Show is not happy with Taker sticking his nose in his business. Show demands a one-on-one match with Taker tonight and we’ll find out just who’s yard it really is.

~ Elsewhere we check in on JR as Vince prepares to show him a movie he calls “The Life and Times of Good Ol’ JR.” Vince pops the tape in a VCR and it’s a replay of the JR/Austin interview from Smackdown shown in it’s entirety. Yes, folks, the whole thing. We get some reaction shots from Austin, Vince and JR but it’s pretty much the same thing we saw on Smackdown. They couldn’t have condensed it into a quick recap of anything? Anyway once the tape finishes Vince asks JR if that wasn’t a thumbs up. Austin accuses JR of eyeballing him then says watching the tape made him realize how weak and pathetic he is before he departs from the room. Vince then asks JR if he’s now in the right frame of mind to go out and do his job tonight. JR tells him that he is but also tells Vince that he spoke with his attorney and has a pretty good lawsuit on his hands if he chooses that path. JR then suggests that he could quit the WWF instead and go down to WCW and work for his son Shane tomorrow. Vince starts looking a bit flustered as JR tells him he has a job to do and leaves the room as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get an exterior shot of the building just before JR takes his place at the announce table. Heyman mutters he was doing just fine without JR but once JR is within earshot Heyman acts glad to see him. Funny.

  • Crash & Molly Holly vs. RhynoHandicap Match

Both Holly cousins tasted the Gore over the past week so they’re hoping to get their payback here. Crash starts off against Rhyno and gets in the first shots then quickly rolls him up but only gets a two count. Crash continues his offense and goes for a whip but Rhyno reverses it and plants him with a spinebuster. Molly gets Rhyno’s attention on the apron and slaps his face then Crash rolls him up but only gets a near fall. Rhyno clotheslines Crash then whips him and hits a belly-to-belly suplex for a near fall when Crash fights back. Crash connects with a flying clothesline then goes for a whip when Rhyno reverses it but lowers the head. Crash goes for a Sunset Flip but can’t get Rhyno over then nails him with a crossbody but only gets two. Crash goes for a whip, Rhyno reverses it and Crash floats over him into a waistlock but Rhyno fights him off. Rhyno misses a clothesline but comes back with the Gore and gets another convincing win, with Molly never legally tagging in. (1:29) Pretty much a replay of the previous week. NR

After the bell Molly comes in and jumps on Rhyno’s back trying to get a sleeper on but Rhyno shrugs her off. Rhyno then readies to Gore Molly again when Hardcore Holly runs in the ring and manages to fight Rhyno off.

~ Backstage Vince tell Stephanie how he doesn’t have a good feeling about tonight which he feels is an unusual night. Stephanie tries to assure Vince that everything will work out but Vince tells her that he has to worry about things. Vince and Stephanie then notice the monitor behind as it shows Linda McMahon arriving at the building in a limo. Vince is not happy with this as he tells Stephanie to get him a drink of water and we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Linda is making her way through the building and greets The Acolytes and Chyna along the way.

~ Elswhere Michael Cole interviews Spike Dudley about losing his match to Lita last night on Heat and Spike isn’t afraid to admit his defeat. However the X-Factor guys walk up and make fun of Spike for losing to a woman. Cole suggests they should have the Dudleys here but Spike tells him he can fight his own battles without his brothers. Spike confronts X-Factor then tries to throw coffee but Albert blocks it and tosses Spike through the interview fence. The X-Factor guys have some good yuks at Spike then leave, but not before X-Pac gets in a kick for good measure.

~ Out in the arena JR and Heyman comment on X-Factor’s bullying then talk about the Chris Jericho/William Regal feud as we’re treated to clips from Smackdown of Jericho helping Chris Benoit in the handicap match and his IC Title loss.

~ We then cut to Commissioner William Regal’s office as Johnathan Coachman answers a summons from the commish and Regal expresses his concern for this new Benoit/Jericho alliance. Regal feels that we need to see another classic encounter so he asks Coach to inform Benoit and Jericho that they’re be facing each other tonight and sends him on his way.

  • The Undertaker vs. The Big Show

Show tries to nail Taker as he climbs in but Taker evades it and hammers away at Show in a corner. Taker goes for a whip, Show reverses it and grabs Taker in a bear hug then rams him into the turnbuckles. Show gets in his offense and whips Taker into the other corner but eats a boot. Taker starts fighting back and goes for a whip but Show reverses him into a corner and hits him with an Avalanche. Show connects with several knees to the chest then climbs to the second rope and hits the count-along punches. Show stops to pose but Taker grabs him and powerbombs him off the ropes for the three! (1:33) Show must have done something wrong to job twice in one night to pretty much the same guy. DUD

~ Linda McMahon is shown heading to the ring as we go to commercial. It’s “dysfunctional McMahons” next, people.

~ Back from break the old Wrestlemania theme cues up as Linda McMahon hits the ring ready for her big sgement. Linda gets on the mic and thanks the fans for their reception before saying she has three announcements to make. Linda first mentions that she’s recovered and of sound mind a body so she’s resumed her duties as CEO of the WWF. Linda then says she’s proud of Shane for doing what he needed to at Wrestlemania and wishes him luck with WCW. Linda next mentions she has business with Vince and invites him to the ring since he does everything in public fashion. Vince swaggers out to the ring and is ready for a hug but Linda shakes her head and even declines a handshake as well. Vince then takes the mic and says that he knows why Linda is here…to apologize to him for kicking him below the belt. Vince is ready to accept his wife’s apology but Linda tells him to shut up because she’s doing the talking in the ring. Linda brings up their last public chat back in Decemeber at Madison Square Garden where Vince demanded a divorce. Linda even decides to refresh Vince’s memory and cues the clip up on the TitanTron (as the audience audibly groans).

Vince claims he was just a little angry that night but Linda says he was over the top furious and that broke her heart. Linda adds that also made her ill but not sick enough to be heavily medicated and put in a sanitarium against her will. Linda also mentions Vince didn’t stop there as over the next three months he showed just how sick he truly was. Linda shows more clips showing Vince messing around with Trish, ordering Linda’s medication doubled and so on. Linda then tells Vince that once his Wrestlemania match with Shane arrived, Trish helped her right a lot of the wrongs. Linda gloats that Trish kept the doctors away so she wasn’t so medicated and was able to get in that strategic kick. Linda finally tells Vince that some people may think that she’s gotten enough revenge but she is not one of them. Vince tells Linda he’ll give her what she wants because he’s always sacrificed for them and offers an heartfelt apology. Vince even gets down to one knee and asks Linda for her forgiveness as the crowd is urging her not to fall for this. Linda, however, doesn’t bite as she gets in Vince’s face and tells him she doesn’t want an apology, she wants a divorce! Linda then departs the ring leaving Vince in shock and I guess that’s all we’re getting.Yep, all that hype for a 12-minute talkathon with a minimal payoff.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Linda’s divorce demand to Vince. Don’t know why we need to see it again. We then find Linda heading out to her limo when Lita suddenly comes up and tells her what she just did was inspiring. Linda climbs in the limo just as Vince runs up and begs Linda to roll down her window but the limo drives off instead. Vince next glares back at Lita and mentions her ‘inspiring’ comment before booking her in a match against Stephanie. Vince then decides to have Lita bring the Hardys for a six-person tag against Stephanie, Triple H and Steve Austin! Yes, it is that match, folks.

  • The Dudley Boyz & Spike Dudley vs. X-Factor

X-Pac and friends changed their theme music again adn debut their Uncle Kracker intro, which sucks. The Dudley trio meet their opposition on the floor and duke it out before Bubba tosses Credible in the ring. Bubba whips Credible into a corner and Credible almost flips over the ropes then Bubba hits a Bubbabomb. Spike tags in and whips Credible into a corner and Credible slides to stop himself but Spike chops him down. Albert grabs Spike and holds him as Credible moves in but Spike escapes and Credible takes the shot instead. Spike knocks Credible and X-Pac’s heads together then climbs to the top and dives off but Albert catches him. Albert rams Spike into the ringpost then tosses him in the ring and X-Pac gets the tag and takes over on him. X-Pac applies a chokehold then Spike tries to fight bakc but X-Pac quickly stops that with the spinkick. X-Pac shoulderblocks Spike in his corner then tags Credible and whips Spike but Spike hits a double facejam. Spike makes the tag to D’von and D’Von takes it to both guys then whips Credible and hits a powerslam. D’Von covers Credible but X-Pac saves it so Bubba tosses him through the ropes and goes out after him. D’Von pounds Credible when Albert goes for the Avalanhce but D’Von dodges and Credible gets splashed. Both Dudleys clothesline Albert over the ropes then hit Credible with a 3D and D’Von grabs the pin. (2:38) Not a bad match but way too short.

The Dudleys decide they’re not finished yet as Bubba sets X-Pac up while D’Von climbs to the top rope and hits the “Wassup” headbutt. Bubba has D’Von fetch a table but after D’Von brings it in Albert clotheslines both Dudleys. Spike is back in but Albert easily presses him up and just chucks him over the ropes and out to the floor. The Dudleys clothesline Albert over the ropes then set their table up and whip X-Pac looking for a 3D. However Credible pulls X-Pac out to safety while Albert is in and Baldobombs Bubba through the table.

~ Backstage The Helmsleys try to speak with Vince who’s hurriedly packing his gear to leave and go after Linda. Triple H and Stephanie aren’t sure about the six-person tag tonight but Vince demands that they not be so selfish. Vince says he has some family problems to straighten out so he wants them to just go to work as he heads out.

~ Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit are shown heading to the ring for their ‘next classic encounter’ as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Matt Hardy grills Lita about how they got in this mess while Jeff Hardy looks on from nearby. Matt isn’t happy about this but Jeff feels this is a big oppertunity for them coming off their win over The Big Show. Jeff also feels they have the advantage since Austin and Triple H aren’t as tight of a tag team as they are.

  • Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho

We have Benoit and Jericho in the ring yet there’s no referee so I bet we can all smell a screwjob in the works. And sure enough here comes William Regal in a striped shirt announcing that he’s appointed himself referee. Benoit and Jericho lockup to start and end up in a corner when Regal forces a break and urges them to go at it. Benoit takes control with knees to the chest and whips Jericho but Jericho comes back with a flying forearm. Jericho gets in some kicks until Benoit hits a Dragon legwhip then whips him into a corner but eats a boot. Jericho comes out but Benoit trips him with a drop toehold then goes for the Crossface but Jericho escapes it. We then have a stalemate as Regal demands both men fight so Jericho pounds on Benoit and goes for a whip. Benoit reverses it and Jericho rolls him up when Benoit tries to roll into the Crossface but Jericho rolls out of it. Jericho takes Benoit down and goes for the Walls of Jericho but Benoit grabs the ropes and Regal pulls him off. Jericho catches Benoit with a double-under backbreaker and covers him but Regal makes a slow two count. Jericho starts arguing with Regal when Benoit nails him from behind then whips him and hits a German suplex. Benoit covers Jericho but Regal is too busy waving to the fans to count and now Benoit has words with him. Jerihco nails Benoit from behind and goes for a whip when Benoit reverses him into a corner but eats an elbow. Jericho hops to the middle rope and goes for a missile dropkick but Benoit pulls Regal in the way and he gets hit. Jericho nails Benoit with a forearm when Regal nails both men with forearm and reminds them he’s in charge. Jericho and Benoit have finally had enough of this and gang up on Regal then Benoit caps it off with a suplex. Jericho nails Regal with the Lionsault while Benoit climbs to the top rope and connects with the diving headbutt. Jericho puts Regal in the Walls of Jericho and Benoit adds in the Crossface and Regal starts tapping like mad. A number of referees come in to break it up and the bell rings so I guess that’s the match. (3:50) Benoit and Jericho then give each other the uneasy look again, perhaps still unsure of this budding alliance. Not much I can say here other than those expecting another Benoit/Jericho classice will be let down. NR

~ Back from break JR shills the XFL Playoffs this weekend while Heyman looks bored out of his mind. For those who care, this Saturday night will see the San Francisco Demon take on the Orlando Rage on NBC while the Sunday afternoon game the Chicago Enforcers take on the Los Angeles Xtreme on UPN. The two winners will advance to next week’s Million Dollar Championship game and we’ll finally be done with this.

~ Next we get footage of The Right To Censor meeting with Raven backstage and trying to bring him into the fold. Steven Richards tells Raven that the wrond has crept into his soul and corrupted it and that they can change that. Val Venis adds they have meaning in their lives because what they believe in is true and they want to share it with him. Raven says fate brought them to him, destiny will be him exposing their hypocracy and pain will be their pennance. Val responds by warning Raven that if he’s not with them, he’s against them and that’s not a place he wants to be in. Raven says the only place he doesn’t want to be in is trapped in their belief system then walks off.

~ We then cut over to WWF New York and find Edge & Christian celebrating their 7th Tag Team Championship win. But first we get a replay of E&C’s pal Rhyno crushing Crash in the Handicap match and Hardcore Holly saving Molly. JR gets comments from E&C with Edge calling it B-R-utal how the Hollys can act tough when the odds are 3-to-1. Edge decides to see how the Hollys handle the odds being even and offers them a tag team title shot on Smackdown. Christian then shows off their seven sodas (because sodas rule) and a seven-layer cake sporting their picture on it. E&C then cap this segment off by unveiling a special seven-second pose for those with flash photography.

~ Back at the arena Triple H and Austin are having a strategy session when Stephanie asks to be included in it. Instead Austin says they’re done and walks off while Triple H tells Stephanie that this is going to be good.

  • Raven vs. Val Venis

Okay, why are they having this match go on so late in the show? And right before the main event as well? Val pounces on Rave as he slides in and goes for a whip but Raven revrses it and connects with a clothesline. Raven follows it up with a kneelift then whips Val into a corner and hits a clothesline and a running bulldog. Raven goes for a whip and drills Val with a DDT then covers him but Richards pulls Raven out to the floor. Richards tries to Stevenkick Raven but Raven blocks it and DDTs him into the floor then rolls back in the ring. Raven covers Val again but Bull Buchanan pulls the referee out while Goodfather goes in and attacks Raven. Goodfather whips Raven into a corner and hits the Ho Train then Val covers Raven … but only gets a two count. Val hits a Fisherman’s suplex for a near fall so Goodfather distracts the referee while Buchanan hits an axe kick. Val then climbs to the top rope and connects with the Moneyshot on Raven and grabs the cheap pin. (1:44) Why did Val get to go voer Raven? Actually the question is what was the point of this match anyway? DUD

~ Team Xtreme and Austin & The Helmsleys are both shown heading to the ring as we go to commercial.

  • Steve Austin, Triple H & Stephanie McMahon vs. The Hardy Boyz & LitaIntergender Match

Interesting moment as the crowd pops for Austin’s intro before remembering they’re not suppsoed to cheer him anymore. The men duke it out to start us off and Lita cheers the Hardys on until Stephanie knocks her through the ropes. The Hardys start fight back and Matt pops Austin through the ropes while Jeff dropkicks Triple H out as well. Triple H is back in and pounds away on Matt in a corner but Matt fights out and caps off with a discus punch. Jeff tags in and helps Matt whips Triple H into a corner then Matt drops down and Jeff hits Poetry in Motion. Austin is in but Matt whips him into a corner then drops down again and Jeff hits Poetry in Motion on Austin. Matt clotheslines Austin over the ropes while Jeff clibs to the top and hits Triple H with a corkscrew moonsault! Jeff covers Triple H when Ausitn pulls him out to the floor but Jeff decks him then shoulderblocks Triple H. Jeff slings himself over the ropes and tries to get Triple H in a Sunset Flip but Triple H is able to stay on his feet. So Matt comes in and clotheslines Triple H down to complete the Sunset Flip but Jeff only gets a two count.

Matt tags in and whips Triple H but lowers the head and Triple H hits the facebuster then tags in Austin. Matt rams Austin into the buckles repeatedly and stomps him down but Austin jabs the eyes to take control. Austin slaps on a sleeper but Matt counters with a suplex then hops to the middle rope and hits the guilltoine. Jeff tags in and goes for a whip but Austin reverses it and hits a spinesbuter then stomps him below the belt. Austin hammers Jeff with several rights then tags Triple H and chokes Jeff while Triple H stomps away at him. Jeff tries to fight back but Triple H trips him with a drop toehold then Austin tags in and hits an elbowdrop. Austin chokes Jeff and snapmares him then kneedrops his face and stands on his hair while pulling the arm. Triple tags in and hits a knee to the chest and Jeff tries to crawl toward his corner but Triple H cuts him off. Jeff comes back with an enzuigir and goes for his corner again but Austin gets his tag and pulls Jeff away. Jeff manages to kick Austin away and Triple H tries to stop the tag but Jeff lunges forward and tags in Matt. Matt climbs to the top rope and connects with a flying clothesline on Austin and Triple H then wails on Austin. Matt goes for a whip but Ausitn tosses him over the ropes then goes out and rams him into the announce table. Jeff flies onto Triple H while in the ring Lita brings Stephanie in and takes her out with the Twist of Fate. Lita climbs to the top rope and connects with a moonsault on Stephanie then gets the three count! (7:00) Some good stuff there but the finish was weak since neither woman was legal or barely involved in the match for that matter; one of the Hardys should have gotten the pin over Austin or Triple H. **½

In fact all people really remember is the postmatch. Triple H isn’t happy with this and gets in Lita’s face while Austin comes up from behind with a chair in hand. Lita turns around to see Austin with the chair and stares at him but that allows Triple H to nail her from behind. Triple H stomps away at Lita and drills her with the Pedigree when Matt comes back in and spears Triple H. Jeff also comes in but Austin whacks him with the chair then whacks Matt and works him over with the chair. Lita throws herself over Matt’s body begging Austin to stop … but Austin starts attacking Lita with the chair!! Austin just brutalizes Lita with the chair and never mind what I sad about JR’s beating on Smackdown, this was much mroe uncomfortable and really showed how low the bookers were willing to go to get heat on Austin. Triple H hits Jeff with the Pedigree then pulls Lita up and Austin flips her off and finishes her with the Stunner. The Hardys should have gotten the win and celebrated, end of show with no beatdown. Instead this was bringing back memories of Monday Nitro constanly ending with a big nWo beatdown every week, even when the babyfaces won.

Conclusion: A very weak edition of Raw this time around which seemed to just go through the motions, not to mention being the third show with a dispiriting ending. The matches weren’t worth your time other than the solid main event and way too much time was dedicated to the Vince/Linda segment as well as replaying the entire JR/Austin interview from Smackdown. This is when the WWF should have been planting the seeds for Backlash but so far not much has been sprouting. And again the beatdown at the end was way over the top and unnecessary but the bookers were just so determined to get the fans to boo Austin, instead of setting up the next major babyface(s) to challenge him and Triple H. A very big thumbs down this time around.

For more reviews visit my archive at: http://kingsrecaps.wordpress.com

The King's Recap: WWF Smackdown 4.05.2001

WWF SMACKDOWN
Thursday, April 5th, 2001

Taped (4/4) from the Marriot Convention Center in Oklahoma City, OK

List of WWF Champions at the time:
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho (1/21/2001)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian (4/01/2001)
WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero (4/01/2001)
WWF Hardcore Champion: Kane (4/01/2001)
WWF Women’s Champion: Chyna (4/01/2001)
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Crash Holly (3/18/2001)

~ Smackdown comes on the air and goes right to the intro with Michael Cole and Tazz welcoming us to the show. Tonight Jim Ross has a special interview with Steve Austin and maybe we’ll finally gets some answers for his actions. Also tonight Triple H challenges Chris Jericho for the Intercontinential Championship, which I have a bad feeling about.

  • The Undertaker & Kane vs. Steven Richards, Bull Buchanan & The Goofather3-on-2 Handicap Match

This resulted from Kane retaining his Hardcore Title against fellow RTC’er Val Venis on Raw and Taker saving him from a mugging. Richards gets on the mic and rants on how the RTC can’t allow the media to desensitize our youth to violence just like they can’t allow the fans to make heroes out of villians and promises to put an end to them. Buchanan and Goodfather rush the ring but Taker and Kane get the advantage and toss them over the ropes. Taker then goes out after Richards on the floor and throws him in the ring where Kane grabs him by the throat. Buchanan breaks up the chokeslam and pounds Kane then goes for a whip but Kane counters with a clothesline. Kane pummels Buchanan then whips him into the a corner and clotheslines him beofre hitting a sidewalk slam. Kane climbs to the top rope and connects with the flying clothesline then covers him but Goodfather saves it. Taker tags in to take over and goes for a whip, Buchanan reverses it but Taker comes back with a clothesline. Taker grabs Buchanan’s arm and walks the top rope then clubs him in the back and hits a Russian legsweep. Goodfather comes in again and Taker hammers away at him but the RTC’ers double-team Taker in their corner. Richards tags in just as Taker fights out of the corner and Richards backs away but eats a pair of hard rights. Taker whips Richards into a corner and plants him with a powerslam then covers but Goodfather saves it again. Everyone is in now as Kane and Buchanan go at it in a corner while Goodfather gets in his offense on Taker. Taker grabs Goodfather by the throat as Kane does the same to Buchanan and they hit simultaneous chokeslams. Richards nails Kane with the Stevenkick … but Kane no-sells it and nails Richards with a big boot. Taker then takes Richards out with the Last Ride for good measure and scores the pin. (4:18) The RTC pretty much got dismantled there, which would makr the beginning of the end of that stable. *

~ Backstage Vince McMahon gives Undertaker and Kane props while Triple H and Steve Austin seem unimpressed. Triple H admits Chris Jericho has some good qualities but he’s going to beat him up and take his title out of prinicple. Vince next asks Austin about being interviewed by his best friend Jim Ross in the ring in front of JR’s hometown and Austin says he hasn’t had a good heart-to-heart talk with JR in some time so he’s really looking forward to it. Vince then says he has to go out and address an arena of Oklahomans (oh joy!) and departs as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Vince struts his way to the ring because he just has to get in his long-winded promo as usual. Vince gets on the mic and starts off saying he’s been to all fifty states but being in Oklahoma is like being in Zimbabwe because he’s seen the vacant stares of Oklahomans and it’s the same look from Zimbabwe natives. Vince also figures the founders named both the city and the state the same due to the people’s limited mental facilities. Vince next mentions Richard Nixon is no longer the U.S. President just as The Rock is no longer the WWF Champion. Vince mentions what a moment it was seeing Steve Austin beat Rock into oblivion at Wrestlemania and taking his title and that Rock was flat on his back after being pinned 1-2-3 when he saw himself and Austin shaking hands. Vince also says he was prouder the next night when Austin granted Rock his rematch in a cage when he didn’t have to. Vince says Rock was broken by Austin again and this time he saw himself, Austin and Triple H all standing together. Vince says people have wondered why and may just get their answers as Oklahoma’s own JR interviwes Austin later. Vince then reviews the closing moments of the match and how Rock seemed to have no hope as Austin brutalized him. Vince also shows Triple H coming out and how everyone though he was going to help Rock only to show otherwise. Vince then asks fans if expect Rock to come out and get some retribution before saying he won’t even be here tonight, because if Rock showed up Austin and Triple H would destroy him again and do it again night after night. Vince announces that to prevent that in an act of benevolence he has suspend Rock from WWF action indefinitely! Vince claims he did that in the interest of fairness then wraps things up and heads out after 10 minutes.

~ We then get a shot of JR watching this on a monitor and shaking his head as we go to commercial.

~ Back form break Cole and Tazz talk about five new champions being crowned at Wrestlemania as we get stills. Cole and Tazz especially touch on Chyna returning from her neck injury and destroying Ivory for the Women’s Title. Just in case we cared.

~ Speaking of which Johnathan Coachman interviews the new Women’s Champion about her crowning acheivement. Chyna talks on the inspiring example she set for women as well as for men, that you have to be your own person. Chyna says she fought for who she is and for what she belives in and that she is proud to be Women’s Champion.

~ We next get footage of William Regal meeting with the Hardys and puts over their performance at Wrestlemania. Regal then mentions them meeting Shane on Smackdown, warning then against associating with a rival organization. As a result Regal decides to have Jeff compete in singles action tonight … against The Big Show.

~ Backstage Lillian Garcia interviews Jim Ross about what he’s going to ask Steve Austin in the big interview later. JR says the fans deserve some answers after what happened Sunday so he’s going to be asking some tough questions.

~ Back from break William Regal meets with Kurt Angle about their handicap match with Chris Benoit tonight. Angle thanks Regal for the match tonight before asking that he finish Benoit off by putting him in the Anklelock. Regal feels his Regal Stretch could get the job done as well and Angle chuckles, until he realizes Regal was serious.

  • Rhyno vs. K-Kwik

That sure was a lot of non-wrestling segments just to get to this bout. Rhyno pounds K-Kwik to start then whips him into a corner and shoulderblocks him and hits a running boot. Rhyno continues his assault on K-Kwik then whips him when K-Kwik comes back with a Memphis Sidekick. K-Kwik gets in his offense goes for a whip, Rhyno reverses but K-Kwik hits him with a flying headscissors thenkips back up and does a spilt. K-Kwik goes for a whip when Rhyno reverses him into a corner. K-Kwik lifts himself over Rhyno and does some backflips but Rhyno stops that with the Gore and it’s over. (1:26) The age-old method of getting someone over: have him destroy jobbers quickly. NR

Rhyno celebrates as he heads up the ramp when Crash punks Rhyno out from behind and rolls him in the ring. Crash goes for a whip but Rhyno reverses and takes Crash out with the Gore for the second time this week.

~ Kurt Angle and William Regal are shown making their way to the ring as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Crash trying to get a piece of Rhyno with the results not ending in his favor. We then get ‘during the break’ footage of Edge and Christian congradulating Rhyno for the destruction job he did. Christian suggests Rhyno shower so they can grab a bite but Rhyno is ready to head out now and offers to drive.

  • Chris Benoit vs. William Regal & Kurt AngleHandicap Match

Angle and Regal battled Chris Jericho in a handicap match on Raw with Chirsn BEnoit getting involved, so it’s Benoit’s turn tonight. Benoit goes right after Angle to start but Regal pounces on him then whips him and connects with an elbow. Angle grabs Benoit with a waistlock but Benoit kicks him below the belt then goes for the Crossface on Regal. Angle breaks it up and goes for a whip but Benoit German suplexes him then hits Regal with a German as well. Benoit plants Angle with another German suplex then does the same to Regal and gets both men a third time. The crowd actually cheers for Benoit as he fights off Regal then throws Angle shoulder-first into the ringpost. Benoit then goes to whip Regal who counters it but Benoit counters back and plants him with a Dragon suplex. Benoit slaps the Crossface on Regal but breaks it when Angle flies in to save it and puts him in the Crossface! Regal makes the save and hits a European uppercut that knocks Benoit right into a German suplex from Angle. Regal hits a butterfly suplex and Angle follows it up with a suplex then helps Regal lay the boots to Benoit. Angle and Regal whip Benoit but Benoit ducks a doubel clothesline and nails Regal with another German suplex. Angle comes back with a belly-to-belly suplex then celebrates allowing Regal to put Benoit in the Regal Stretch. Agle adds in the Anklelock and Benoit is forced to tap out to both submission holds. (2:59) Pretty good stuff for a three-minute bout and it got the ball rolling on Benoit’s face turn. **

Regal releases his hold but Angle won’t let go of the Anklelock and Regal is in no hurry to break it up. A bunch of referees come in but can’t get Angle to let go of Benoit and again Regal just shurgs his shoulders. But as expected Chris Jericho runs in and stomps Angle out to the floor then shares another glance with Benoit.

~ Backstage Vince meets with JR about how meeting with Steve Austin will be biggest interview he’ll ever have. Vince tells JR not to be nervous and just be himself, all while daring him to ask Austin “the tough questions”.

~ Back from break Kevin Kelly interviews Debra on Steve Austin destroying Rock and asks if she has any sympathy for Rock, since she is Rock’s former manager. Debra says what happened was unfair and uncalled for and Kevin feels that means Debra must disapprove of her husband’s actions but Debra refuses to discuss her personal life. Kevin then asks Debra how she views Austin profesonally but Debra refuses to answer that as well and walks off.

  • The Big Show vs. Jeff Hardy (w/Matt Hardy & Lita)

Jeff slides under Show in the ring and comes off the ropes but Show presses him up before dropping him. Show whips Jeff hard into a corner and headbutts him then hits some elbows and caps it off with a chokebomb. Show hits another headbutt then whips Jeff but Jeff hits a dropkick that staggers Show but he doesn’t go down. Jeff comes off the ropes again but Show plants him with a belly-to-belly suplex then decks Matt off the apron. Show goes out and press slams Matt on the barricaide then turns toward Lita and chases her in the ring. Lita slips out to the floor as the referee warns Show to worry about his opponent but Show shoves him aside. Lita climbs to the top rope and leaps off but Show catches her in a choke and looks ready to chokeslam her. Jeff nails Show to save Lita but Show slams Jeff then climbs to the top rope and goes for a senton but misses. Lita comes to the top rope and hits a moonsault while Matt also climbs to the top and hits a guillotine legdrop. Jeff goes to the top and hits the Swanton Bomb and all three pile on Show as the referee quick counts the pin! (3:08) The Hardys, Lita and the referee then flee up the ramp while Show chases after them to the back. Definitely a weird match, one I can’t rate. NR

~ Back from break we get a replay of Jeff Hardy getting an upset win over Big Show with Matt and Lita helping out. We then find Show roaming the backstage area searching for the Hardys when he comes across a room and barges in. However Show finds The Undertaker and Kane instead as they work him over before telling him to knock next time.

  • X-Factor vs. Grandmaster Sexay, Steve Blackman & Billy Gunn

X-Pac stole a win over Billy on Raw with the help of his pas so here’s Billy’s chance at payback. Don’t know why he recruited thses guys, though. Billy and his partners go at it with X-Factor to start off and quickly clear Credible and X-Pac from the ring. Billy and Blackman suplex Albert up while Sexay cilmbs to the top rope and adds in a flying crossbody. Albert rolls out to the floor as well and X-Pac’s crew try to regroup when Sexay brings X-Pac in the hard way. Sexay goes for a whip when X-Pac reverses it, Sexay slides under him and hits an enzuigiri but misses a fistdrop. Credible tags in but Sexay greets him with a neckbreaker then tags in Blackman who whips him and drops him. Blackman whips Credible and hits a shouldertackle then does a one-arm pushup and gets in a shot on X-Pac. Blackman goes to kick Albert but Albert catches it allowing X-Pac to nail him with a spinning heelkick. X-Pac draws Billy in to distract the referee but Sexay comes in and knocks Albert and X-Pac’s heads together. Sexay goes out to the apron and dives at Albert but Albert catches him and rams him back-first into the post. Back in the ring X-Pac hammers away on Blackman and hits a legdrop then tags Credible in to take over on him. Albert tags in and whips Blackman looking for a hiptoss but Blackman lands on his feet and kicks away at him. Albert comes back with a bodyblock then whips Blackman into a corner and connects with the Avalanche. Albert slingshots Blackman into the middle rope then tags X-Pac in and X-Pac gets in some quick shots. Credible tags in and helps X-Pac whips Blackman but Blackman ducks a clothesline and dropkicks both men. Billy gets the tag and takes to all three opponents then whips X-Pac and plants him with a tilt-o-whirl slam. Credible nails Billy from behind and goes for a whip but Billy reverses and nails him with The One And Only. Albert comes in and Billy clotheslines him over the ropes but X-Pac clotheslines Billy over the ropes in return. Blackman pulls X-Pac out to the floor while Sexay climbs to the top and nails Credible with the Hip Hop Drop. Billy comes back in the ring and covers Credible since he’s the legal man but Albert makes it back in to save it. Blackman fights off Albert but X-Pac drills Billy with the X-Factor then drapes Credible on top for the pin. (4:51) About what you’d expect from the guys involved. *

~ Backstage Chris Jericho is limbering up for his title defense when Stephanie comes in and wishes him luck. Stephanie tells Jericho she’s not petty enough to want revenge for him ruining her whipping match with Trish on Raw. Stephanie says Triple H will get her payback for her by beating Jericho to within an inch of his life and taking his title. Jericho then warns Stephanie not to interefere in his match or he’ll make her scream louder that her husband ever has.

~ Back from break Vince tells Austin how JR is shaking in his boots which means he’s either excited or intimidated. Vince asks Austin to make JR’s homecoming special and Austin calls JR a special person so he’ll get special answers. Austin then heads out when Stephanie comes in claiming to have just received a videotape from Linda McMahon but feels Vince shouldn’t watch it with the good night he’s having. Vince insists that she play the tape for him and once it starts Linda appears on the screen showing that’s she’s no longer medicated, just like at Wrestlemania. Linda says she’s regained her full mental faulties and as a result is back into her normal position as CEO of the WWF. Linda says she’s still using the name McMahon but after everything Vince has done to her, she’s considering a change. Linda also puts Shane over for standing up for what he believes in and facing Vince, as difficult as it may have been. Linda talks about how good it felt at Wrestlemania when she rose from the chair and kicked Vince right in the junk but knows how to kick Vince where it really hurt and will appear on Raw to reveal where that place just is. Linda then has one more message for Vince as Mick Foley appears and hands her a plate with a pair of grapefruits. Linda says Vince always lets his actions speak louder than words then grabs a knife and slices the grapefruits in half. Linda finishes by telling Vince she’ll see him on Monday and Vince isn’t happy with this news.

~ Jim Ross is shown making his way to the ring which means the big interview is coming up as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break JR hits the ring as Cole mentions how depressed JR has been abotu this whole Austin situation. JR gets on the mic and talks about being back in is hometown then mentions his oppertunity to speak with Austin. JR feels there’s a not of questions that need answering by Ausitn then proceeds to bring out the new champion himself. Austin does his usualy posing on the turnbkles while glaring at JR and does get some boos as well as “Rocky” chants. JR starts off by asking Austin why he would align himself with the man he despises more than anyone in the world. Austin says Wrestlemania was right in his backyard of Houston and he didn’t want to take a chance at being a loser so Vince was an insurance policy which helped him make the biggest comeback in the history of thier business. JR then asks about turning his back on the fans that supported him and Austin mentions the reception he’s getting now. Austin says he feels no remores because he never really said that he cared about the fans and wanted to be their hero. Austin then brings up JR constantly cheering for him at the annouce desk before mentioning how he always says DTA. JR next asks Austin how he could stand with Triple H after he orchestrated the conspiracy to run him over with a car. Austin responds by first accusing JR of talking trash about Triple H because he’s not out there to defend himself. Austin then says if Triple H was sick enough to try and put him out of the business, wouldn’t he want him on his side? Austin decides that he’s done answering questions and if anyone wants more answers they’ll have to beat it out of him. Austin then makes fun of JR looking like he just lost his best friend and JR says that in a way, maybe he has.

JR goes into how he was there when Austin underwent spinal surgery last year and supported him through his recovery. JR also mentions how he and his wife were the only two people from the WWF invited to Austin’s wedding with Debra. Austin then accuses JR of not wanting to be his friend anymore just because he turned up the voltage and JR denies it. Austin knocks JR’s cowboy hat off and takes off his glasses then rips his shirt while daring JR to take a swing at him. JR declines to hit Austin then feels this interview was a mistake and starts to leave when Austin jump him from behind. Austin pounds away on JR when Vince comes out on the stage asking why Austin is taking it easy on his best friend. Vince tells Austin to open JR up and Austin brutalizes his former friend who’s soon bleeding from the forehead. Austin pulls off his belt and chokes JR as some referees come out but are to afriad to go in the ring and stop Austin. Austin stomps JR below the belt as the fans chant “Rocky” but The Rock isn’t coming out to the save the day tonight. Austin rubs his title belt in JR’s face then heads up the ramp with a smile on his face as we go to commercial.

Let’s look at this for a second. Austin did make a good point in saying he never asked to be the fans hero, they just started cheering him, even long before the famous match at Wrestlemania 13. However his explanation for suddenly being buddies with Triple H still doesn’t hold water, not after their blood feud just a few months prior. And Austin giving JR a Stunner would have been sufficient but they had to have JR get totally destroyed, which was very uncomfortable and showed how desparate the WWF was to get people to stop cheering Austin.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Steve Austin severing his friendship with JR with a savage beatdown. We then get a shot of the EMTs working on the bloodied JR in the back.

  • WWF Intercontinential Title: Chris Jericho © vs. Triple H (w/Stephanie McMahon)

Suppsoedly Triple H is doing this because Jericho ruined Stephanie’s whipping match with trish on Raw. Yea, let’s make everything about Stephanie, shall we? Triple H heads out to the ring first then knocks Jericho off the apron, sending him face-first into the barricade. Triple H goes out and throws Jericho into the steps then drops him onto the barrier and tosses him in the ring. Triple H stomps Jericho down then whips him into the other corner but Jericho comes back with a clothesline. Jericho gets in his offense with some chops then whips Triple H but lowers the head and Triple H kicks the face. Jericho backdrops Triple H over the ropes then knocks him back off the apron with the springboard dropkick. Jericho climbs to the top rope and connects with a flying crossbody before whipping Triple H into the steps. Jericho decks Triple H onto the announce table and works him over until Triple H shoves him off the table. Jericho throws Triple H back in the ring then climbs to the top rope again looking for a missile dropkick. This time Triple H swats Jericho away and Jericho clutches his knee when Triple H chokes him in the ropes. Triple H distracts the referee while Stpehanie gets in a slap then drills Jericho with a DDT and gets a two count. Triple H hammers Jericho with the count-along punches in a corner then whips him and slaps on a sleeperhold. Jeircho begins to fade but fights out of it and starts to rally until Triple stops that with a knee to the chest. Triple H whips Jericho but Jericho comes back with a flying forearm then tries to fight back again with chops. Jericho whips Triple H but lowers the head and Triple H hits the facebuster. Triple H sets Jericho up for the Pedigree but Jericho counters it and catapults Triple H into the turnbuckles then hits the bulldog and the Lionsault. Jericho covers Triple H but Stephanie hops on the apron and distracts the referee from making the count.

Jericho goes over and grabs Stephanie by the hair then rears back as if to punch her but Triple H pulls him away. Jericho takes Triple H down into the Walls of Jericho and Triple H taps but again Stephanie distracts the referee. Now William Regal runs in with a chair in hand but Jericho cuts him off then grabs the chair and blasts Regal. Stephanie comes in but Jericho blocks a slap then pulls Stephanie down and puts her in the Walls of Jericho. Stephanie is tapping out to no avail but Triple H is able to grab the chair and whacks Jericho in the face with it. The referee gets Regal out of the ring then turns around as Triple H covers Jericho … but only gets a two count. Triple H is surprised that Jericho kicked out of the chairshot and crowd is cheering for Jericho to come back. However Triple H squashes that brief ray of hope with the Pedigree and sadly gets the 1..2..3 for the win. (7:30) The Helmsleys celebrate while we see Austin watching a monitor in the back looking pleased with this turnout. The match was good with an overbooked ending but there was NO REASON for Triple H to get the IC Title here. This could have been a chance to establish Jericho as the next major challenger Austin needed but they wanted to keep him feuding with Regal instead. Not to mention the ending slighty buried Jericho, with him kicking out of the chairshot only to lose to the Pedigree mere seconds later. **

Conclusion:Somewhat weak episode of Smackdown which continued the WWF’s post-Wrestlemania X7 slide that it never recovered from. The Wrestleing wasn’t very much to look at other than the handicap match and there were long stretches of backstage segments and promos. The last half-hour was a real downer, with JR’s graphic beatdown and Triple H taking a title he had no business of winning at that point. And we’re still left without a major babyface to challenge Austin since Rock is “indefinitely suspended” (i.e. off in Hollywood) and they feel like Jericho would fit the bill. It was obvious the Austin heel turn was poorly planned from the start and wouldn’t get any better. There’s really nothing to recommend here so thumbs down.

For more reviews visit my archive at: http://kingsrecaps.wordpress.com

The King's Recap: WWF Raw Is War 4.02.2001

WWF RAW IS WAR
Monday, April 2nd, 2001

Live from Fort Worth, TX
List of WWF Champions at the time:
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho (1/21/2001)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian (4/01/2001)
WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero (4/01/2001)
WWF Hardcore Champion: Kane (4/01/2001)
WWF Women’s Champion: Chyna (4/01/2001)
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Crash Holly (3/18/2001)

~ Raw comes on the air and goes right to the intro with Jim Ross and Paul Heyman welcoming us to the show. Wrestlemania was last night and ended with Stone Cold Steve Austin winning the WWF Championship but joining forces with Vince McMahon. JR is still crying about Steve Austin selling out and hopes we get some answers tonight.

~ So not surprisingly it’s Stephanie McMahon who comes out to the ring with a leather strap in hand for our opening promo. Stpehanie gets on the mic and rants about Trish slapping her father (Vince) in the face after all that he’s done for her then says she’s going to get some payback because she’s been granted a “whipping” match with Trish tonight. Stephanie then says tonight isn’t about Trish as she introduces “the most important man in sports-entertainment”, Vince. Vince comes out carrying a gift box and hugs Stephanie before she heads to the back leaving Vince to do his thing. Vince takes the mic and asks for some respect then feels people are asking why he’s so happy after losing last night. Vince says he’s happy because he gets to hand the WWF Championship belt over to Steve Austin once he arrives. Vince admits Trish slapped him in the face, his wife Linda got out of her wheelchair and kicked him below the belt, Mick Foley hammered him “without provication” and Shane dropkicked a trash can into his head. Vince feels maybe he shouldn’t be smiling but ‘all’s well that ends well’ and that Wrestlemania ended just fine for him. Vince says he promised something shocking at the show and standing united with Austin over The Rock fit the bill. Vince then leaves the ring and gets in JR’s face about calling Austin a “S.O.B.” who “sold his soul to the devil” himself before forcing JR to own up to it and saying he’s not the devil, though they have a lot in common. Vince also claims once Austin got his hand raised there was a temondous outpouring of support from the Texas fans. Vince then says that someone in Texas got him a gift then opens the gift wrapped box to reveal a white cowboy hat. Vince slips the hat on and does a stereotypical cowboy act then shows what he thinks of Texas by stomping the hat.

Finally The Rock makes his way out to the stage and doesn’t look too happy at being cheated out of the title last night. Rock gets on the mic and demands that Vince grant him a WWF Title rematch with Austin tonight “right here in Texas”. Vince responds by saying Austin isn’t here yet and that the match isn’t going to happen even with Rock’s fan support. Rock decides to change Vince’s mind and climbs in the ring before giving Vince one last chance to book the match. Vince refuses and warn Rocks not to touch him when Rock drops him with a right and puts him in the Sharpshooter! Vince is screaming in pain and slapping the mat but eventually caves in and grants Rock his title rematch for tonight! Rock starts to leave when Vince tells him that he does have his rematch, only it’s going to be held inside a steel cage. Yep, folks, a rematch of the Wrestlemania main event just one day later, and a cage match to boot.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Rock forcing Vince to grant him a rematch for the title tonight. Which begs the question of why are they still bothering with these replays? It’s not like there’s another wrestling show on Mondays anymore.

~ Out in the arena newly crowned European champ Eddie Guerrero leads his crew to the ring for a six-man tag. Test makes his way out next when Eddie gets on the mic and brags about Test missing the European Championship and also claims Test is missing a couple of partners to help him compete tonight. But right on cue out comes…

  • Test & The Acolytes vs. Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko & Perry Saturn (w/Terri Runnels)

Malenko and Saturn helped Eddie beat Test for the title last night so here’s his shot for a measure of revenge. Bradshaw and Faarooq duke it out with Saturn and Malenko while Test goes after Eddie who bails to the floor. Bradshaw whips Malenko and hits a shoulderblock then helps Faarooq plant Saturn with a double neckbreaker. Things settle down to Faaqoor and Saturn in the ring and Faarooq goes for a whip but Saturn hits a flapjack. Saturn gets in his shots then comes off the ropes but Faarooq comes back with a powerslam then tags Bradshaw. Bradshaw whips Saturn but Saturn hits a neckbreaker then tags Malenko but Malenko runs into a shoulderblock. Bradshaw fallaway slams Malenko when Eddie climbs to the top rope and leaps off but Bradshaw catches him and Bradshaw hits another fallaway slam. Saturn comes in and nails Bradshaw then hits an exploder suplex. Eddie and Malenko double-team Bradshaw while the referee keeps both Faarooq and Test from coming in. Eddie chokes Bradshaw before tagging Malenko in and Malenko whips Bradshaw and hits a spinning heel kick. Saturn tags back in and works Bradshaw over when Bradshaw fights back but Saturn stops that with a knee. Saturn whips Bradshaw into a corner but Bradshaw comes out with a shoulderblock and crawls to his corner. Saturn somersaults over Bradshaw to tag in Eddie but Test also gets the tag and Eddie backs away from him. Eddie tries offering a hand but Test slaps it away then pulls him down by the hair and hits a pair of clotheslines. Test whips Eddie and drops him onto the top buckle with the Snake Eyes then hits a gutwrench powerbomb. Test covers Eddie when Malenko makes the save then comes off the ropes but runs into a tilt-o-whirl slam. Saturn comes in and suplexes Test then hits the three-fingered grendunza and covers him but Faarooq saves it. Everyone pours in and goes at it before the Acolytes, Eddie and Malenko spill out to the floor to fight it out. In the ring Saturn scoops Test up but Test floats over him and hits the Full Nelson slam but only gets a two count. Terri hops on the apron when Test pulls her in the ring by the hair and sets her up for the pump-handle slam but Saturn pulls Terri away to safety. However Test nails Saturn with the big boot and grabs the pin to get a measure of revenge. (4:07) The Acolytes celerbate while Test glares at Eddie who reminds him that he lost the match but still has the belt. And in a funny moment Heyman calls this an example of how chilvary will bite you every single time. **

~ Backstage we find William Regal talking on the phone to his mother about Chris Jericho is a miserable little troll wehn Stephanie comes in and wants Regal to assure her that there’s no way Trish can weasel out of this match tonight. Regal asks Stephanie if she’s sure she wants this match and Stephanie starts whipping his desk and yelling about Trish.

~ Back from break we get an exterior shot of the building as JR and Heyman hype the ‘whipping’ match later. JR and Heyman then talk about five championships changing hands last night as stills are shown from the pay-per-view, including the TLC II bout.

~ Backstage Vince McMahon visits William Regal saying he has some business to take care of with Steve Austin soon but doesn’t want to have to worry about his little girl facing Trish. Vince asks Regal if he knows what to do and Regal assures him he knows what to as Vince heads out to take care of his other business.

~ Elsewhere backstage Michael Cole runs into Triple H and interviews him about his loss to The Undertaker last night. Triple H reminds Cole that there are 365 days in a year and in 364 of those days he’s beaten everyone in the WWF but on one night Taker got the better of him. Triple H even gives Taker props for showing that he is the big dog but that he loved every punch and kick and promises a different result the next time he and Taker meet in the ring. Cole then asks him about Steve Austin aligning himself with Vince and winning the WWF Championship with his help. Apparently this is the first time Triple H has heard of it and doesn’t seem too thrilled as he storms off. More on this in a moment.

~ Trish Stratus is shown with a leather strap in hand making her way to the ring as we go to commercial.

~ Back form break we get a 360° camera pan of Steven Richards as he addresses his Right To Censor brethern. Richards tells the crew how they must get up after they fall and fight the good fight because it’s bigger than all of them. Richards mentions they lost the tag match and the Women’s title at Wrestlemania but they didn’t lose their convictions. Richards says they will fight fire with fire tonight by going after the one thing they despise the most, the Hardcore Title. Richards proclaims that tonight they will show Kane and the rest of the world how deep their convictions run.

  • Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley vs. Trish Stratus‘Whipping’ Match

Stephanie takes Trish down on the ramp and they go rolling down to ringside where Trish gets the advanatage. Trish throws Stephanie in the ring then brings in one of the leather straps but Stephanie greets her with a stomp. Stepahnie throws Trish into a corner then grabs a strap and tries to hang her with it while standing on the ropes. Stephanie snapmares Trish by the strap and drills her with a DDT then proceeds to whip her with the strap. Trish eventually kicks Stephanie away and rams her into the mat then slaps her around and hits the bulldog. Trish grabs the strap and starts whipping Stephanie who tries to escape to the floor but Trish goes after her. Trish continues whipping Stephanie as she rolls across the announce table as the referee tries to break it up. Trish moves in but Stephanie grabs Lillian Garcia and holds her in front of her then shoves her into Trish. Stephanie tosses Trish back in the ring and hits a short-arm clothesline then whips her with both straps. Stephanie stomps Trish down then climbs the ropes looking for the Vader splash but Trish trips her by the leg. Stephanie ends up draped over the top rope as Trish grabs the strap and proceeds to wail away at her rear end. Suddenly William Regal runs in and takes Trish out with the inverted neckbreaker (with Trish dropping to early). Regal then holds Trish up by the arms as Stephanie grabs the strap and whips her repeatedly in the chest. Now Chris Jericho runs in for the save and pounds away at Regal while Stephanie and Trish roll out to the floor. Jericho tosses Regal over the ropes then goes out and stops Stephanie from using the strap on Trish any further. Jericho chases Stephanie up the ramp and I guess that’s the match, such as it was. (~6:00) Definitely not their encounter at No Way Out. DUD

~ Back from break Stephanie is berating William Regal for letting Chris Jericho come out and ruin her match like that. Regal promises to make it up to Stephanie by booking Jericho in a handicap match against himself and Kurt Angle.

  • Rhyno vs. Crash Holly © (w/Molly Holly)Non-Title Match

Does anyone remember Crash’s Light Heavyweight title run during this time? Did’t think so. Both men stand nose-to-nose before exchanging shots but Rhyno takes control and pummels Crash in a corner. Rhyno whips Crash into the opposite corner and charges but eats a boot. Crash is able to get in his offense and goes for a whip, Rhyno reverses it but Crash comes back with a headscissors then kicks away at him. Crash goes for a whip, Rhyno reverses him into a corner and charges but misses and runs into the turnbuckles. Crash climbs to the top rope and connects with a missile dropkick then celebrates but Rhyno opos right up. Rhyno then spears Crash with the Gore and the three count is academic after an easy match. (0:56) A squash, plain and simple. NR

After the bell Molly climbs to the top rope and takes Rhyno down with the Molly-Go-Round. Molly checks on Crash but Rhyno no-sells that move as well and nails Molly with the Gore for good measure.

~ Backstage Kevin Kelly interviews Debra on why Vince McMahon helped her husband win the title last night. Debra claims she was as surprised as everyone else out there that night and that she can’t talk about it right now. That’s followed by stills of the shocking Austin/Vince handshake as JR hopes we get an explanation from Austin next.

~ Back from break Vince heads to the ring a second time, this time with the WWF Championship belt over his shoulder. Vince gets on the mic and says he couldn’t help but notice a few boos once Steve Austin’s name was mentioned earlier. Vince says he’s perplexed after the fans cheered Austin’s title win last night and after everything he’s done for them. Vince mentions every person in the building has a boss they suck up to every day and what Austin did is no different. Vince says Austin did what he had to do to win the WWF Title then proceeds to bring out the new champ himself. Austin does his posing and the react from the crowd is pretty restrained but there’s no real boos as of yet. Vince thanks the fans for their Lone Star reception then presents the belt to Austin when he swipes the mic from him and tells the fans that he got what he wanted from Wrestlemania before asking if they want him to beat Vince up. The crowd responds in the affirmitive as usual … only this time Austin tells them that’s not going to happen tonight. Austin says he’s not going to grant the fans’ every little wish and allow them to sponge off him like he’s done before. Austin says everyone wants an explanation on why he sided with Vince but feels he owes the fans nothing so no dice. In other words we’re not going to get an explanation tonight because the writer’s haven’t quite worked it out just yet. The crowd starts chanting “Rocky” as Austin tells Rock you simply don’t put “Mr. McMahon” in the Sharpshooter. Austin says he’s not going to be a 24-hour champion and will beat Rock once they drop the steel cage around them. Austin says that’s all he has to say about it and lets Vince give the bottom line as the two stand together.

Now right from the start you could tell how the Austin heel turn tanked. Instead of letting it progress naturally, the bookers were worried that the fans weren’t booing and jeering Austin fast enough and tried a little too hard to get Austin’s heel run rolling, even though they should have realized the Texas fans just weren’t going to boo Austin.

~ We get a shot of Triple H watching a monitor backstage and doesn’t look too happy with this new alliance. We see The Rock also watching a monitor elsewhere and he doesn’t seem too pleased with this development either.

  • WWF Hardcore Title: Kane © vs. Val Venis (w/Steven Richards)

Another funny moment from Heyman who mocks Ross for kissing up to Austin and crying about his heel turn. Heyman also mentions how he supposedly heard the RTC want to win the Hardcore Title just so they can retire it. Val comes out with sone garbage cans then greets Kane coming in with one of them and gets in the first shots. Val goes for a whip but Kane holds onto the ropes so Val gets in a few more shots then goes for the whip again. Kane counters and throws Val into a corner then pummels him and hits a uppercut and chokes him with his boot. Kane clotheslines Val and follows with an elbowdrop then scoops him onto his shoulder but Val fights out of it. Val hits several knees then comes off the ropes but Kane catches him with a powerslam with for a near fall. Meanwhile Heyman is still bickering with JR about his constant whining on Austin joining forces with Vince. Eventually JR tells Heyman to know when to step off or he just might wind up back at a bingo hall. Zing! Kane plants Val with a sidewalk slam then grabs a lid when Richards comes in but he runs right into a big boot. Kane clobbers Richards wit the lid when Val nails him with a trash can then clotheslines him over the ropes. Kane lands on his feet but Val nails him with a baseball slide then goes out and throws Kane into the ringsteps. Val grabs a road sign and whacks Kane with it then tosses him back in the ring and hits a DDT for a near fall. Val chokes Kane on the ropes and gets in his offense but Kane regains the advantage with some hard rights. Kane whips Val when Val goes for a Russian legsweep but Kane stands firm and Val ends up slipping off. Val hits a boot from the corner then hops to the middle rope and hits a clothesline but only gets a near fall. Val stomps Kane down in a corner and chokes him with the boot then wedges a can in the ropes in a corner. Val goes to whip Kane into the can but Kane reverses it and it’s Val going back-first into the can instead. Kane climbs to the second rope and connects with the flying clothesline and thankfully that gets the pin. (5:44) Boring match that was less than six minutes but felt a lot longer than that. DUD

Bull Buchanan and The Goodfather run in and help Val gang up on Kane when Undertaker runs out for the save. Kane chokeslams Val before he and Taker chokeslam Goodfather and Buchanan simultanelously and stand tall.

~ Backstage Triple H runs into William Regal and demands that he tell him where Vince just might be found. Regal is hesitant as Triple H rants about Vince screwing him over by hiding his new alliance with Austin from him. Regal dislikes Triple H’s tone but Triple H gets in his face threatening to beat him up if he knew anything about this.

~ Back form break Vince gets himself some coffee when Triple H comes up to him yelling about being kept in the dark. Triple H rants that he spent the past year beating Austin for both of them only for Vince to make an alliance with him and wants to know why he wasn’t let in on this deal last night. Vince says he smply felt it wasn’t his business then claims Austin came to him for help and won his match at Wrestlemania while Triple H lost without his help. Vince then walks off while Triple H angrily messes up the catering table. Again more on this in a moment.

  • Chris Jericho vs. William Regal & Kurt AngleHandicap Match

As mentioned earlier Regal made this match after Jericho meddled in Stephanie’s match with Trish. Amazingly Regal’s chest is still sporting the welts from suffering Jericho’s big chops in their battle last night. Regal looks to start off against Jericho when Angle tries a sneak attack but Jericho catches him with a right. However Regal is still able to get in the first shots then whips him into a corner and charges but eats an elbow. Jericho hops to the middle rope and hits a missile dropkick then Regal tags in Angle who runs into a hip toss. Jericho decks Regal and clotheslines Angle then knocks Regal off the apron with the springboard dropkick. Angle nails Jericho and goes for a suplex but Jericho rolls through it and puts Angle in the Walls of Jericho. Regal breaks it up with a kick to the face and Angle lays the boots to Jericho before tagging Regal to take over. Regal takes Jericho over with an armwhip then wrenches the arm and caps it off with an European uppercut. Regal goes for a whip, Jerihco reverses him into a corner and Regal stops himself but Jericho hits a heelkick. Jericho hammers Regal with chops and goes for a whip, Regal reverses but Jericho elbows Angle off the apron. Jericho drills Regal with the bulldog then connects with the Lionsault and covers but Angle makes the save. Angle rolls back out to the apron when Jericho decks him off again then goes out and throws him into the steps. Jericho turns back to Regal as he climbs to the top but Angle pulls his leg causing him to straddle the buckle. Regal then goes up after Jericho and plants him with a buttefly superplex but that only gets a two count. Angle tags back in and pounds away on Jericho then whips him but lowers the head and Jericho kicks the face. Jericho comes off the ropes but runs right into the Olympic Slam…then Angle decides to let Regal grab the pin. Regal tags in but wastes too much time waving to the crowd before covering Jericho and only gets a near fall. Regal hits Jericho with the kneelifts to the face then whips him but Jericho comes back with a flying forearm. Jericho goes for the ropes looking for the bulldog but Angle grabs a chair and whacks Jericho in the back. Regal follows it up with the inverted neckbreaker and this time is able to grab the three. (4:35) Nice match but since Jericho wasn’t Austin or Rock the result wasn’t in doubt. **

Angle and Regal decide they’re not done yet and double-team Jericho before Angle slaps on the Anklelock and Jericho starts slapping the mat. Suddenly Chris Benoit comes in and decks Regal then chases Angle from the ring. Heyman claims Benoit only came out to get a piece of Angle, feeling that he would never come to Jericho’s aid.
Benoit then clears Regal from the ring then turns back to Jericho and the two Chrises share an uneasy stare as everyone’s wondering if they’re going to go at it or shake hands. Eventually Jericho leaves without incident and this would begin Benoit’s face turn.

~ We then get footage of Shane McMahon arriving at WWF New York earlier as JR says we’ll hear from him later.

  • “The One Billy” Gunn vs. X-Pac (w/Justin Credible & Albert)

Heyman feels this match was made because Billy was shooting the breeze with Shane McMahon on Smackdown and Regal wanted to teach the roster not to fraternize with the competition. That I can believe, who wants to be in a match with X-Pac knowing he’s almost guaranteed to go over every time. Both men lockup to start and Billy goes into a headlock, X-Pac shoves him away but Billy hits a shoulderblock. Billy comes off the ropes and X-Pac leapfrogs over him but Billy counters a hiptoss and hits a Russian legsweep. Billy applies an armweringer but X-Pac manages to duck in the ropes to ward him off then gets in his offense. X-Pac goes for a whip, Billy reverses it and hits a powerslam then lunges at Credible when he tries to come in. X-Pac charges but Billy tosses him over the ropes then rams him into the barrier before tossing him back in. Credible then goes for a superkick and Billy catches it but that allows X-Pac to nail him with a baseball slide. X-Pac heads in the ring and distracts the referee while Credible works Billy over before throwing him back in. Billy starts fighting back and comes off the ropes but runs into a spining heelkick that gets X-Pac a two count. X-Pac kicks Billy down in a corner and hits the Bronco Buster but Billy comes back with a tilt-o-whirl slam. Billy follows it up with a pair of clotheslines then whips X-Pac into a corner and hits a sloppy press slam. Billy decks Credible then drills X-Pac with the Rocker Dropper and covers but Credible distracts the referee. Albert comes in and nails Billy with the Baldobomb and X-Pac is able to score the cheap victory. (3:05) Albert whips Billy into a corner and Avalanches him then rams him into a double superkick for good measure. *

~ We then get more footage of Shane at WWF New York earlier shaking hands with the fans in attendance. Again JR mentions we’ll be hearing from Shane later tonight as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break the ring crew is getting the cage put together signaling the main event is coming up next. But first we get more stills from Wrestlemania detailing the Vince/Shane street fight and what went down.

~ We then cut to WWF New York to speak with Shane about his victory last night. Shane says Wrestlemania was awesome but he does have conflicting feelings about beating up his own father. Shane says he’s still proud of what he’s done because Vince had it coming and he was the one to deal the punishment. In a weird twist the crowd behind Shane starts chanting “WCW!” Shane says now that Wrestlemania is done and his mother is okay he can turn his attention to his other business. Shane says as far as WCW goes, its starting to shape up and that things are going to get interesting very soon. Shane then says he hopes the next time Linda kicks Vince is somewhere where it really hurts, in Vince’s checkbook.

~ Backstage Michael Cole interviews The Rock but Rock is serious since he doesn’t start with his “Finally..” bit. Rock says Steve Austin may not want to explain his actions last night but he knows why Austin did what he did. Rock feels Austin knows deep down inside that he can’t beat Rock one-on-one and it’s something that’s eating him up. Rock says he saw the desparation and fear in Austin’s eyes after he kicked out of every Stunner and every chairshot. Rock syas Austin may not owe the fans anything but he owes the fans whipping Austin all over the Lone Star state.

  • WWF World Heavyweight Title: Stone Cold Steve Austin © vs. The RockSteel Cage Match

They hadn’t quite gotten the fans to boo Austin but they’ve at least gotten them cheering Rock. Rock comes out first and awaits Austin in the cage while Vince McMahon gives Austin a personal introduction and the two make their way down the ramp together. Austin starts to enter the cage but Rock makes it hard for him to come in so Austin slams the door on his head. Ausitn pulls Rock out to the floor and pounds away on him as the bell sounds with both guys outside the cage. Rock fights back and decks Ausitn over the announce table then grabs the legs and nails him below the belt. Rock rams Austin into the timekeeper’s table then grabs the title belt and clocks Austin with it, busting him open. Rock hammers away at Austin’s open cut then tosses him into the cage wall and grinds his face across the mesh. Rock tosses Austin in the cage then heads in and finally we’re officially underway two minutes after the bell. Rock stomps Austin down when Austin fights back and whips him but Rock comes back with a clothesline. Rock goes for a whip but Austin hits a knee then takes him down by the legs and catapults him into the buckles. Austin plants Rock with a spinebuster for a two count then unloads on him and stomps him in the netherregion. Austin has Vince pass a chair to him and jabs Rock repeatedly with it, just like he did at the pay-per-view. Austin readies another chair shot but Rock takes him down by the legs and puts him in the Sharopshooter. Austin frantically crawls for the ropes but Rock pulls him back while the referee keeps Vince from coming in. Austin starts tapping out but the referee doesn’t see it as he’s still busy trying to keep Vince from interfering. Couldn’t the outside have seen the submission from Austin and called for the bell?

Eventually Rock releases Austin to tell the referee to do his job then catches Austin coming with a spinebuster. Rock follows up with the Peoples Elbow and covers as the referee counts 1..2..but Vince interupts the count. Vince pulls the referee out to the floor and yells at him until the referee shoves Vince down and heads back in. Rock plants Austin with the Rock Bottom and the referee counts 1..2.but Vince nails the referee just before 3. Vince has some words for the referee but Rock stops Vince from leaving the cage and throws him into the wall. Rock closes the door and pounds Vince then sets up for a Rock Bottom but Austin saves him with a low blow. Vince decks the referee and helps Austin double-team Rock … when Triple H makes his way down the ramp? Yes, Triple H storms in the cage with his sledgehammer and shoves Vince aside then stands nose-to-nose with Austin as the crowd urges him to nail Austin the sledgehammer. Austin and Triple H are still exchange words when … Triple H turns and nails Rock with the hammer! Austin is all smiles as Triple H pummels Rock with the hammer and the two of them procced to destroy Rock so we’re just going to call the match right there. (~11:00) Yes, folks, the perfect oppertunity to turn Triple H face and have him be Austin’s next big challenger. Instead the WWF balked at it and had him join forces with Austin, despite the fact that they had waged a very intense blood feud just a month ago. All in the name of getting the fans to boo Austin right away. ***

Anyway Triple H throws Rock into the wall and hits him with the Pedigree. Austin adds the elboddrop off the ropes, Triple H follows up with a knedrop then holds Rock up as Austin flips him off and finishes him with the Stunner. Austin and Triple H both have some parting words for Rock and Vince gets in a few stomps for good measure. Austin calls for his beers to be thrown to him then he, Triple H and Vince share a toast over Rock’s corpse. And that’s pretty much the last we see of The Rock for the next four months.

Conclusion: Not a very good first step into the strange new era, with the WWF pretty much all alone in the pro wrestling universe. It seemed like most of the effort in this episode went to getting Austin over as a heel and the bookers tried a too hard with that as they jammed the turn down everyone’s throats, to the point where they just about screamed at the fans “Austin’s a heel now! Boo him!” Plus with The Rock taking a sabbatical for Hollywood, the moment was right there for Triple H to take his place as the top babyface. Instead they wussed out and as a result there was no other strong hero for the fans to get behind, another reason the turn tanked. The rest of the show as unmemorable as the WWF was catching its breath after a successful Wrestlemania and didn’t exactly know how to progress toward Backlash just yet. So I’m going to have to go thumbs in the middle leaning down.

For more reviews visit my archive at: http://kingsrecaps.wordpress.com

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2001

The SK Rant for WWF Royal Rumble 2001 – Live from New Orleans, LA. – Your hosts are JIM BY GOD ROSS and JERRY THE BY GOD KING LAWLER. – Earlier tonight on Heat, Lo Down beat Kaientai in a match to determine which of the four would enter the Royal Rumble.Opening match, WWF tag team titles: Edge & Christian v. The Dudley Boyz. Brawl to start. Dudleyz quickly take over on Christian. D-Von gets an elbow for two. Buh Buh’s elbowdrop gets two. Sideslam gets two. D-Von takes a cheapshot from the outside and gets suplexed to play brother-in-peril. Edge neckbreaker gets two, and we HIT THE CHINLOCK to slow things down. D-Von rams them into each other and rolls Edge up for two. Conchairto, but D-Von ducks it, and makes the hot tag to Buh Buh. Hotshot for Edge, full nelson drop for Christian. They hit the Wassup Drop on Edge, and D-Von…GETS THE TABLE. Whoops, Christian is there to prevent it and they brawl as Buh Buh rolls up a distracted Edge for two. They try 3D on Christian, but Edge spears Buh Buh as Christian DDTs D-Von. Edge and Christian try their own version of the Wassup Drop, but Buh Buh rolls Christian onto the bottom and he takes the headbutt to the nads, leaving Edge alone with the Dudleyz for 3D, and we have NEW champions at 10:10. Well, they had to job the champs here, because if they won this match then it would have been the New Age Outlaws situation all over again, where the champs are SO dominant that only a super-team like Rockertaker can beat them. This match, though, was VERY good and got the crowd right fired up. ***1/2 (2012 Scott sez:  Plus it also set up the first ever TLC match at Wrestlemania X-7, so there’s that going on too.)  Ladder match, Intercontinental title: Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho. Jericho gets a clothesline and some wicked CANADIAN VIOLENCE in the corner to start. Benoit goes for the Crossface, but Jericho rolls into the Walls of Jericho. Eh, that spot is played. Benoit posts him and hits a shoulderbreaker, and Jericho comes back with a forearm. He tries the springboard dropkick, but Benoit moves out of the way. They head for the ladder, but Benoit sends him headfirst to the post and grabs the ladder. Jericho goes to the stairs for good measure and Benoit sets up the ladder for the first try. Jericho stops him with an electric chair drop off the ladder. Before you even write me, an electric chair drop is where a guy is sitting on your shoulders in chicken-fight position, and you fall back, dropping the guy on his back. Jericho grabs the ladder and rams it into Benoit’s head, and then again to the abs. He sets the ladder onto the top turnbuckle, but Benoit whips him into it to return the favor. Jericho bails and Benoit chases with a tope suicida, but Jericho absolutely DESTROYS him with a chairshot in mid-air. Benoit is insane to do that spot. Jericho suplexes him on the railing and tries to ride the ladder down onto him, but Benoit moves and rams the ladder into Jericho’s face for fun. Back in, Benoit gets a lariat and retrieves the ladder. He rams Jericho into it, shoulderfirst in the corner, but a second try is reversed. Dropkick puts Benoit down, and Jericho crotches him in the ladder’s rungs in the corner. They both fall backwards, with the ladder on top of them. Jericho grabs it first, but Benoit dropkicks it on him and hits a backdrop suplex. He puts the ladder on the top, but Jericho whips him into it again, then see-saws the ladder into Benoit’s jaw. Jericho pushes the ladder at Benoit and missile dropkicks it into him, then climbs for the belt. Benoit suplexes him right out of the ring! Yeah, that’s some quality Alberta-grade hurting. Benoit climbs, but Jericho pushes him backwards so he’s balanced on the top on his lower back, and then applies the Walls of Jericho on top of the ladder! Big reaction from the crowd for that one. Benoit kicks the ladder over with his last bit of energy and we have a double-KO spot. Jericho gets the ladder first and flattens Benoit, but Benoit yanks him off it and puts him in the Crossface on the way down to further damage the shoulder. Back to the post, but Jericho hotshots him onto the ladder. Jericho rams him into the corner with the ladder, and they both climb it. Jericho falls off, but Benoit misses the swandive headbutt from the top of the ladder. Jericho tries putting the ladder right ONTO Benoit to hold him down, but Benoit powers it off and pushes it over. He climbs, but Jericho gets a chair and goes to town, knocking Benoit silly, and then right out of the ring, leaving Jericho free to climb the ladder (bad shoulder and all) and claim his fourth Intercontinental title at 18:48. Nothing does my heart good like two Canadians pounding the shit out of each other with hardware. ****3/4 Would have been a bit higher with a faster pace and less of the slow-climb nonsense. (2012 Scott sez:  It’s always bugged me that people are supposedly highly-trained athletes and they can’t even make it up a damn ladder in less than 30 seconds.  The same thing is even built right into the videogame versions as well.  This match, however, ruled hard, and features the famous Liontamer ladder spot.  Benoit was on quite the roll in 2001 as far as adjusting to the WWF style and getting awesome matches out of it.)  WWF Women’s title: Ivory v. Chyna. Chyna goes all Ultimate Warrior to start, treating poor Ivory like a jobber and bumping her all over the place. She stomps a mudhole, then sends her over the top. Into the crowd, Chyna press-slams Ivory back to ringside and back in we go for a crappy-looking powerslam. Steven Richards comes in and is forced to sell for Joanie Hellwig, too. (2012 Scott sez:  There’s definitely some parallels to be made between those two.)  She goes for the HANDSPRING OF DOOM, but the bitter hand of irony strikes her down, as the shock of actually making physical contact on one of her moves causes a relapse of that miraculously healed neck injury, and Ivory gets the pin at 3:33. So the WWF is trying to tell me here that she can do three backflips with a bad neck, but brushing against Ivory causes a stinger? DUD They haul her ass out on the stretcher, with Ross doing his whole “Fans, this is a SHOOT, and a tragedy…” shtick just to cheapen the impact even more the next time a REAL injury occurs and then the muckity-mucks are forced to wonder why no one buys it. (2012 Scott sez:  Well it’s no AJ getting knocked down by Big Show, that’s for sure.)  I’m shocked Chyna didn’t try to sell the EMTs a copy of her book on the way out. Hey, remember Droz? Apparently the WWF doesn’t. We were personally hoping for them to load her into the ambulance, only to see the Undertaker turning around to go “WHERE TO, JOANIE?” in that menacing tone of his, but alas, it didn’t happen. Final note: I’d bring up the last time Jerry Lawler ran into the ring to check on the victim of a bad injury while Jim Ross got all choked up at ringside, but then I’d be forced to vomit all over my keyboard and point out what a socially diseased piece of garbage Vince McMahon really is under all the PR fluff for doing such an angle right after settling a multi-million dollar lawsuit and destroying an entire family in the process. And that would just break up the great groove this show is getting into. – Just to catch y’all up on some stuff, there’s about a million backstage skits throughout the show, the point of which are to establish Drew Carey is at the show, and he hit on Trish Stratus at the urging of Stephanie, and Vince is thus pissed at him and “rewards” his loyalty to the WWF by offering him a slot in the Royal Rumble. Drew runs into Kane while changing and makes a wisecrack, and meanwhile Vince then informs Lo Down that Drew has their spot in the match. (2012 Scott sez:  Your future Hall of Famer, ladies and gentlemen!) And Trish and Steph hate each other. A lot. I still think if the WWF really wants to hit the sleaze-merchant jackpot, they’ll have them start a torrid love affair with each other (I assume Trish would be the femme), but I guess the world isn’t ready for a lesbian angle yet. (2012 Scott sez:  We kinda sorta got one with Trish v. Mickie) Speaking of lesbians, I was watching a crime-analysis show on TLC (normally the domain of Bill Kurtis on A&E) that was hosted by crime novelist Ed McBain, talking about the famous Lizzy Borden trial (and acquital). After bandying about several conspiracy theories about who REALLY killed the Borden family, McBain put forth his own theory: Lizzy in fact did it, because she was a raging homo inside and got caught in bed with the maid one day, thus prompting her father to write her out of the will and triggering Lizzy’s murderous rampage with a hatchet. I hear Jerry Springer wants to exhume the bodies of everyone involved and have them on an upcoming show: “My Lesbian Daughter is Sleeping With the Maid and Murdered Me With a Hatchet!” So there you go, all caught up. – WWF title match: Kurt Angle v. HHH. Wristlock sequence to start, and Angle gets a hiptoss. HHH bails. Back in, HHH pounds him down in the corner, but Angle backdrops him and goes back to the arm. Three suplexes get two. Brawl outside, which HHH gets the best of. Back in, HHH drop toeholds Angle into a Native American deathlock. This political correctness stuff is going too far. I hear Bill Maher got in trouble for comparing the mentally retarded to dogs. Now, I can see where certain pinko liberalists might get their panties in a knot over this comparison, and certainly I don’t think people should go start referring to them as dogs in an off-hand manner, but can anyone honestly tell me whose good is being served by standing up for the feelings of people who probably wouldn’t even be watching the show in the first place, and likely wouldn’t get the analogy if they heard it? And is there some scientific inaccuracy here? I mean, the truth hurts, but there are some VERY smart dogs out there on the average, and it’s not exactly an unfair analogy for Maher to state that, like a dog, the mentally retarded people he has known had limited intellect, but were loving and loyal. I mean, what, if he had compared them to a cuter animal it would have been okay? And where are these same tree-hugging morons to stand up for truth, justice and the American Way when someone lumps all the wrestling fans together as knuckle-dragging Neanderthals on a national broadcast and laughs about it? Maybe the energy spent protecting us plebes from free thought would be better spent improving the conditions and treatment in the mental hospitals and institutions where most of those afflicted with mental retardation are sent to rot, hmm? Or is just easier to pretend that they have no problem and are happier with a child’s IQ and no hope for surviving past 50, as long as we call them “Mentally Challenged” or “Vince Russo” or whatever the PC name is this week? Ah well, the world is going to hell, what can ya do? (2012 Scott sez:  That seemed excessively angry just to set up a Vince Russo punchline.  And does anyone still give a crap about Bill Maher?) Oh yeah, the match. Hunter gets a legwhip, but Angle gives him an enzuigiri on a second try and gets two. HHH goes back to the knee as the announcers’ conversation veers to Andy Kaufman and how little money Man on the Moon made. (2012 Scott sez:  I hear Chris Jericho was a big fan of it, though) HHH bails, but an attempt to post Angle from the outside backfires. Brawl outside, HHH meets the stairs. Back in, Angle misses a blind charge and gets posted, and HHH adds a chairshot to the knee for good measure. He drops Angle kneefirst on the stairs, then back for a clip. He pounds the knee, ala Ric Flair. I apologize in advance to any HHH advocates out there for comparing him to an aging, semi-retired ex-star currently wrestling in WCW. I further apologize in advance to any Flair advocates out there for comparing him to a gassed up, egomanical manipulator with a limited moveset and bad music. If, in the body of the previous two apologies I have offended either HHH or Flair advocates while apologizing to the opposite number, I apologize in advance also. Man, this political correctness stuff is complicated. Is there some kind of “Spirtual Enlightenment For Dummies” book out there I can brush up on so I too can find my inner child, move to Florida and vote Democrat? I hear Chyna’s book is a good start. On second thought, I think I’d rather just poke my own eyes out. (2012 Scott sez:  I ended up buying that book in a discount bin years later for $1.  Still not worth it.)  HHH goes into a weird deathlock variation, and Angle fights out, but walks into a facebuster. HHH slaps a figure-four on him and uses the ropes, but Trish gets involved and suddenly a HUGE catfight with Stephanie erupts, drawing about 100x more heat than the match. They’re impressively banging each other around outside the ring and seem to ready to move onto clawing each others’ eyes out, but Vince struts out to stop them. They continue fighting right around him, drawing a big pop from the crowd. Vince finally resorts to putting Trish over his shoulder and carrying her out, but Steph knocks them over and goes to town again, before everyone eventually makes it back to the dressing room. Everyone suddenly remembers the match ongoing, as Angle gets a small package for two. He shoves HHH to the post on a figure-four attempt, and they slug it out. DDT gets two. Atomic drop & german suplex get two. Russian legsweep sets up a trip to the top, which HHH prevents via a Razor’s Edge (!!!) for two. The conspiracist in me would go “Hmmmm” right about now. (2012 Scott sez:  Nothing to that one, of course.)  Pedigree attempt is blocked with a slingshot, which is in turn blocked by HHH, which in turn accidentally countered by Angle with a lowblow. Moonsault gets two for Angle. Hunter dumps him and the ref is bumped. Hunter posts Angle…and goes to the top? Angle armdrags him off, no ref. Angle goes to help him up, but the poor sap gets bumped AGAIN. HHH grabs the belt, but Angle meets him with a belly-to-belly. HHH comes back with the Pedigree, no ref. Steve Austin runs in, tosses the ref back in, KICK WHAM STUNNER and Angle gets the pin to retain at 24:12. See, now that’s the finish that Austin-Angle from RAW should have had. Although a clean finish on a PPV is infinitely preferable, especially when Angle is turning into Honky Tonk Man 2000 with all the cheap wins and frequent non-title jobs. Overbooking stupidity and crowd apathy aside, this was much better worked than the Unforgiven match. ***3/4  (2012 Scott sez:  Sounds a tad high to me considering the generally disappointing nature of their feud, but it was a hell of a match and actually started Angle down the road to becoming a badass.)  Royal Rumble: Jeff Hardy is #1, Bull Buchanan is #2. Bull pounds Jeff, who comes back with a headscissors. Jeff escapes a press slam, but gets pounded in the corner. They to put each other out, as Matt Hardy is #3. They bounce Bull in short order. Matt and Jeff go at it, as Jeff hits a jawbreaker and tries to put him out. Faarooq is #4, and he misses the Dominator and takes the Twist of Fate/Swanton finisher and goes over the top quickly after. Matt then dumps Jeff, who sneaks back in under the ropes. They square off again as Drew Carey is #5, and hangs out around the ring for a couple of minutes. The Hardyz eliminate each other and Drew celebrates. Until Kane comes in at #6, at which point he craps himself. He tries a bribe, then resorts to cowering until Raven comes at #7, allowing Drew the chance to graciously eliminate himself and get the hell out. Kane kills Raven, so he bails and starts tossing weapons into the ring in desperation. Al Snow is #8, as he nails Kane with the bowling ball and hits the SEVEN-TEN SPLIT OF DEATH on Raven. Raven & Snow put aside their differences to pound on Kane with trashcans, and ram him headfirst into one. Perry Saturn is #9, as he joins in and makes it 3-on-1. Kane fights them off, but a Raven sleeper puts him down. Steve Blackman is #10, and he blows the entire plan by attacking the other guys and allowing everyone to pair off. Grandmaster Sexay is #11, and he gets some shots in before Kane whacks him so hard with a trashcan that he flies right over the top. Kane then dumps Snow, Raven, Blackman and Saturn for good measure, ending the hardcore segment and leaving him alone. Honky Tonk Man is #12, and he stops to thank the crowd and sing his song. Kane of course destroys him and tosses him out. Funny stuff. Rock is #13. He lays the smack down, but can’t toss Kane. Kane pounds him and hits the big boot. Goodfather is #14…or, I mean, he WAS #14, leaving in about that many seconds via the Rock. Kane suplexes Rock and chokes him out, then hits a sideslam. Tazz is #15, and lasts even less than Goodfather. Kane continues beating on Rock. Bradshaw is #16. He’s more than happy to go after Kane, Rock and anyone else. Rock hits a spinebuster, then Kane lariats him. Albert is #17, as everyone pairs off and plays “You lay on the top rope and I’ll try to push you out” for a bit. (2012 Scott sez:  I was somewhat amused that they actually wrote that mechanic into the Rumble match in the videogames recently, as you put the guy onto the ropes and then play a button-mashing minigame to eliminate him.)  Hardcore Holly is #18, and takes the brunt of the punishment. Rock dumps Kane, but can’t get him off the apron. K-Kwik is #19 and looks lost. Match slows down a LOT here as the ring is filling up with too much deadwood. Val Venis is #20 and adds nothing. William Regal is #21, match still drags. Test is #22 and he tosses Regal, but there’s about 10 guys in there and nothing’s going on. Big Show makes his return at #23, which must indicate how many boxes of Ho-Hos he ate that morning, because he’s still pretty goddamned fat and slow. Remind me not to look up OVW for any weight-training solutions. He disposes of Test and K-Kwik, then hands out chokeslams like candy. Albert! Bradshaw! Venis! Holly! Kane! Rock…no wait, Rock in fact blocks it and dumps Big Show. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, he never really got back down to the 1999 weight they were shooting for with him, no matter how much they nagged and nearly fired him over it.)  Crash Holly is #24, as Big Show drags Rock out and chokeslams him through the table. Oh, GOODIE, another Big Show-Rock feud. Maybe we can get another four-way at Wrestlemania, with Austin taking Mick Foley’s place. Wouldn’t that be KEEN? Everyone suddenly gets smart and goes after Kane, to no avail. Undertaker is #25, and thank god because maybe he’ll thin out all the extra bodies. Bradshaw, Albert, Crash, Hardcore and Venis all exit stage left, leaving the Brothers Grim alone to compare hair-care notes. Scotty 2 Hotty has the misfortune of being #26, and he dies without putting up much of a fuss. The crowd, possibly expecting him to make a big comeback and hit a double-Worm on both guys, seems more bummed than usual to see him tossed. Rock struggles back in as Steve Austin is #27, and right on cue HHH runs out and beats the bejesus out of him. Billy Gunn is #28, and he holds off UT & Kane as the refs drag Hunter away from Austin. UT gets a DDT on Rock, and THE MONSTERMENG (re-dubbed Haku) is #29. You know, it’s so funny and darkly ironic when WCW spends tons of money smugly stealing all of Paul Heyman’s uncontracted talent, only to put a singles title on a guy with a day-to-day working deal and then expect the WWF NOT to make him a solid offer to jump ship at the earliest possible opportunity. Strike One on Uncle Eric right off the bat. Not a good sign.(2012 Scott sez:  So weird how things progressed so quickly from there.  Wonder why Haku didn’t stick around for the Invasion, anyway?) Anyhoo, he blitzes UT and Kane, but gets double-teamed, and everyone pairs off. Rikishi is #30, and we’re one sibling away from an Islanders reunion, and two away from a Headshrinker reunion. Throw Barbarian in there, and you’ve reunited the Headshinkers 2.0 AND the Faces of Fear at the same time. Spooky, huh? Rikishi stops to brawl with a bloodied Austin, and this awakes the giant. Austin enters the match and beats the hell out of Billy Gunn, then dumps Haku. Rock goes out, under the ropes, and back in again. Rikishi superkicks Undertaker out, nonchalantly. He tries the same approach with Rock on a banzai drop, but gets dumped over and out for his troubles. – Final Four: Steve Austin, The Rock, Kane, Billy Gunn. Gee, I wonder who goes first here? Austin disposes of Rockabilly soon enough, leaving Kane to take a breather and THE MEGAPOWERS EXPLODE! So I guess Kane is Akeem and Undertaker is Big Bossman? But who’s Elizabeth? (2012 Scott sez:  Debra, as it turned out.)  Slugfest and the crowd is torn. Rock Bottom is blocked, KICK WHAM STUNNER. Kane goes after Austin, but gets Thesz-pressed. Austin walks into a Rock Bottom, and Rock tosses Kane…THROUGH the ropes, so no go. Austin and Rock pound each other, but Kane sneaks up to dump both, only getting Rock out in the process (!!!). Man, there goes my sure-fire pick. Chokeslam for Austin and Kane gets a chair, but it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER again, and a bunch of chairshots send Kane to the floor at 61:38 after an admirable 55-minute performance, and Steve Austin will be YOUR challenger for the WWF title at Wrestlemania 17. Good Rumble, with a bunch of very noticeable slow spots. ***1/2  (2012 Scott sez:  I’d go up to ****, actually.  Hell of a Rumble, with some major league firepower and a situation where you legitimately had no idea if either Rock or Austin was going to win.)  The Bottom Line: Everyone in the entire world save the WWF seems to know that Austin turning heel, winning the title, and losing it to Rock at WM is the way to sell out the building and make billions on the PPV, but they seem to going about it in the opposite direction, building to another Rocky job to Austin. (2012 Scott sez:  Yup.  Not only that, but Austin’s heel turn came AFTER the title win and marked the end of their peak as a company.)  I would personally question Austin as a long-term babyface given his health issues, but if they have confidence in the guy, that’s good enough for me. At any rate, booking qualms aside, this was an AWESOME PPV, the best they’ve done since Summerslam 2000. We’ll ignore the Women’s title debacle and point out the sheer awesomeness of all the other matches, and I heartily recommend ordering the replay and watching Benoit and Jericho do inhumane things to each other with a ladder. Good effort all around here. Thumbs way up.  (2012 Scott sez:  This one gets forgotten a lot, even by me.  Great show.)  

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2001

The SK Rant for WWF Royal Rumble 2001 – Live from New Orleans, LA. – Your hosts are JIM BY GOD ROSS and JERRY THE BY GOD KING LAWLER. – Earlier tonight on Heat, Lo Down beat Kaientai in a match to determine which of the four would enter the Royal Rumble.Opening match, WWF tag team titles: Edge & Christian v. The Dudley Boyz. Brawl to start. Dudleyz quickly take over on Christian. D-Von gets an elbow for two. Buh Buh’s elbowdrop gets two. Sideslam gets two. D-Von takes a cheapshot from the outside and gets suplexed to play brother-in-peril. Edge neckbreaker gets two, and we HIT THE CHINLOCK to slow things down. D-Von rams them into each other and rolls Edge up for two. Conchairto, but D-Von ducks it, and makes the hot tag to Buh Buh. Hotshot for Edge, full nelson drop for Christian. They hit the Wassup Drop on Edge, and D-Von…GETS THE TABLE. Whoops, Christian is there to prevent it and they brawl as Buh Buh rolls up a distracted Edge for two. They try 3D on Christian, but Edge spears Buh Buh as Christian DDTs D-Von. Edge and Christian try their own version of the Wassup Drop, but Buh Buh rolls Christian onto the bottom and he takes the headbutt to the nads, leaving Edge alone with the Dudleyz for 3D, and we have NEW champions at 10:10. Well, they had to job the champs here, because if they won this match then it would have been the New Age Outlaws situation all over again, where the champs are SO dominant that only a super-team like Rockertaker can beat them. This match, though, was VERY good and got the crowd right fired up. ***1/2 (2012 Scott sez:  Plus it also set up the first ever TLC match at Wrestlemania X-7, so there’s that going on too.)  Ladder match, Intercontinental title: Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho. Jericho gets a clothesline and some wicked CANADIAN VIOLENCE in the corner to start. Benoit goes for the Crossface, but Jericho rolls into the Walls of Jericho. Eh, that spot is played. Benoit posts him and hits a shoulderbreaker, and Jericho comes back with a forearm. He tries the springboard dropkick, but Benoit moves out of the way. They head for the ladder, but Benoit sends him headfirst to the post and grabs the ladder. Jericho goes to the stairs for good measure and Benoit sets up the ladder for the first try. Jericho stops him with an electric chair drop off the ladder. Before you even write me, an electric chair drop is where a guy is sitting on your shoulders in chicken-fight position, and you fall back, dropping the guy on his back. Jericho grabs the ladder and rams it into Benoit’s head, and then again to the abs. He sets the ladder onto the top turnbuckle, but Benoit whips him into it to return the favor. Jericho bails and Benoit chases with a tope suicida, but Jericho absolutely DESTROYS him with a chairshot in mid-air. Benoit is insane to do that spot. Jericho suplexes him on the railing and tries to ride the ladder down onto him, but Benoit moves and rams the ladder into Jericho’s face for fun. Back in, Benoit gets a lariat and retrieves the ladder. He rams Jericho into it, shoulderfirst in the corner, but a second try is reversed. Dropkick puts Benoit down, and Jericho crotches him in the ladder’s rungs in the corner. They both fall backwards, with the ladder on top of them. Jericho grabs it first, but Benoit dropkicks it on him and hits a backdrop suplex. He puts the ladder on the top, but Jericho whips him into it again, then see-saws the ladder into Benoit’s jaw. Jericho pushes the ladder at Benoit and missile dropkicks it into him, then climbs for the belt. Benoit suplexes him right out of the ring! Yeah, that’s some quality Alberta-grade hurting. Benoit climbs, but Jericho pushes him backwards so he’s balanced on the top on his lower back, and then applies the Walls of Jericho on top of the ladder! Big reaction from the crowd for that one. Benoit kicks the ladder over with his last bit of energy and we have a double-KO spot. Jericho gets the ladder first and flattens Benoit, but Benoit yanks him off it and puts him in the Crossface on the way down to further damage the shoulder. Back to the post, but Jericho hotshots him onto the ladder. Jericho rams him into the corner with the ladder, and they both climb it. Jericho falls off, but Benoit misses the swandive headbutt from the top of the ladder. Jericho tries putting the ladder right ONTO Benoit to hold him down, but Benoit powers it off and pushes it over. He climbs, but Jericho gets a chair and goes to town, knocking Benoit silly, and then right out of the ring, leaving Jericho free to climb the ladder (bad shoulder and all) and claim his fourth Intercontinental title at 18:48. Nothing does my heart good like two Canadians pounding the shit out of each other with hardware. ****3/4 Would have been a bit higher with a faster pace and less of the slow-climb nonsense. (2012 Scott sez:  It’s always bugged me that people are supposedly highly-trained athletes and they can’t even make it up a damn ladder in less than 30 seconds.  The same thing is even built right into the videogame versions as well.  This match, however, ruled hard, and features the famous Liontamer ladder spot.  Benoit was on quite the roll in 2001 as far as adjusting to the WWF style and getting awesome matches out of it.)  WWF Women’s title: Ivory v. Chyna. Chyna goes all Ultimate Warrior to start, treating poor Ivory like a jobber and bumping her all over the place. She stomps a mudhole, then sends her over the top. Into the crowd, Chyna press-slams Ivory back to ringside and back in we go for a crappy-looking powerslam. Steven Richards comes in and is forced to sell for Joanie Hellwig, too. (2012 Scott sez:  There’s definitely some parallels to be made between those two.)  She goes for the HANDSPRING OF DOOM, but the bitter hand of irony strikes her down, as the shock of actually making physical contact on one of her moves causes a relapse of that miraculously healed neck injury, and Ivory gets the pin at 3:33. So the WWF is trying to tell me here that she can do three backflips with a bad neck, but brushing against Ivory causes a stinger? DUD They haul her ass out on the stretcher, with Ross doing his whole “Fans, this is a SHOOT, and a tragedy…” shtick just to cheapen the impact even more the next time a REAL injury occurs and then the muckity-mucks are forced to wonder why no one buys it. (2012 Scott sez:  Well it’s no AJ getting knocked down by Big Show, that’s for sure.)  I’m shocked Chyna didn’t try to sell the EMTs a copy of her book on the way out. Hey, remember Droz? Apparently the WWF doesn’t. We were personally hoping for them to load her into the ambulance, only to see the Undertaker turning around to go “WHERE TO, JOANIE?” in that menacing tone of his, but alas, it didn’t happen. Final note: I’d bring up the last time Jerry Lawler ran into the ring to check on the victim of a bad injury while Jim Ross got all choked up at ringside, but then I’d be forced to vomit all over my keyboard and point out what a socially diseased piece of garbage Vince McMahon really is under all the PR fluff for doing such an angle right after settling a multi-million dollar lawsuit and destroying an entire family in the process. And that would just break up the great groove this show is getting into. – Just to catch y’all up on some stuff, there’s about a million backstage skits throughout the show, the point of which are to establish Drew Carey is at the show, and he hit on Trish Stratus at the urging of Stephanie, and Vince is thus pissed at him and “rewards” his loyalty to the WWF by offering him a slot in the Royal Rumble. Drew runs into Kane while changing and makes a wisecrack, and meanwhile Vince then informs Lo Down that Drew has their spot in the match. (2012 Scott sez:  Your future Hall of Famer, ladies and gentlemen!) And Trish and Steph hate each other. A lot. I still think if the WWF really wants to hit the sleaze-merchant jackpot, they’ll have them start a torrid love affair with each other (I assume Trish would be the femme), but I guess the world isn’t ready for a lesbian angle yet. (2012 Scott sez:  We kinda sorta got one with Trish v. Mickie) Speaking of lesbians, I was watching a crime-analysis show on TLC (normally the domain of Bill Kurtis on A&E) that was hosted by crime novelist Ed McBain, talking about the famous Lizzy Borden trial (and acquital). After bandying about several conspiracy theories about who REALLY killed the Borden family, McBain put forth his own theory: Lizzy in fact did it, because she was a raging homo inside and got caught in bed with the maid one day, thus prompting her father to write her out of the will and triggering Lizzy’s murderous rampage with a hatchet. I hear Jerry Springer wants to exhume the bodies of everyone involved and have them on an upcoming show: “My Lesbian Daughter is Sleeping With the Maid and Murdered Me With a Hatchet!” So there you go, all caught up. – WWF title match: Kurt Angle v. HHH. Wristlock sequence to start, and Angle gets a hiptoss. HHH bails. Back in, HHH pounds him down in the corner, but Angle backdrops him and goes back to the arm. Three suplexes get two. Brawl outside, which HHH gets the best of. Back in, HHH drop toeholds Angle into a Native American deathlock. This political correctness stuff is going too far. I hear Bill Maher got in trouble for comparing the mentally retarded to dogs. Now, I can see where certain pinko liberalists might get their panties in a knot over this comparison, and certainly I don’t think people should go start referring to them as dogs in an off-hand manner, but can anyone honestly tell me whose good is being served by standing up for the feelings of people who probably wouldn’t even be watching the show in the first place, and likely wouldn’t get the analogy if they heard it? And is there some scientific inaccuracy here? I mean, the truth hurts, but there are some VERY smart dogs out there on the average, and it’s not exactly an unfair analogy for Maher to state that, like a dog, the mentally retarded people he has known had limited intellect, but were loving and loyal. I mean, what, if he had compared them to a cuter animal it would have been okay? And where are these same tree-hugging morons to stand up for truth, justice and the American Way when someone lumps all the wrestling fans together as knuckle-dragging Neanderthals on a national broadcast and laughs about it? Maybe the energy spent protecting us plebes from free thought would be better spent improving the conditions and treatment in the mental hospitals and institutions where most of those afflicted with mental retardation are sent to rot, hmm? Or is just easier to pretend that they have no problem and are happier with a child’s IQ and no hope for surviving past 50, as long as we call them “Mentally Challenged” or “Vince Russo” or whatever the PC name is this week? Ah well, the world is going to hell, what can ya do? (2012 Scott sez:  That seemed excessively angry just to set up a Vince Russo punchline.  And does anyone still give a crap about Bill Maher?) Oh yeah, the match. Hunter gets a legwhip, but Angle gives him an enzuigiri on a second try and gets two. HHH goes back to the knee as the announcers’ conversation veers to Andy Kaufman and how little money Man on the Moon made. (2012 Scott sez:  I hear Chris Jericho was a big fan of it, though) HHH bails, but an attempt to post Angle from the outside backfires. Brawl outside, HHH meets the stairs. Back in, Angle misses a blind charge and gets posted, and HHH adds a chairshot to the knee for good measure. He drops Angle kneefirst on the stairs, then back for a clip. He pounds the knee, ala Ric Flair. I apologize in advance to any HHH advocates out there for comparing him to an aging, semi-retired ex-star currently wrestling in WCW. I further apologize in advance to any Flair advocates out there for comparing him to a gassed up, egomanical manipulator with a limited moveset and bad music. If, in the body of the previous two apologies I have offended either HHH or Flair advocates while apologizing to the opposite number, I apologize in advance also. Man, this political correctness stuff is complicated. Is there some kind of “Spirtual Enlightenment For Dummies” book out there I can brush up on so I too can find my inner child, move to Florida and vote Democrat? I hear Chyna’s book is a good start. On second thought, I think I’d rather just poke my own eyes out. (2012 Scott sez:  I ended up buying that book in a discount bin years later for $1.  Still not worth it.)  HHH goes into a weird deathlock variation, and Angle fights out, but walks into a facebuster. HHH slaps a figure-four on him and uses the ropes, but Trish gets involved and suddenly a HUGE catfight with Stephanie erupts, drawing about 100x more heat than the match. They’re impressively banging each other around outside the ring and seem to ready to move onto clawing each others’ eyes out, but Vince struts out to stop them. They continue fighting right around him, drawing a big pop from the crowd. Vince finally resorts to putting Trish over his shoulder and carrying her out, but Steph knocks them over and goes to town again, before everyone eventually makes it back to the dressing room. Everyone suddenly remembers the match ongoing, as Angle gets a small package for two. He shoves HHH to the post on a figure-four attempt, and they slug it out. DDT gets two. Atomic drop & german suplex get two. Russian legsweep sets up a trip to the top, which HHH prevents via a Razor’s Edge (!!!) for two. The conspiracist in me would go “Hmmmm” right about now. (2012 Scott sez:  Nothing to that one, of course.)  Pedigree attempt is blocked with a slingshot, which is in turn blocked by HHH, which in turn accidentally countered by Angle with a lowblow. Moonsault gets two for Angle. Hunter dumps him and the ref is bumped. Hunter posts Angle…and goes to the top? Angle armdrags him off, no ref. Angle goes to help him up, but the poor sap gets bumped AGAIN. HHH grabs the belt, but Angle meets him with a belly-to-belly. HHH comes back with the Pedigree, no ref. Steve Austin runs in, tosses the ref back in, KICK WHAM STUNNER and Angle gets the pin to retain at 24:12. See, now that’s the finish that Austin-Angle from RAW should have had. Although a clean finish on a PPV is infinitely preferable, especially when Angle is turning into Honky Tonk Man 2000 with all the cheap wins and frequent non-title jobs. Overbooking stupidity and crowd apathy aside, this was much better worked than the Unforgiven match. ***3/4  (2012 Scott sez:  Sounds a tad high to me considering the generally disappointing nature of their feud, but it was a hell of a match and actually started Angle down the road to becoming a badass.)  Royal Rumble: Jeff Hardy is #1, Bull Buchanan is #2. Bull pounds Jeff, who comes back with a headscissors. Jeff escapes a press slam, but gets pounded in the corner. They to put each other out, as Matt Hardy is #3. They bounce Bull in short order. Matt and Jeff go at it, as Jeff hits a jawbreaker and tries to put him out. Faarooq is #4, and he misses the Dominator and takes the Twist of Fate/Swanton finisher and goes over the top quickly after. Matt then dumps Jeff, who sneaks back in under the ropes. They square off again as Drew Carey is #5, and hangs out around the ring for a couple of minutes. The Hardyz eliminate each other and Drew celebrates. Until Kane comes in at #6, at which point he craps himself. He tries a bribe, then resorts to cowering until Raven comes at #7, allowing Drew the chance to graciously eliminate himself and get the hell out. Kane kills Raven, so he bails and starts tossing weapons into the ring in desperation. Al Snow is #8, as he nails Kane with the bowling ball and hits the SEVEN-TEN SPLIT OF DEATH on Raven. Raven & Snow put aside their differences to pound on Kane with trashcans, and ram him headfirst into one. Perry Saturn is #9, as he joins in and makes it 3-on-1. Kane fights them off, but a Raven sleeper puts him down. Steve Blackman is #10, and he blows the entire plan by attacking the other guys and allowing everyone to pair off. Grandmaster Sexay is #11, and he gets some shots in before Kane whacks him so hard with a trashcan that he flies right over the top. Kane then dumps Snow, Raven, Blackman and Saturn for good measure, ending the hardcore segment and leaving him alone. Honky Tonk Man is #12, and he stops to thank the crowd and sing his song. Kane of course destroys him and tosses him out. Funny stuff. Rock is #13. He lays the smack down, but can’t toss Kane. Kane pounds him and hits the big boot. Goodfather is #14…or, I mean, he WAS #14, leaving in about that many seconds via the Rock. Kane suplexes Rock and chokes him out, then hits a sideslam. Tazz is #15, and lasts even less than Goodfather. Kane continues beating on Rock. Bradshaw is #16. He’s more than happy to go after Kane, Rock and anyone else. Rock hits a spinebuster, then Kane lariats him. Albert is #17, as everyone pairs off and plays “You lay on the top rope and I’ll try to push you out” for a bit. (2012 Scott sez:  I was somewhat amused that they actually wrote that mechanic into the Rumble match in the videogames recently, as you put the guy onto the ropes and then play a button-mashing minigame to eliminate him.)  Hardcore Holly is #18, and takes the brunt of the punishment. Rock dumps Kane, but can’t get him off the apron. K-Kwik is #19 and looks lost. Match slows down a LOT here as the ring is filling up with too much deadwood. Val Venis is #20 and adds nothing. William Regal is #21, match still drags. Test is #22 and he tosses Regal, but there’s about 10 guys in there and nothing’s going on. Big Show makes his return at #23, which must indicate how many boxes of Ho-Hos he ate that morning, because he’s still pretty goddamned fat and slow. Remind me not to look up OVW for any weight-training solutions. He disposes of Test and K-Kwik, then hands out chokeslams like candy. Albert! Bradshaw! Venis! Holly! Kane! Rock…no wait, Rock in fact blocks it and dumps Big Show. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, he never really got back down to the 1999 weight they were shooting for with him, no matter how much they nagged and nearly fired him over it.)  Crash Holly is #24, as Big Show drags Rock out and chokeslams him through the table. Oh, GOODIE, another Big Show-Rock feud. Maybe we can get another four-way at Wrestlemania, with Austin taking Mick Foley’s place. Wouldn’t that be KEEN? Everyone suddenly gets smart and goes after Kane, to no avail. Undertaker is #25, and thank god because maybe he’ll thin out all the extra bodies. Bradshaw, Albert, Crash, Hardcore and Venis all exit stage left, leaving the Brothers Grim alone to compare hair-care notes. Scotty 2 Hotty has the misfortune of being #26, and he dies without putting up much of a fuss. The crowd, possibly expecting him to make a big comeback and hit a double-Worm on both guys, seems more bummed than usual to see him tossed. Rock struggles back in as Steve Austin is #27, and right on cue HHH runs out and beats the bejesus out of him. Billy Gunn is #28, and he holds off UT & Kane as the refs drag Hunter away from Austin. UT gets a DDT on Rock, and THE MONSTERMENG (re-dubbed Haku) is #29. You know, it’s so funny and darkly ironic when WCW spends tons of money smugly stealing all of Paul Heyman’s uncontracted talent, only to put a singles title on a guy with a day-to-day working deal and then expect the WWF NOT to make him a solid offer to jump ship at the earliest possible opportunity. Strike One on Uncle Eric right off the bat. Not a good sign.(2012 Scott sez:  So weird how things progressed so quickly from there.  Wonder why Haku didn’t stick around for the Invasion, anyway?) Anyhoo, he blitzes UT and Kane, but gets double-teamed, and everyone pairs off. Rikishi is #30, and we’re one sibling away from an Islanders reunion, and two away from a Headshrinker reunion. Throw Barbarian in there, and you’ve reunited the Headshinkers 2.0 AND the Faces of Fear at the same time. Spooky, huh? Rikishi stops to brawl with a bloodied Austin, and this awakes the giant. Austin enters the match and beats the hell out of Billy Gunn, then dumps Haku. Rock goes out, under the ropes, and back in again. Rikishi superkicks Undertaker out, nonchalantly. He tries the same approach with Rock on a banzai drop, but gets dumped over and out for his troubles. – Final Four: Steve Austin, The Rock, Kane, Billy Gunn. Gee, I wonder who goes first here? Austin disposes of Rockabilly soon enough, leaving Kane to take a breather and THE MEGAPOWERS EXPLODE! So I guess Kane is Akeem and Undertaker is Big Bossman? But who’s Elizabeth? (2012 Scott sez:  Debra, as it turned out.)  Slugfest and the crowd is torn. Rock Bottom is blocked, KICK WHAM STUNNER. Kane goes after Austin, but gets Thesz-pressed. Austin walks into a Rock Bottom, and Rock tosses Kane…THROUGH the ropes, so no go. Austin and Rock pound each other, but Kane sneaks up to dump both, only getting Rock out in the process (!!!). Man, there goes my sure-fire pick. Chokeslam for Austin and Kane gets a chair, but it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER again, and a bunch of chairshots send Kane to the floor at 61:38 after an admirable 55-minute performance, and Steve Austin will be YOUR challenger for the WWF title at Wrestlemania 17. Good Rumble, with a bunch of very noticeable slow spots. ***1/2  (2012 Scott sez:  I’d go up to ****, actually.  Hell of a Rumble, with some major league firepower and a situation where you legitimately had no idea if either Rock or Austin was going to win.)  The Bottom Line: Everyone in the entire world save the WWF seems to know that Austin turning heel, winning the title, and losing it to Rock at WM is the way to sell out the building and make billions on the PPV, but they seem to going about it in the opposite direction, building to another Rocky job to Austin. (2012 Scott sez:  Yup.  Not only that, but Austin’s heel turn came AFTER the title win and marked the end of their peak as a company.)  I would personally question Austin as a long-term babyface given his health issues, but if they have confidence in the guy, that’s good enough for me. At any rate, booking qualms aside, this was an AWESOME PPV, the best they’ve done since Summerslam 2000. We’ll ignore the Women’s title debacle and point out the sheer awesomeness of all the other matches, and I heartily recommend ordering the replay and watching Benoit and Jericho do inhumane things to each other with a ladder. Good effort all around here. Thumbs way up.  (2012 Scott sez:  This one gets forgotten a lot, even by me.  Great show.)  

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2001

The SK Rant for WWF Royal Rumble 2001 – Live from New Orleans, LA. – Your hosts are JIM BY GOD ROSS and JERRY THE BY GOD KING LAWLER. – Earlier tonight on Heat, Lo Down beat Kaientai in a match to determine which of the four would enter the Royal Rumble.Opening match, WWF tag team titles: Edge & Christian v. The Dudley Boyz. Brawl to start. Dudleyz quickly take over on Christian. D-Von gets an elbow for two. Buh Buh’s elbowdrop gets two. Sideslam gets two. D-Von takes a cheapshot from the outside and gets suplexed to play brother-in-peril. Edge neckbreaker gets two, and we HIT THE CHINLOCK to slow things down. D-Von rams them into each other and rolls Edge up for two. Conchairto, but D-Von ducks it, and makes the hot tag to Buh Buh. Hotshot for Edge, full nelson drop for Christian. They hit the Wassup Drop on Edge, and D-Von…GETS THE TABLE. Whoops, Christian is there to prevent it and they brawl as Buh Buh rolls up a distracted Edge for two. They try 3D on Christian, but Edge spears Buh Buh as Christian DDTs D-Von. Edge and Christian try their own version of the Wassup Drop, but Buh Buh rolls Christian onto the bottom and he takes the headbutt to the nads, leaving Edge alone with the Dudleyz for 3D, and we have NEW champions at 10:10. Well, they had to job the champs here, because if they won this match then it would have been the New Age Outlaws situation all over again, where the champs are SO dominant that only a super-team like Rockertaker can beat them. This match, though, was VERY good and got the crowd right fired up. ***1/2 (2012 Scott sez:  Plus it also set up the first ever TLC match at Wrestlemania X-7, so there’s that going on too.)  Ladder match, Intercontinental title: Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho. Jericho gets a clothesline and some wicked CANADIAN VIOLENCE in the corner to start. Benoit goes for the Crossface, but Jericho rolls into the Walls of Jericho. Eh, that spot is played. Benoit posts him and hits a shoulderbreaker, and Jericho comes back with a forearm. He tries the springboard dropkick, but Benoit moves out of the way. They head for the ladder, but Benoit sends him headfirst to the post and grabs the ladder. Jericho goes to the stairs for good measure and Benoit sets up the ladder for the first try. Jericho stops him with an electric chair drop off the ladder. Before you even write me, an electric chair drop is where a guy is sitting on your shoulders in chicken-fight position, and you fall back, dropping the guy on his back. Jericho grabs the ladder and rams it into Benoit’s head, and then again to the abs. He sets the ladder onto the top turnbuckle, but Benoit whips him into it to return the favor. Jericho bails and Benoit chases with a tope suicida, but Jericho absolutely DESTROYS him with a chairshot in mid-air. Benoit is insane to do that spot. Jericho suplexes him on the railing and tries to ride the ladder down onto him, but Benoit moves and rams the ladder into Jericho’s face for fun. Back in, Benoit gets a lariat and retrieves the ladder. He rams Jericho into it, shoulderfirst in the corner, but a second try is reversed. Dropkick puts Benoit down, and Jericho crotches him in the ladder’s rungs in the corner. They both fall backwards, with the ladder on top of them. Jericho grabs it first, but Benoit dropkicks it on him and hits a backdrop suplex. He puts the ladder on the top, but Jericho whips him into it again, then see-saws the ladder into Benoit’s jaw. Jericho pushes the ladder at Benoit and missile dropkicks it into him, then climbs for the belt. Benoit suplexes him right out of the ring! Yeah, that’s some quality Alberta-grade hurting. Benoit climbs, but Jericho pushes him backwards so he’s balanced on the top on his lower back, and then applies the Walls of Jericho on top of the ladder! Big reaction from the crowd for that one. Benoit kicks the ladder over with his last bit of energy and we have a double-KO spot. Jericho gets the ladder first and flattens Benoit, but Benoit yanks him off it and puts him in the Crossface on the way down to further damage the shoulder. Back to the post, but Jericho hotshots him onto the ladder. Jericho rams him into the corner with the ladder, and they both climb it. Jericho falls off, but Benoit misses the swandive headbutt from the top of the ladder. Jericho tries putting the ladder right ONTO Benoit to hold him down, but Benoit powers it off and pushes it over. He climbs, but Jericho gets a chair and goes to town, knocking Benoit silly, and then right out of the ring, leaving Jericho free to climb the ladder (bad shoulder and all) and claim his fourth Intercontinental title at 18:48. Nothing does my heart good like two Canadians pounding the shit out of each other with hardware. ****3/4 Would have been a bit higher with a faster pace and less of the slow-climb nonsense. (2012 Scott sez:  It’s always bugged me that people are supposedly highly-trained athletes and they can’t even make it up a damn ladder in less than 30 seconds.  The same thing is even built right into the videogame versions as well.  This match, however, ruled hard, and features the famous Liontamer ladder spot.  Benoit was on quite the roll in 2001 as far as adjusting to the WWF style and getting awesome matches out of it.)  WWF Women’s title: Ivory v. Chyna. Chyna goes all Ultimate Warrior to start, treating poor Ivory like a jobber and bumping her all over the place. She stomps a mudhole, then sends her over the top. Into the crowd, Chyna press-slams Ivory back to ringside and back in we go for a crappy-looking powerslam. Steven Richards comes in and is forced to sell for Joanie Hellwig, too. (2012 Scott sez:  There’s definitely some parallels to be made between those two.)  She goes for the HANDSPRING OF DOOM, but the bitter hand of irony strikes her down, as the shock of actually making physical contact on one of her moves causes a relapse of that miraculously healed neck injury, and Ivory gets the pin at 3:33. So the WWF is trying to tell me here that she can do three backflips with a bad neck, but brushing against Ivory causes a stinger? DUD They haul her ass out on the stretcher, with Ross doing his whole “Fans, this is a SHOOT, and a tragedy…” shtick just to cheapen the impact even more the next time a REAL injury occurs and then the muckity-mucks are forced to wonder why no one buys it. (2012 Scott sez:  Well it’s no AJ getting knocked down by Big Show, that’s for sure.)  I’m shocked Chyna didn’t try to sell the EMTs a copy of her book on the way out. Hey, remember Droz? Apparently the WWF doesn’t. We were personally hoping for them to load her into the ambulance, only to see the Undertaker turning around to go “WHERE TO, JOANIE?” in that menacing tone of his, but alas, it didn’t happen. Final note: I’d bring up the last time Jerry Lawler ran into the ring to check on the victim of a bad injury while Jim Ross got all choked up at ringside, but then I’d be forced to vomit all over my keyboard and point out what a socially diseased piece of garbage Vince McMahon really is under all the PR fluff for doing such an angle right after settling a multi-million dollar lawsuit and destroying an entire family in the process. And that would just break up the great groove this show is getting into. – Just to catch y’all up on some stuff, there’s about a million backstage skits throughout the show, the point of which are to establish Drew Carey is at the show, and he hit on Trish Stratus at the urging of Stephanie, and Vince is thus pissed at him and “rewards” his loyalty to the WWF by offering him a slot in the Royal Rumble. Drew runs into Kane while changing and makes a wisecrack, and meanwhile Vince then informs Lo Down that Drew has their spot in the match. (2012 Scott sez:  Your future Hall of Famer, ladies and gentlemen!) And Trish and Steph hate each other. A lot. I still think if the WWF really wants to hit the sleaze-merchant jackpot, they’ll have them start a torrid love affair with each other (I assume Trish would be the femme), but I guess the world isn’t ready for a lesbian angle yet. (2012 Scott sez:  We kinda sorta got one with Trish v. Mickie) Speaking of lesbians, I was watching a crime-analysis show on TLC (normally the domain of Bill Kurtis on A&E) that was hosted by crime novelist Ed McBain, talking about the famous Lizzy Borden trial (and acquital). After bandying about several conspiracy theories about who REALLY killed the Borden family, McBain put forth his own theory: Lizzy in fact did it, because she was a raging homo inside and got caught in bed with the maid one day, thus prompting her father to write her out of the will and triggering Lizzy’s murderous rampage with a hatchet. I hear Jerry Springer wants to exhume the bodies of everyone involved and have them on an upcoming show: “My Lesbian Daughter is Sleeping With the Maid and Murdered Me With a Hatchet!” So there you go, all caught up. – WWF title match: Kurt Angle v. HHH. Wristlock sequence to start, and Angle gets a hiptoss. HHH bails. Back in, HHH pounds him down in the corner, but Angle backdrops him and goes back to the arm. Three suplexes get two. Brawl outside, which HHH gets the best of. Back in, HHH drop toeholds Angle into a Native American deathlock. This political correctness stuff is going too far. I hear Bill Maher got in trouble for comparing the mentally retarded to dogs. Now, I can see where certain pinko liberalists might get their panties in a knot over this comparison, and certainly I don’t think people should go start referring to them as dogs in an off-hand manner, but can anyone honestly tell me whose good is being served by standing up for the feelings of people who probably wouldn’t even be watching the show in the first place, and likely wouldn’t get the analogy if they heard it? And is there some scientific inaccuracy here? I mean, the truth hurts, but there are some VERY smart dogs out there on the average, and it’s not exactly an unfair analogy for Maher to state that, like a dog, the mentally retarded people he has known had limited intellect, but were loving and loyal. I mean, what, if he had compared them to a cuter animal it would have been okay? And where are these same tree-hugging morons to stand up for truth, justice and the American Way when someone lumps all the wrestling fans together as knuckle-dragging Neanderthals on a national broadcast and laughs about it? Maybe the energy spent protecting us plebes from free thought would be better spent improving the conditions and treatment in the mental hospitals and institutions where most of those afflicted with mental retardation are sent to rot, hmm? Or is just easier to pretend that they have no problem and are happier with a child’s IQ and no hope for surviving past 50, as long as we call them “Mentally Challenged” or “Vince Russo” or whatever the PC name is this week? Ah well, the world is going to hell, what can ya do? (2012 Scott sez:  That seemed excessively angry just to set up a Vince Russo punchline.  And does anyone still give a crap about Bill Maher?) Oh yeah, the match. Hunter gets a legwhip, but Angle gives him an enzuigiri on a second try and gets two. HHH goes back to the knee as the announcers’ conversation veers to Andy Kaufman and how little money Man on the Moon made. (2012 Scott sez:  I hear Chris Jericho was a big fan of it, though) HHH bails, but an attempt to post Angle from the outside backfires. Brawl outside, HHH meets the stairs. Back in, Angle misses a blind charge and gets posted, and HHH adds a chairshot to the knee for good measure. He drops Angle kneefirst on the stairs, then back for a clip. He pounds the knee, ala Ric Flair. I apologize in advance to any HHH advocates out there for comparing him to an aging, semi-retired ex-star currently wrestling in WCW. I further apologize in advance to any Flair advocates out there for comparing him to a gassed up, egomanical manipulator with a limited moveset and bad music. If, in the body of the previous two apologies I have offended either HHH or Flair advocates while apologizing to the opposite number, I apologize in advance also. Man, this political correctness stuff is complicated. Is there some kind of “Spirtual Enlightenment For Dummies” book out there I can brush up on so I too can find my inner child, move to Florida and vote Democrat? I hear Chyna’s book is a good start. On second thought, I think I’d rather just poke my own eyes out. (2012 Scott sez:  I ended up buying that book in a discount bin years later for $1.  Still not worth it.)  HHH goes into a weird deathlock variation, and Angle fights out, but walks into a facebuster. HHH slaps a figure-four on him and uses the ropes, but Trish gets involved and suddenly a HUGE catfight with Stephanie erupts, drawing about 100x more heat than the match. They’re impressively banging each other around outside the ring and seem to ready to move onto clawing each others’ eyes out, but Vince struts out to stop them. They continue fighting right around him, drawing a big pop from the crowd. Vince finally resorts to putting Trish over his shoulder and carrying her out, but Steph knocks them over and goes to town again, before everyone eventually makes it back to the dressing room. Everyone suddenly remembers the match ongoing, as Angle gets a small package for two. He shoves HHH to the post on a figure-four attempt, and they slug it out. DDT gets two. Atomic drop & german suplex get two. Russian legsweep sets up a trip to the top, which HHH prevents via a Razor’s Edge (!!!) for two. The conspiracist in me would go “Hmmmm” right about now. (2012 Scott sez:  Nothing to that one, of course.)  Pedigree attempt is blocked with a slingshot, which is in turn blocked by HHH, which in turn accidentally countered by Angle with a lowblow. Moonsault gets two for Angle. Hunter dumps him and the ref is bumped. Hunter posts Angle…and goes to the top? Angle armdrags him off, no ref. Angle goes to help him up, but the poor sap gets bumped AGAIN. HHH grabs the belt, but Angle meets him with a belly-to-belly. HHH comes back with the Pedigree, no ref. Steve Austin runs in, tosses the ref back in, KICK WHAM STUNNER and Angle gets the pin to retain at 24:12. See, now that’s the finish that Austin-Angle from RAW should have had. Although a clean finish on a PPV is infinitely preferable, especially when Angle is turning into Honky Tonk Man 2000 with all the cheap wins and frequent non-title jobs. Overbooking stupidity and crowd apathy aside, this was much better worked than the Unforgiven match. ***3/4  (2012 Scott sez:  Sounds a tad high to me considering the generally disappointing nature of their feud, but it was a hell of a match and actually started Angle down the road to becoming a badass.)  Royal Rumble: Jeff Hardy is #1, Bull Buchanan is #2. Bull pounds Jeff, who comes back with a headscissors. Jeff escapes a press slam, but gets pounded in the corner. They to put each other out, as Matt Hardy is #3. They bounce Bull in short order. Matt and Jeff go at it, as Jeff hits a jawbreaker and tries to put him out. Faarooq is #4, and he misses the Dominator and takes the Twist of Fate/Swanton finisher and goes over the top quickly after. Matt then dumps Jeff, who sneaks back in under the ropes. They square off again as Drew Carey is #5, and hangs out around the ring for a couple of minutes. The Hardyz eliminate each other and Drew celebrates. Until Kane comes in at #6, at which point he craps himself. He tries a bribe, then resorts to cowering until Raven comes at #7, allowing Drew the chance to graciously eliminate himself and get the hell out. Kane kills Raven, so he bails and starts tossing weapons into the ring in desperation. Al Snow is #8, as he nails Kane with the bowling ball and hits the SEVEN-TEN SPLIT OF DEATH on Raven. Raven & Snow put aside their differences to pound on Kane with trashcans, and ram him headfirst into one. Perry Saturn is #9, as he joins in and makes it 3-on-1. Kane fights them off, but a Raven sleeper puts him down. Steve Blackman is #10, and he blows the entire plan by attacking the other guys and allowing everyone to pair off. Grandmaster Sexay is #11, and he gets some shots in before Kane whacks him so hard with a trashcan that he flies right over the top. Kane then dumps Snow, Raven, Blackman and Saturn for good measure, ending the hardcore segment and leaving him alone. Honky Tonk Man is #12, and he stops to thank the crowd and sing his song. Kane of course destroys him and tosses him out. Funny stuff. Rock is #13. He lays the smack down, but can’t toss Kane. Kane pounds him and hits the big boot. Goodfather is #14…or, I mean, he WAS #14, leaving in about that many seconds via the Rock. Kane suplexes Rock and chokes him out, then hits a sideslam. Tazz is #15, and lasts even less than Goodfather. Kane continues beating on Rock. Bradshaw is #16. He’s more than happy to go after Kane, Rock and anyone else. Rock hits a spinebuster, then Kane lariats him. Albert is #17, as everyone pairs off and plays “You lay on the top rope and I’ll try to push you out” for a bit. (2012 Scott sez:  I was somewhat amused that they actually wrote that mechanic into the Rumble match in the videogames recently, as you put the guy onto the ropes and then play a button-mashing minigame to eliminate him.)  Hardcore Holly is #18, and takes the brunt of the punishment. Rock dumps Kane, but can’t get him off the apron. K-Kwik is #19 and looks lost. Match slows down a LOT here as the ring is filling up with too much deadwood. Val Venis is #20 and adds nothing. William Regal is #21, match still drags. Test is #22 and he tosses Regal, but there’s about 10 guys in there and nothing’s going on. Big Show makes his return at #23, which must indicate how many boxes of Ho-Hos he ate that morning, because he’s still pretty goddamned fat and slow. Remind me not to look up OVW for any weight-training solutions. He disposes of Test and K-Kwik, then hands out chokeslams like candy. Albert! Bradshaw! Venis! Holly! Kane! Rock…no wait, Rock in fact blocks it and dumps Big Show. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, he never really got back down to the 1999 weight they were shooting for with him, no matter how much they nagged and nearly fired him over it.)  Crash Holly is #24, as Big Show drags Rock out and chokeslams him through the table. Oh, GOODIE, another Big Show-Rock feud. Maybe we can get another four-way at Wrestlemania, with Austin taking Mick Foley’s place. Wouldn’t that be KEEN? Everyone suddenly gets smart and goes after Kane, to no avail. Undertaker is #25, and thank god because maybe he’ll thin out all the extra bodies. Bradshaw, Albert, Crash, Hardcore and Venis all exit stage left, leaving the Brothers Grim alone to compare hair-care notes. Scotty 2 Hotty has the misfortune of being #26, and he dies without putting up much of a fuss. The crowd, possibly expecting him to make a big comeback and hit a double-Worm on both guys, seems more bummed than usual to see him tossed. Rock struggles back in as Steve Austin is #27, and right on cue HHH runs out and beats the bejesus out of him. Billy Gunn is #28, and he holds off UT & Kane as the refs drag Hunter away from Austin. UT gets a DDT on Rock, and THE MONSTERMENG (re-dubbed Haku) is #29. You know, it’s so funny and darkly ironic when WCW spends tons of money smugly stealing all of Paul Heyman’s uncontracted talent, only to put a singles title on a guy with a day-to-day working deal and then expect the WWF NOT to make him a solid offer to jump ship at the earliest possible opportunity. Strike One on Uncle Eric right off the bat. Not a good sign.(2012 Scott sez:  So weird how things progressed so quickly from there.  Wonder why Haku didn’t stick around for the Invasion, anyway?) Anyhoo, he blitzes UT and Kane, but gets double-teamed, and everyone pairs off. Rikishi is #30, and we’re one sibling away from an Islanders reunion, and two away from a Headshrinker reunion. Throw Barbarian in there, and you’ve reunited the Headshinkers 2.0 AND the Faces of Fear at the same time. Spooky, huh? Rikishi stops to brawl with a bloodied Austin, and this awakes the giant. Austin enters the match and beats the hell out of Billy Gunn, then dumps Haku. Rock goes out, under the ropes, and back in again. Rikishi superkicks Undertaker out, nonchalantly. He tries the same approach with Rock on a banzai drop, but gets dumped over and out for his troubles. – Final Four: Steve Austin, The Rock, Kane, Billy Gunn. Gee, I wonder who goes first here? Austin disposes of Rockabilly soon enough, leaving Kane to take a breather and THE MEGAPOWERS EXPLODE! So I guess Kane is Akeem and Undertaker is Big Bossman? But who’s Elizabeth? (2012 Scott sez:  Debra, as it turned out.)  Slugfest and the crowd is torn. Rock Bottom is blocked, KICK WHAM STUNNER. Kane goes after Austin, but gets Thesz-pressed. Austin walks into a Rock Bottom, and Rock tosses Kane…THROUGH the ropes, so no go. Austin and Rock pound each other, but Kane sneaks up to dump both, only getting Rock out in the process (!!!). Man, there goes my sure-fire pick. Chokeslam for Austin and Kane gets a chair, but it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER again, and a bunch of chairshots send Kane to the floor at 61:38 after an admirable 55-minute performance, and Steve Austin will be YOUR challenger for the WWF title at Wrestlemania 17. Good Rumble, with a bunch of very noticeable slow spots. ***1/2  (2012 Scott sez:  I’d go up to ****, actually.  Hell of a Rumble, with some major league firepower and a situation where you legitimately had no idea if either Rock or Austin was going to win.)  The Bottom Line: Everyone in the entire world save the WWF seems to know that Austin turning heel, winning the title, and losing it to Rock at WM is the way to sell out the building and make billions on the PPV, but they seem to going about it in the opposite direction, building to another Rocky job to Austin. (2012 Scott sez:  Yup.  Not only that, but Austin’s heel turn came AFTER the title win and marked the end of their peak as a company.)  I would personally question Austin as a long-term babyface given his health issues, but if they have confidence in the guy, that’s good enough for me. At any rate, booking qualms aside, this was an AWESOME PPV, the best they’ve done since Summerslam 2000. We’ll ignore the Women’s title debacle and point out the sheer awesomeness of all the other matches, and I heartily recommend ordering the replay and watching Benoit and Jericho do inhumane things to each other with a ladder. Good effort all around here. Thumbs way up.  (2012 Scott sez:  This one gets forgotten a lot, even by me.  Great show.)  

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2001

The SK Rant for WWF Royal Rumble 2001 – Live from New Orleans, LA. – Your hosts are JIM BY GOD ROSS and JERRY THE BY GOD KING LAWLER. – Earlier tonight on Heat, Lo Down beat Kaientai in a match to determine which of the four would enter the Royal Rumble.Opening match, WWF tag team titles: Edge & Christian v. The Dudley Boyz. Brawl to start. Dudleyz quickly take over on Christian. D-Von gets an elbow for two. Buh Buh’s elbowdrop gets two. Sideslam gets two. D-Von takes a cheapshot from the outside and gets suplexed to play brother-in-peril. Edge neckbreaker gets two, and we HIT THE CHINLOCK to slow things down. D-Von rams them into each other and rolls Edge up for two. Conchairto, but D-Von ducks it, and makes the hot tag to Buh Buh. Hotshot for Edge, full nelson drop for Christian. They hit the Wassup Drop on Edge, and D-Von…GETS THE TABLE. Whoops, Christian is there to prevent it and they brawl as Buh Buh rolls up a distracted Edge for two. They try 3D on Christian, but Edge spears Buh Buh as Christian DDTs D-Von. Edge and Christian try their own version of the Wassup Drop, but Buh Buh rolls Christian onto the bottom and he takes the headbutt to the nads, leaving Edge alone with the Dudleyz for 3D, and we have NEW champions at 10:10. Well, they had to job the champs here, because if they won this match then it would have been the New Age Outlaws situation all over again, where the champs are SO dominant that only a super-team like Rockertaker can beat them. This match, though, was VERY good and got the crowd right fired up. ***1/2 (2012 Scott sez:  Plus it also set up the first ever TLC match at Wrestlemania X-7, so there’s that going on too.)  Ladder match, Intercontinental title: Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho. Jericho gets a clothesline and some wicked CANADIAN VIOLENCE in the corner to start. Benoit goes for the Crossface, but Jericho rolls into the Walls of Jericho. Eh, that spot is played. Benoit posts him and hits a shoulderbreaker, and Jericho comes back with a forearm. He tries the springboard dropkick, but Benoit moves out of the way. They head for the ladder, but Benoit sends him headfirst to the post and grabs the ladder. Jericho goes to the stairs for good measure and Benoit sets up the ladder for the first try. Jericho stops him with an electric chair drop off the ladder. Before you even write me, an electric chair drop is where a guy is sitting on your shoulders in chicken-fight position, and you fall back, dropping the guy on his back. Jericho grabs the ladder and rams it into Benoit’s head, and then again to the abs. He sets the ladder onto the top turnbuckle, but Benoit whips him into it to return the favor. Jericho bails and Benoit chases with a tope suicida, but Jericho absolutely DESTROYS him with a chairshot in mid-air. Benoit is insane to do that spot. Jericho suplexes him on the railing and tries to ride the ladder down onto him, but Benoit moves and rams the ladder into Jericho’s face for fun. Back in, Benoit gets a lariat and retrieves the ladder. He rams Jericho into it, shoulderfirst in the corner, but a second try is reversed. Dropkick puts Benoit down, and Jericho crotches him in the ladder’s rungs in the corner. They both fall backwards, with the ladder on top of them. Jericho grabs it first, but Benoit dropkicks it on him and hits a backdrop suplex. He puts the ladder on the top, but Jericho whips him into it again, then see-saws the ladder into Benoit’s jaw. Jericho pushes the ladder at Benoit and missile dropkicks it into him, then climbs for the belt. Benoit suplexes him right out of the ring! Yeah, that’s some quality Alberta-grade hurting. Benoit climbs, but Jericho pushes him backwards so he’s balanced on the top on his lower back, and then applies the Walls of Jericho on top of the ladder! Big reaction from the crowd for that one. Benoit kicks the ladder over with his last bit of energy and we have a double-KO spot. Jericho gets the ladder first and flattens Benoit, but Benoit yanks him off it and puts him in the Crossface on the way down to further damage the shoulder. Back to the post, but Jericho hotshots him onto the ladder. Jericho rams him into the corner with the ladder, and they both climb it. Jericho falls off, but Benoit misses the swandive headbutt from the top of the ladder. Jericho tries putting the ladder right ONTO Benoit to hold him down, but Benoit powers it off and pushes it over. He climbs, but Jericho gets a chair and goes to town, knocking Benoit silly, and then right out of the ring, leaving Jericho free to climb the ladder (bad shoulder and all) and claim his fourth Intercontinental title at 18:48. Nothing does my heart good like two Canadians pounding the shit out of each other with hardware. ****3/4 Would have been a bit higher with a faster pace and less of the slow-climb nonsense. (2012 Scott sez:  It’s always bugged me that people are supposedly highly-trained athletes and they can’t even make it up a damn ladder in less than 30 seconds.  The same thing is even built right into the videogame versions as well.  This match, however, ruled hard, and features the famous Liontamer ladder spot.  Benoit was on quite the roll in 2001 as far as adjusting to the WWF style and getting awesome matches out of it.)  WWF Women’s title: Ivory v. Chyna. Chyna goes all Ultimate Warrior to start, treating poor Ivory like a jobber and bumping her all over the place. She stomps a mudhole, then sends her over the top. Into the crowd, Chyna press-slams Ivory back to ringside and back in we go for a crappy-looking powerslam. Steven Richards comes in and is forced to sell for Joanie Hellwig, too. (2012 Scott sez:  There’s definitely some parallels to be made between those two.)  She goes for the HANDSPRING OF DOOM, but the bitter hand of irony strikes her down, as the shock of actually making physical contact on one of her moves causes a relapse of that miraculously healed neck injury, and Ivory gets the pin at 3:33. So the WWF is trying to tell me here that she can do three backflips with a bad neck, but brushing against Ivory causes a stinger? DUD They haul her ass out on the stretcher, with Ross doing his whole “Fans, this is a SHOOT, and a tragedy…” shtick just to cheapen the impact even more the next time a REAL injury occurs and then the muckity-mucks are forced to wonder why no one buys it. (2012 Scott sez:  Well it’s no AJ getting knocked down by Big Show, that’s for sure.)  I’m shocked Chyna didn’t try to sell the EMTs a copy of her book on the way out. Hey, remember Droz? Apparently the WWF doesn’t. We were personally hoping for them to load her into the ambulance, only to see the Undertaker turning around to go “WHERE TO, JOANIE?” in that menacing tone of his, but alas, it didn’t happen. Final note: I’d bring up the last time Jerry Lawler ran into the ring to check on the victim of a bad injury while Jim Ross got all choked up at ringside, but then I’d be forced to vomit all over my keyboard and point out what a socially diseased piece of garbage Vince McMahon really is under all the PR fluff for doing such an angle right after settling a multi-million dollar lawsuit and destroying an entire family in the process. And that would just break up the great groove this show is getting into. – Just to catch y’all up on some stuff, there’s about a million backstage skits throughout the show, the point of which are to establish Drew Carey is at the show, and he hit on Trish Stratus at the urging of Stephanie, and Vince is thus pissed at him and “rewards” his loyalty to the WWF by offering him a slot in the Royal Rumble. Drew runs into Kane while changing and makes a wisecrack, and meanwhile Vince then informs Lo Down that Drew has their spot in the match. (2012 Scott sez:  Your future Hall of Famer, ladies and gentlemen!) And Trish and Steph hate each other. A lot. I still think if the WWF really wants to hit the sleaze-merchant jackpot, they’ll have them start a torrid love affair with each other (I assume Trish would be the femme), but I guess the world isn’t ready for a lesbian angle yet. (2012 Scott sez:  We kinda sorta got one with Trish v. Mickie) Speaking of lesbians, I was watching a crime-analysis show on TLC (normally the domain of Bill Kurtis on A&E) that was hosted by crime novelist Ed McBain, talking about the famous Lizzy Borden trial (and acquital). After bandying about several conspiracy theories about who REALLY killed the Borden family, McBain put forth his own theory: Lizzy in fact did it, because she was a raging homo inside and got caught in bed with the maid one day, thus prompting her father to write her out of the will and triggering Lizzy’s murderous rampage with a hatchet. I hear Jerry Springer wants to exhume the bodies of everyone involved and have them on an upcoming show: “My Lesbian Daughter is Sleeping With the Maid and Murdered Me With a Hatchet!” So there you go, all caught up. – WWF title match: Kurt Angle v. HHH. Wristlock sequence to start, and Angle gets a hiptoss. HHH bails. Back in, HHH pounds him down in the corner, but Angle backdrops him and goes back to the arm. Three suplexes get two. Brawl outside, which HHH gets the best of. Back in, HHH drop toeholds Angle into a Native American deathlock. This political correctness stuff is going too far. I hear Bill Maher got in trouble for comparing the mentally retarded to dogs. Now, I can see where certain pinko liberalists might get their panties in a knot over this comparison, and certainly I don’t think people should go start referring to them as dogs in an off-hand manner, but can anyone honestly tell me whose good is being served by standing up for the feelings of people who probably wouldn’t even be watching the show in the first place, and likely wouldn’t get the analogy if they heard it? And is there some scientific inaccuracy here? I mean, the truth hurts, but there are some VERY smart dogs out there on the average, and it’s not exactly an unfair analogy for Maher to state that, like a dog, the mentally retarded people he has known had limited intellect, but were loving and loyal. I mean, what, if he had compared them to a cuter animal it would have been okay? And where are these same tree-hugging morons to stand up for truth, justice and the American Way when someone lumps all the wrestling fans together as knuckle-dragging Neanderthals on a national broadcast and laughs about it? Maybe the energy spent protecting us plebes from free thought would be better spent improving the conditions and treatment in the mental hospitals and institutions where most of those afflicted with mental retardation are sent to rot, hmm? Or is just easier to pretend that they have no problem and are happier with a child’s IQ and no hope for surviving past 50, as long as we call them “Mentally Challenged” or “Vince Russo” or whatever the PC name is this week? Ah well, the world is going to hell, what can ya do? (2012 Scott sez:  That seemed excessively angry just to set up a Vince Russo punchline.  And does anyone still give a crap about Bill Maher?) Oh yeah, the match. Hunter gets a legwhip, but Angle gives him an enzuigiri on a second try and gets two. HHH goes back to the knee as the announcers’ conversation veers to Andy Kaufman and how little money Man on the Moon made. (2012 Scott sez:  I hear Chris Jericho was a big fan of it, though) HHH bails, but an attempt to post Angle from the outside backfires. Brawl outside, HHH meets the stairs. Back in, Angle misses a blind charge and gets posted, and HHH adds a chairshot to the knee for good measure. He drops Angle kneefirst on the stairs, then back for a clip. He pounds the knee, ala Ric Flair. I apologize in advance to any HHH advocates out there for comparing him to an aging, semi-retired ex-star currently wrestling in WCW. I further apologize in advance to any Flair advocates out there for comparing him to a gassed up, egomanical manipulator with a limited moveset and bad music. If, in the body of the previous two apologies I have offended either HHH or Flair advocates while apologizing to the opposite number, I apologize in advance also. Man, this political correctness stuff is complicated. Is there some kind of “Spirtual Enlightenment For Dummies” book out there I can brush up on so I too can find my inner child, move to Florida and vote Democrat? I hear Chyna’s book is a good start. On second thought, I think I’d rather just poke my own eyes out. (2012 Scott sez:  I ended up buying that book in a discount bin years later for $1.  Still not worth it.)  HHH goes into a weird deathlock variation, and Angle fights out, but walks into a facebuster. HHH slaps a figure-four on him and uses the ropes, but Trish gets involved and suddenly a HUGE catfight with Stephanie erupts, drawing about 100x more heat than the match. They’re impressively banging each other around outside the ring and seem to ready to move onto clawing each others’ eyes out, but Vince struts out to stop them. They continue fighting right around him, drawing a big pop from the crowd. Vince finally resorts to putting Trish over his shoulder and carrying her out, but Steph knocks them over and goes to town again, before everyone eventually makes it back to the dressing room. Everyone suddenly remembers the match ongoing, as Angle gets a small package for two. He shoves HHH to the post on a figure-four attempt, and they slug it out. DDT gets two. Atomic drop & german suplex get two. Russian legsweep sets up a trip to the top, which HHH prevents via a Razor’s Edge (!!!) for two. The conspiracist in me would go “Hmmmm” right about now. (2012 Scott sez:  Nothing to that one, of course.)  Pedigree attempt is blocked with a slingshot, which is in turn blocked by HHH, which in turn accidentally countered by Angle with a lowblow. Moonsault gets two for Angle. Hunter dumps him and the ref is bumped. Hunter posts Angle…and goes to the top? Angle armdrags him off, no ref. Angle goes to help him up, but the poor sap gets bumped AGAIN. HHH grabs the belt, but Angle meets him with a belly-to-belly. HHH comes back with the Pedigree, no ref. Steve Austin runs in, tosses the ref back in, KICK WHAM STUNNER and Angle gets the pin to retain at 24:12. See, now that’s the finish that Austin-Angle from RAW should have had. Although a clean finish on a PPV is infinitely preferable, especially when Angle is turning into Honky Tonk Man 2000 with all the cheap wins and frequent non-title jobs. Overbooking stupidity and crowd apathy aside, this was much better worked than the Unforgiven match. ***3/4  (2012 Scott sez:  Sounds a tad high to me considering the generally disappointing nature of their feud, but it was a hell of a match and actually started Angle down the road to becoming a badass.)  Royal Rumble: Jeff Hardy is #1, Bull Buchanan is #2. Bull pounds Jeff, who comes back with a headscissors. Jeff escapes a press slam, but gets pounded in the corner. They to put each other out, as Matt Hardy is #3. They bounce Bull in short order. Matt and Jeff go at it, as Jeff hits a jawbreaker and tries to put him out. Faarooq is #4, and he misses the Dominator and takes the Twist of Fate/Swanton finisher and goes over the top quickly after. Matt then dumps Jeff, who sneaks back in under the ropes. They square off again as Drew Carey is #5, and hangs out around the ring for a couple of minutes. The Hardyz eliminate each other and Drew celebrates. Until Kane comes in at #6, at which point he craps himself. He tries a bribe, then resorts to cowering until Raven comes at #7, allowing Drew the chance to graciously eliminate himself and get the hell out. Kane kills Raven, so he bails and starts tossing weapons into the ring in desperation. Al Snow is #8, as he nails Kane with the bowling ball and hits the SEVEN-TEN SPLIT OF DEATH on Raven. Raven & Snow put aside their differences to pound on Kane with trashcans, and ram him headfirst into one. Perry Saturn is #9, as he joins in and makes it 3-on-1. Kane fights them off, but a Raven sleeper puts him down. Steve Blackman is #10, and he blows the entire plan by attacking the other guys and allowing everyone to pair off. Grandmaster Sexay is #11, and he gets some shots in before Kane whacks him so hard with a trashcan that he flies right over the top. Kane then dumps Snow, Raven, Blackman and Saturn for good measure, ending the hardcore segment and leaving him alone. Honky Tonk Man is #12, and he stops to thank the crowd and sing his song. Kane of course destroys him and tosses him out. Funny stuff. Rock is #13. He lays the smack down, but can’t toss Kane. Kane pounds him and hits the big boot. Goodfather is #14…or, I mean, he WAS #14, leaving in about that many seconds via the Rock. Kane suplexes Rock and chokes him out, then hits a sideslam. Tazz is #15, and lasts even less than Goodfather. Kane continues beating on Rock. Bradshaw is #16. He’s more than happy to go after Kane, Rock and anyone else. Rock hits a spinebuster, then Kane lariats him. Albert is #17, as everyone pairs off and plays “You lay on the top rope and I’ll try to push you out” for a bit. (2012 Scott sez:  I was somewhat amused that they actually wrote that mechanic into the Rumble match in the videogames recently, as you put the guy onto the ropes and then play a button-mashing minigame to eliminate him.)  Hardcore Holly is #18, and takes the brunt of the punishment. Rock dumps Kane, but can’t get him off the apron. K-Kwik is #19 and looks lost. Match slows down a LOT here as the ring is filling up with too much deadwood. Val Venis is #20 and adds nothing. William Regal is #21, match still drags. Test is #22 and he tosses Regal, but there’s about 10 guys in there and nothing’s going on. Big Show makes his return at #23, which must indicate how many boxes of Ho-Hos he ate that morning, because he’s still pretty goddamned fat and slow. Remind me not to look up OVW for any weight-training solutions. He disposes of Test and K-Kwik, then hands out chokeslams like candy. Albert! Bradshaw! Venis! Holly! Kane! Rock…no wait, Rock in fact blocks it and dumps Big Show. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, he never really got back down to the 1999 weight they were shooting for with him, no matter how much they nagged and nearly fired him over it.)  Crash Holly is #24, as Big Show drags Rock out and chokeslams him through the table. Oh, GOODIE, another Big Show-Rock feud. Maybe we can get another four-way at Wrestlemania, with Austin taking Mick Foley’s place. Wouldn’t that be KEEN? Everyone suddenly gets smart and goes after Kane, to no avail. Undertaker is #25, and thank god because maybe he’ll thin out all the extra bodies. Bradshaw, Albert, Crash, Hardcore and Venis all exit stage left, leaving the Brothers Grim alone to compare hair-care notes. Scotty 2 Hotty has the misfortune of being #26, and he dies without putting up much of a fuss. The crowd, possibly expecting him to make a big comeback and hit a double-Worm on both guys, seems more bummed than usual to see him tossed. Rock struggles back in as Steve Austin is #27, and right on cue HHH runs out and beats the bejesus out of him. Billy Gunn is #28, and he holds off UT & Kane as the refs drag Hunter away from Austin. UT gets a DDT on Rock, and THE MONSTERMENG (re-dubbed Haku) is #29. You know, it’s so funny and darkly ironic when WCW spends tons of money smugly stealing all of Paul Heyman’s uncontracted talent, only to put a singles title on a guy with a day-to-day working deal and then expect the WWF NOT to make him a solid offer to jump ship at the earliest possible opportunity. Strike One on Uncle Eric right off the bat. Not a good sign.(2012 Scott sez:  So weird how things progressed so quickly from there.  Wonder why Haku didn’t stick around for the Invasion, anyway?) Anyhoo, he blitzes UT and Kane, but gets double-teamed, and everyone pairs off. Rikishi is #30, and we’re one sibling away from an Islanders reunion, and two away from a Headshrinker reunion. Throw Barbarian in there, and you’ve reunited the Headshinkers 2.0 AND the Faces of Fear at the same time. Spooky, huh? Rikishi stops to brawl with a bloodied Austin, and this awakes the giant. Austin enters the match and beats the hell out of Billy Gunn, then dumps Haku. Rock goes out, under the ropes, and back in again. Rikishi superkicks Undertaker out, nonchalantly. He tries the same approach with Rock on a banzai drop, but gets dumped over and out for his troubles. – Final Four: Steve Austin, The Rock, Kane, Billy Gunn. Gee, I wonder who goes first here? Austin disposes of Rockabilly soon enough, leaving Kane to take a breather and THE MEGAPOWERS EXPLODE! So I guess Kane is Akeem and Undertaker is Big Bossman? But who’s Elizabeth? (2012 Scott sez:  Debra, as it turned out.)  Slugfest and the crowd is torn. Rock Bottom is blocked, KICK WHAM STUNNER. Kane goes after Austin, but gets Thesz-pressed. Austin walks into a Rock Bottom, and Rock tosses Kane…THROUGH the ropes, so no go. Austin and Rock pound each other, but Kane sneaks up to dump both, only getting Rock out in the process (!!!). Man, there goes my sure-fire pick. Chokeslam for Austin and Kane gets a chair, but it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER again, and a bunch of chairshots send Kane to the floor at 61:38 after an admirable 55-minute performance, and Steve Austin will be YOUR challenger for the WWF title at Wrestlemania 17. Good Rumble, with a bunch of very noticeable slow spots. ***1/2  (2012 Scott sez:  I’d go up to ****, actually.  Hell of a Rumble, with some major league firepower and a situation where you legitimately had no idea if either Rock or Austin was going to win.)  The Bottom Line: Everyone in the entire world save the WWF seems to know that Austin turning heel, winning the title, and losing it to Rock at WM is the way to sell out the building and make billions on the PPV, but they seem to going about it in the opposite direction, building to another Rocky job to Austin. (2012 Scott sez:  Yup.  Not only that, but Austin’s heel turn came AFTER the title win and marked the end of their peak as a company.)  I would personally question Austin as a long-term babyface given his health issues, but if they have confidence in the guy, that’s good enough for me. At any rate, booking qualms aside, this was an AWESOME PPV, the best they’ve done since Summerslam 2000. We’ll ignore the Women’s title debacle and point out the sheer awesomeness of all the other matches, and I heartily recommend ordering the replay and watching Benoit and Jericho do inhumane things to each other with a ladder. Good effort all around here. Thumbs way up.  (2012 Scott sez:  This one gets forgotten a lot, even by me.  Great show.)