Thursday, 30 January 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Insurrexion 2000

WWF Insurrexion 2000 - Event Poster
May 6, 2000
Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England

From the night The British Bulldog beat Bret 'The Hitman' Hart for the Intercontinental Championship (whether he wanted to or not) in front of a sold out crowd at Wembley Arena to the night he rather unceremoniously dropped the European Championship to Shawn Michaels in front of a Birmingham crowd which happened to include this writer, the World Wrestling Federation had always been able to rely on Davey Boy Smith to help them sell-out shows on English soil.  

Yet over the last few years, the Wigan-born wrestler's star had greatly diminished without any negative impact on the company's British box office numbers.

UK fans were still more than happy to sell out arenas to see headline acts like The Rock and Triple, leaving Bulldog to play a bit-part cameo on shows which, once upon a time, would have been built entirely around him.


Tonight, Davey Boy would put in not only his final UK PPV appearance but his final PPV appearance ever, adding a somewhat somber note to an otherwise enjoyable show.

Here's what went down when the first Insurrexion event came to us live from the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in London, England.


Three Men, One Gold

WWF Insurrexion 2000 - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler
Our event this evening began with the standard WWF video package, complete with a brooding, dramatic voice-over which told us that tonight we'd see WWF Champion The Rock taking on Triple H and Shane McMahon in a triple threat match.

This was a logical development given what happened between the three men a week earlier at Backlash 2000, and the ever-impressive video package did a good job of making this match seem like the biggest deal ever.

As was the norm, the video was followed by a scan of the rabid Attitude Era crowd and a welcome from Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler, after which we went straight into our opening contest.

Too Cool (Scotty 2 Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay) vs. The Radicalz (WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Dean Malenko & Perry Saturn)

WWF Insurrexion 2000 - Dean Malenko covers Scotty 2 Hotty
This was a fun, if not necessarily spectacular, opener.

Though nowhere near on the same level as the Scotty 2 Hotty/Dean Malenko clash from Backlash, it did at least deliver everything you could ask from competitors whose only job was to get the crowd pumped up for the rest of the show.

Too Cool were super over in England, while Malenko and Perry Saturn were having issues which, according to JR, stemmed from Saturn being the only member of The Radicalz not to have a WWF title.

At one point, the two got into a shoving contest and were never quite able to get back on the same page, resulting in Saturn inadvertently clotheslining the Light Heavyweight Champion and tha always-fun spot where one guy falls to the mat and accidentally headbutts the other guy's testicles.

Obviously, this all led to a win for the good guys courtesy of Grandmaster Sexay's Hip Hop Drop.
Your Winners: Too Cool

Post-match, Saturn and Malenko came to blows until they were separated by a gaggle of referees.

Meanwhile, back in the dressing room, Mae Young and The Kat talked about how they were going to work together in their upcoming match. A spooky promo for Judgement Day followed, then it was back out into the arena for a word from The Chairman.

Nothing Ever Happens in England

WWF Insurrexion 2000 - Vince McMahon cut a scathing promo
Proving himself to be one of the best heels of all time, Vince McMahon was absolutely loathed by the London crowd as he stepped out onto the stage to cut a scathing promo against The Rock, the people of London, and the UK as a whole.

According to Vince, nothing of any consequence ever happened in England, and that, he claimed, was exactly what The Rock was counting on, knowing that when he lost the title here tonight, nobody would know about it.

Eliciting a loud 'ASSHOLE' chant from the Earls Court faithful, McMahon guaranteed that not only would a McMahon family member become the new champion tonight, but that he would make sure the whole world new about it.

This was awesome stuff from the boss.

Bull Buchanan vs. Kane (w/ Paul Bearer)

WWF Insurrexion 2000 - Paul Bearer appeared with Kane
Up next, we were reminded that Bull Buchanan had helped The Big Boss Man attack Kane on Raw a month before tonight's show. That was as good enough a reason as any to have a match tonight.

Watching this short, explosive contest, I can't help but think that it's a shame WWE didn't do more with Buchanan. He was very athletic for his size and looked pretty decent in his offense. Unfortunately for him, simply looking good wasn't enough to win him a match.

After a brief period of being on the defense, Kane anihilated Buchanan and picked up a quick win.
Your Winner: Kane

Out in the back, Triple H fawned over Stephanie McMahon and said, almost bashfully, how happy he was that Vince McMahon had referred to him as a 'family member' when talking about our next WWF Champion.

Bursting her husband's bubble, Steph wasn't entirely sure that the 'McMahon family member' Vince had been referring to was actually The Game.

Road Dogg (w/ Tori) vs. Bradshaw (w/ Farooq)

WWF Insurrexion 2000 - Tori accompanied Road Dogg to the ring
Back in the arena, Hunter's DX buddy Road Dogg made his way to the ring with Tori in tow. I said this in last week's Backlash 2000 review, but it's kind of funny that DX members Road Dogg and X-Pac weren't featured in their own titantron but HHH and Run-DMC were.

As the D-O-Double-G did his usually pre-match schtick, Tori kind of flailed about the place, trying to get in on the act. Poor girl, she looked so awkward and out of place that it was hard not to feel bad for her.

The same could be said for Roadie's opponent, Bradshaw who, taking The Acolytes' new APA gimmick to a whole new level, had clearly been spending a lot more time sitting around drinking beer than he had in the gym.

Not that it really mattered when it came to the action.

Farooq got sent to the back early on after helping Bradshaw beat down Road Dogg, leaving the two legal competitors to give us a fun, five-minute effort in which Bradshaw mostly battered his opponent. A Torri distraction allowed Roadie to get a near-fall off a roll-up and then blast Bradshaw with a match-winning pump handle slam which was a little hard to believe when you consider the size difference between the two men.

Though it was too short to really mean anything, this was nonetheless another decent bout.
Your Winner: Road Dogg

WWF Insurrexion 2000 - Teri Runnels eating a bananaOut in the back, Michael Cole interviewed Terri Runnels and The Fabulous Moolah. Apparently, the former Marlena had trained for her upcoming arm-wrestling match with The Kat by sucking off a banana.

I'm not kidding.

Arm Wrestling Match
The Kat (w/ Mae Young) vs. Terri Runnels (w/ The Fabulous Moolah)

Perhaps the best thing anyone could say about this is that it happened.

Going down pretty much the same way that every arm wrestling match ever went down in pro wrestling history, this 'contest' saw Terri, the heel, stalling as much as possible.

First, she complained that The Kat's hands were greasy, then she stopped to drink some water, then she stopped to pull her hot pants off and do some stretches in a pink swimsuit which rode up her ass.

Eventually, the two got things underway, only for Terri to spit water in The Kat's face. Retaliating, Mae Young poured a whole bottle of water over Terri's head, allowing Kat to pick up the win.

WWF Insurrexion 2000 - Teri Runnels faced The Kat in an arm-wrestling contest
I mean, I won't lie, Terri Runnels was always smoking hot, but yeah, this was more embarassing than sexy.
Your Winner: The Kat

Post-match, Terri yanked off The Kat's top. Unphased, Kat flashed her puppies to the entire Earls Court Arena.

Clever camera work would prevent the WWE Network from having to do any editing years later.

#WomensRevolution

Whatcha gonna do with all that ass

Backstage, The Big Show and Rikishi were seen wearing matching show-as-much-ass-as-possible gear. This was during the phase when the WWF thought that the best way to use a 7ft former world champion monster was to make him "a guy who just likes to have fun."

As he and 'Kishi waddled towards the curtain, Hardcore Champion Crash Holly was seen pointing at them and laughing his butt off.

Elsewhere, The Rock arrived at the venue.

The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & Devon Dudley) vs. Showkishi & Rikishi

WWF Insurrexion 2000 - Bubba Ray Dudley with Rikishi's glasses
Though this was never going to be a five-star classic, this could at least have been a fun and entertaining tag match.

It wasn't.

OK, so it wasn't exactly terrible or anything, but it just wasn't very interesting.

I think part of the problem was that everyone -this writer included- was just waiting for the inevitable moment when Rikishi and Showkishi both hit simultaneous stinkfaces on their opponents.

Even when it happened, it was just kind of "meh, yep, there it is."

Towards the finish, Edge and Christian ran in. Edge speared Bubba Ray Dudley, Big Show landed a chokeslam and this one was over.
Your Winners: Rikishi and Showkishi

Afterwards, Too Cool returned to the ring and invited The Dudleyz to dance with them.

In a cool moment, Bubba Ray and Devon Dudley only accepted Too Cool's trademark yellow dancing shades if Too Cool accepted *their* trademark Dudley glasses. You know, the ECW-style ones.

This whole bit was far more entertaining than anything that happened in the ring.

Angle Does London

Up next, we were shown an entertaining video package of Kurt Angle wandering around London, introducing himself to bemused onlookers as their Olympic hero. Angle would take on Chris Benoit tonight, and The Crippler was in a foul mood.

Sporting a black eye after a brutal match with Chris Jericho on Smackdown which saw Y2J capture the Intercontinental title, Benoit cut a menacing promo in which he stated that Angle was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit

Making his way to the ring, Angle took to the microphone to insult the good people of England, insisting that our children were weak and uneducated, and that we would all be better off ditching the English language and learning American instead.

Benoit was out next, but before the two could lock up, Crash Holly stormed to ringside to do commentary. This was distracting. The Hardcore Champion forced Ross and Lawler to focus their attentions on him and his quest to 'fight an Englishman,' rather than on the match at hand.

This was a shame, because, as you'd well expect, Angle and Benoit delivered the goods here. Certainly, this wasn't the best match the two would ever have. Angle was still relatively new into his career here and lacked the big-match experience that would make his future bouts with The Crippler such classics.

Still, it was a fun, hard-hitting contest that saw The Olympic Gold Medalist pick up the win with an Angle Slam.

One small, little detail that really made this more enjoyable was the way Angle pinned Benoit. Earlier in the bout, he'd gone for two cover attempts, only for Benoit to grab the ropes each time. After the Angle Slam, however, Kurt made sure to not only hook the leg but also hold Benoit's arm in place, preventing him from getting the ropes.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle

Out in the back, Shane McMahon told Michael Cole that yes, Vince was supporting him in tonight's main event.

Another creepy Judgement Day promo followed, after which Crash Holly got his wish of fighting an Englishman when Wigan's own Davey Boy Smith made an unexpected return to the World Wrestling Federation.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion Crash Holly vs. The British Bulldog

WWF Insurrexion 2000 - The British Bulldog won the Hardcore title in his last PPV appearance
The match itself was fine. Like almost everything on the undercard so far, it was short and inoffensive with very little of note happening.

What was noteworthy was this would prove to be The British Bulldog's last ever PPV appearance.

After beating Crash with his trademark powerslam to win the Hardcore title, Davey Boy would meander around on Smackdown and Sunday Night heat for about a week before leaving the company altogether and ultimately passing away two years later.

What makes it sad is just how far Smith's stock had fallen. This is the guy who main evented Summerslam 1992 with Bret Hart and who, at the height of the Hart Foundation's popularity, also headlined One Night Only back in 1997 as Britain's returning hero.

Now he was involved in a throw-away spot on a card in London with zero fanfare, treated like just another run-of-the-mill midcarder.

I know not everybody will care or have the same sentimental attachment to this as I do, but I share a hometown with the Bulldog so he's always been one of my favourites.

Thanks for the memories, Davey Boy.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Hardcore Champion: The British Bulldog

Earlier in the day, WWF Tag Team Champions Edge & Christian were seen charging fans a fiver for autographs. Michael Cole turned up just as the two were asked for a photograph by a fan.

Cole held the camera as the tag champs posed with the fan, but at the last possible moment they both blocked the fan out of the shot so that it was just a picture of the two of them.

Trust me, it was funnier than I just made it sound.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy)

WWF Insurrexion 2000 - Christian puts a hurting on Jeff Hardy
Though both teams would go onto have better matches with one another, this was still nonetheless a good match that saw all four men work hard.

At one point, Jeff Hardy played face in peril which required some dubious officiating from referee Jimmy Korderas. Comically, King & JR decided to rag on Jimmy, not for his questionable refereeing, but for being 'follically challenged.'

After a solid outing, all hell broke loose, disintegrating into a four-man brawl which only ended when Edge ran in with the ring bell and killed his opponents.
Your Winners via Disqualification: The Hardy Boyz

Post-match, The Dudley Boyz ran down and destroyed the tag champs, even putting Edge through a table.

The European Champion Hates His Title

Before the next contest, Eddie Guerrero and Chyna came to the ring to generate as much heel heat as possible for Guerrero.

Foreshadowing Brexit by almost 20 years, Latino Heat talked about how Britons didn't really like being a part of Europe. That was fine by him, he said because he didn't like being the champion of Europe anyway.

Guerrero was the consummate heel here and played his role to perfection, riling the crowd up so much that there was practically a frenzy when his opponent, Y2J arrived on the scene and told them -in his best British accent- that they could "bloody well piss off."

Before locking up, referee Tim White flipped a coin to determine whether Jericho's IC title or Eddie's European belt would be on the line. Yes, this the exact same thing the WWF did seven months earlier at Rebellion 1999 when European Champion D'Lo Brown faced Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett.

Back then, the company made the curious decision not to have the European title defended in Europe. This time, however, they got it right, with Guerrero putting his gold on the line.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion Eddie Guerrero (w/ Chyna) vs. WWF Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho

WWF Insurrexion 2000 - Chris Jericho faced Eddie Guerrero
A lot had changed since these two last met on PPV back at WCW Fall Brawl 1997.

Though neither man was quite at the zenith of their careers, they were certainly much bigger stars than they'd been during their time in WCW's cruiserweight division. Take their heightened star power, a few years of extra experience, and add it to the already stellar ring-work the two had displayed at Fall Brawl, and you had the recipie for another fantastic performance from two all-time greats.

A really good showing that delivered everything you'd expect from a Jericho/Guerrero encounter, this tremendous match ended when Chyna kept the referee and got a flying dropkick to the mush for her troubles courtesy of Y2J. The distraction allowed Eddie to blast his rival with the title belt -a finish that had really been overplayed as of late- and retain his title.
Your Winner and Still WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero

In the build-up to our main event, we got a flashback to Backlash 2000 and The Rock's big world title win, followed by another compelling video package hyping tonight's three-way main event.

Naturally, all of this led to a backstage promo from the champion himself.

WWF Insurrexion 2000 - Finally, The Rock...Has come back to LondonFinally, The Rock has Come Back...to London

Shushing Michael Cole, The Great One was his usual ultra-charismatic self, cutting a captivating promo in which he claimed that the McMahons were all in-bred and didn't really trust each other.

Tonight, The People's Champion would overcome the odds and leave London still our WWF Champion, if our nostrils sensed what he was preparing for dinner.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion The Rock vs. Shane McMahon (w/ Vince McMahon) vs. Triple H (w/ WWF Women's Champion Stephanie McMahon)

Well, this was awesome.

WWF Insurrexion 2000 - The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Shane McMahon
Up until the inevitable moment when the two heels miscommunicated and turned on each other, it was essentially a handicap match, albeit a very entertaining one.

At one point, Shane O' Mac did his trademark, Ali-style shuffle. Not to be outdone, Triple H also floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee.

It was uncharacteristic of The Game, but it was sure was funny. Later, when things broke down, McMahon went for a moonsault on Triple H, missed, and landed on his feet. While that might not sound like much by today's standards, this was non-wrestler Shane McMahon, and it looked pretty cool.

Eventually, as most WWF main events did at the time, this one broke down into an overbooked mass of joyfully entertaining chaos. Referee Mike Chioda got squashed by Shane in the corner, Hunter hit the Pedigree on Rock, and Gerald Brisco ran in to make the count.

Before we got a new champion, however, The Rock made a last-minute kick out that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Irate, The Game drew back his fist and laid out Brisco before smashing the champion with Pedigree number two. Fraught, Vince McMahon himself hit the ring and struggled to squeeze his jacked-up frame into the referee shirt belonging to a much smaller Gerald Briscoe.

This is one humerous thing I've always loved about the WWF rulebook. Apparently the only thing you need to be a match official is the right attire. You could be ringside for an entire match and have no authority to count a fall, but as soon as you slip into the zebra stripes, you suddenly get Super Referee Powers.

Sadly for Vince, he wouldn't get to use his powers as Earl Hebner rushed to the ring and yanked Vince out of it. Vinny Mac went to punch Hebner, but the plucky official moved and The Chairman struck the ring post in what looked like a legitimatley painful spot.

Back in the ring, The People's Champion made the comeback we'd all been waiting for and destroyed Shane O' Mac with The People's Elbow. Hebner counted the three, and that was all she wrote.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: The Rock

With the show at an end, The Great One celebrated with the people of London while a ticked off Triple H stormed angrily backstage with Stephanie in tow.






There was a point, about an hour into Insurrexion 2000 when I thought this was going to go the way of most WWF UK shows, being nothing more than a glorified house show with better production values. From One Night Only to Capital Carnage and Rebellion, most events of this type featured throw-away bouts which, while not terrible, didn't exactly give you much to get excited about.

Everything about the first hour of this show seemed as though it was going the same way. Then, Benoit and Angle came out and things got better from there on in. OK, so the Bulldog/Crash Holly bout which was sandwiched in there wasn't exactly a show-stealer, but apart from that, everything from Benoit/Angle more than delivered.

The Eddie/Jericho bout and main event, in particular, were a lot of fun to watch. Those matches, along with The Hardyz contest and erm, a nice shot of Terri Runnels' bum, all contributed to what was the best WWF UK event since Summerslam 1992.




For other year 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
Other WWE UK events
    Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

    0 comments:

    Post a Comment

    Retro Pro Wrestling

    New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.