Thursday, 27 February 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Judgement Day 2000

WWE/ WWF - Judgement Day 2000 Event Poster
May 21, 2000,
Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky.

In the official history records (or at least on Wikipedia), Judgement Day 2000 is noted as being the first annual Judgement Day PPV.

While it's technically true that this was the event that kicked off a nine-year run for the franchise, it wasn't the first-ever Judgement Day PPV.

That took place back in October 1998 and featured The Rock competing in a throw-away match against his former Nation of Domination team mate Mark Henry as he moved one-step further to cementing his status as one of the company's biggest stars of all time.

Two years down the line, that's exacty what he was, a breakout superstar who would eventually transcend pro wrestling altogether and become one of the biggest movie stars in the world.

Tonight, one of The People's Champion's all-time greatest rivalries continued as The Great One went one-on-one with Triple H for the WWF title.

Here's what went down when Judgement Day 2000 came to us live from Louisville, Kentucky:






In One Hour, Everything Changes

Did you know that in one hour, 14,849 babies are born but 5,936 people die?

Did you know that in that same hour, 8,378 planes would take off in the US, causing 1.23 million passengers to 'contemplate disaster'?

No?

Well, you would if you watched WWF Judgement Day 2000 because tonight's opening video told us all these fascinating statistics as a way to introduce tonight's main event - a one-hour iron match between Triple H and The Rock.

In that one hour, according to this awesome video, those two men would see their life flash before their eyes as they duked it out in the ultimate battle for supremacy.

Epic pyro and a welcome from Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler followed, and with that, it was on with the show.

A Busy Night Ahead

WWE/ WWF - Mr McMahon, WWF Hardcore Champion Gerald Brisco, HHH and Stephanie McMahon
Out in the back, Vince McMahon gave a pep talk to his McMahon-Helmsley Faction, which was just himself, his kids, and DX.

As the boss got excited about each Faction member's match tonight, WWF Hardcore Champion Gerald Briscoe arrived on the scene, sticking around just long enough to inform McMahon that Pat Patterson had missed his flight and wouldn't be at the show.

"Missed his flight? How can we have a show without Patterson?" said McMahon, in a line that was way funnier than it probably meant to be.

Briscoe was sent out to get the group's coffee order, but, in a scene that would become oh-so familiar with the launch of the 24/7 title 19 years later, the champion got attacked by a bunch of random, nomark midcarders.

Elsewhere in the arena, Shawn Michaels, the special guest referee for tonight's main event, strutted down a corridor.

Kurt Angle and WWF Tag Team Champions Edge & Christian vs. Rikishi & Too Cool (Grandmaster Sexay & Scotty 2 Hotty)

WWE/ WWF - Judgement Day 2000 - Edge doing a Five-Second Pose as a Hillbilly
Judgement Day got off to a fine start with this tremendously fun contest.

The first half was played mostly for laughs. Kurt Angle came out first to claim that teenage girls everywhere thought he was "all that," before his partners, Edge & Christian joined him in a new Five Second Pose.

The three of them donned false teeth, strummed banjos and stomped their feet as a Jug Band.

It was hilarious.

Later, Too Cool did a bit where Grandmaster Sexay's pants fell down and Scotty 2 Hotty laughed at him for having a small penis.

Nope, not making that up.

Eventually, things segued into more of a proper wrestling match and were all the better for it.

All six men had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands in what was pretty much a flawless opener.

After some wonderful back-and-forth, Christian clocked Rikishi with the ring bell, but referee Teddy Long was too busy having palpitations in the corner because of how much he loved tag team matches.

That gave Grandmaster Sexay the chance to hit the Hip Hop Drop. 'Kishi covered edge, and this awesome opener was over.
Your Winners: Rikishi & Too Cool

WWE/ WWF - Judgement Day 2000 - Michael Cole interviews special guest referee Shawn Michaels
Post-matched, the babyfaces gave us their obligatory dance routine.

Out in the back, Michael Cole questioned whether Shawn Michaels was going to remain impartial in tonight's main event.

Michaels, whose last referee gig on PPV ended in controversial fashion at Summerslam 1997, insisted that despite Triple H being 'his boy,' he was going to do the job Linda McMahon hired him to do - be an unbiased referee.

Earlier, On Heat...


WWF European Champion Eddie Guerrero and Chyna arrived at the arena, only to be confronted by Dean Malenko.

WWE/ WWF - Judgement Day 2000 - Dean Malenko confronts Eddie Guerrero and Chyna
The Radicalz had all but disintegrated by now, and Malenko was ready to take Eddie's title. The Ice Man warned Chyna to stay out of tonight's European Championship match, but she and Eddie were too loved-up and goofy to take him seriously.

Bless, it was kinda nice to see the two looking genuinely happy working together.

One person who wasn't happy, however, was Perry Saturn, who confronted Malenko to declare that it would be he who came up trumps in the upcoming match.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion Eddie Guerrero (w/ Chyna) vs. Perry Saturn vs. WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Dean Malenko

By all accounts, this was a fun, eight-minute match with some of the best actual wrestling you were going to see on WWF TV during this time period.

Unfortunately, the Kentucky crowd didn't seem to care.

Brian Christopher flashing his undies? They went wild for that.

Eddie Guerrero busting out hurricanranas and top-rope arm-drags?

Meh, not so much.

WWE/ WWF - Judgement Day 2000 - Perry Saturn gets ready to leap onto Eddie Guerrero
Despite the lacklustre crowd response, the three men worked hard to deliver an enjoyable performance that came to a head when Chyna got involved with a lead pipe disguised as a bouquet of roses.

Malenko stole the roses from Mamacita, but she tripped him up and he smacked headfirst onto them, and thus onto the pipe.

A quick Guerrero roll-up later, and this was all over.
Your Winner and Still WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero

Flashing back to that week's Smackdown, we were reminded that Gerald Briscoe became our Hardcore Champion by pinning Crash Holly as Holly slept.

Back live, Briscoe was seen hiding out in the men's room trying to avoid a beat down. The poor Stooge was so on-edge that his own reflection in the mirror caused him to scream in fright and fall to the floor.

It was stupid, but it was also really funny.

Which Way Did He Go?

This was followed to a look back at the building rivalry between Shane McMahon and The Big Show.

This all started when Shane O' Mac backed Show in the main event of Wrestlemania 2000, only for The Big Nasty Bastard to be the first eliminated.

This caused a rift between the two that led to Shane mocking Big Show with his "Which Way Did He Go?" line.

For the life of me, I can't figure out where that line actually stemmed from, but if you were around at the time then you probably remember it.

Anyway, that match was next.

Falls Count Anywhere Match
Shane McMahon vs. The Big Show

WWE/ WWF - Judgement Day 2000 - The Big Show man handles Shane McMahon
This wasn't nearly as enjoyable as you might've hoped it would be.

Sure, it was great to begin with - Show charged out to the ring and spent the first two-thirds of the match just destroying McMahon in delightfully violent fashion.

Evening the score, McMahon had The Big Boss Man, Test, Albert, and even Trish Stratus come out and wail on Show, only for the big man to destroy them too.

Working their way up the ilse, Show destroyed McMahon some more before Bull Buchanan arrived on the scene. He and Shane dumped an enormous speaker on Big Shows legs, then Shane smashed his opponent over the head with a breeze block and this one just kind of fizzled out.

Blah. Could've been better.
Your Winner: Shane McMahon

Post-match, a hobbling Big Show was helped to the back by Sgt. Slaughter and Tony Garea and loaded into a waiting ambulance.

Meanwhile, Gerald Briscoe tried to find some respite by hiding out in the officials' locker room. I like the idea that the WWF cared so little about their referees that their dedicated space was just a sparse, empty room with a couple of chairs.

Who Likes Short Shorts?

WWE/ WWF - Judgement Day 2000 - Triple H and Shawn Michaels discuss HBK's short shorts
Across the arena, DX founders Triple H and Shawn Michaels enjoyed a quick catch up.

Hunter wanted to know about Shawn's wife and kid, but what he really wanted was to make fun of HBK's super tight shorts which, to be fair, did look ridiculous on a grown man.

Submission Rules

Next, we were reminded of the awesome, ongoing rivalry between Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit which had seen the two trade the Intercontinental Championship.

Tonight, the two would finally look to settle their differences in a submission match. This would happen with the added twist that Bob Holly had recently destroyed Benoit's knee with a steel chair after the two had tagged up to face Jericho and Val Venis on Smackdown.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship Submission Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho

WWE/ WWF - Judgement Day 2000 - Chris Benoit puts a hurting on Chris Jericho
Back at Backlash, these two waged war on one another in a brilliantly brutal, stiff-as-hell matches that served as a highlight of the entire evening.

Tonight's encounter was more of the same - vicious, violent, and about as good as you were going to get from two master craftsman with only 15 minutes to play with.

The two battered each other in every which way, including Jericho busting out a tarantula a full year before Tajiri would join the company.

Unfortunately for Y2J, that wasn't enough to get the win.

As he went for the Walls of Jericho, Benoit took hold of his knee brace (removed earlier by the other Chris) and smashed it over his opponent's skull.

That allowed him to slap on the Crippler Crossface and hold it on until Jericho passed out.
Your Winner and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Benoit

One other thing of note from that match. At various points, we saw Bob Holly and Val Venis watching on from separate monitors. Val, who hadn't appeared on a WWF PPV since Royal Rumble 2000, would face the winner of the match for the title on the following night's episode of Raw.

Afterwards, Jericho got up and staggered about the ring as his music played while JR talked about how Chris Benoit was the king of this particular ring on this particular night.

Naturally, that led us into a commercial for next month's PPV, staring 1997 King of the Ring winner, Triple H.

Gerald Briscoe - Hardcore Legend

WWE/ WWF - Judgement Day 2000 - Michael Cole interviews WWF Hardcore Champion Gerald Brisco
The King of the Ring commercial was followed by a recap of Heat when The Headbangers attacked Gerald Briscoe but were unsuccessful at capturing the hardcore title.

Back live, the reigning champion was interviewed by Michael Cole about how hard it was holding the most sought-after title in the WWF.

As he was doing this, two "catering vendors" (clearly beefed-up indie workers) were spotted in the background, pointing at Briscoe and conferring with a referee.

Before they could strike, however, Briscoe turned around and beat the hell out of the two men who were about 30 years his junior.

Gerald Briscoe, ladies and gentlemen, hardcore legend.

Across the way, The Rock told a clearly disinterested HBK that there'd be trouble if he didn't call tonight's main event right down the middle.

WWE/ WWF - Judgement Day 2000 - Tag Team Table Match - Road Dogg & X-Pac (w/ Tori) vs. The Dudley BoyzTables Match
DX (Road Dogg & X-Pac w/ Tori) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley)

This was a decent match that could have been a lot better had they gone with the tornado-style rules used for the Dudleyz/Hardyz match back at the Royal Rumble.

Instead, they started out with a traditional tag match, which really made no sense considering there were no rules beyond "put your opponents through the wood."

That kind of took the shine off things a little, but it was still a perfectly serviceable match. Not the best, sure, but certainly nothing terrible.

Towards the end, Road Dogg and Bubba Ray were the only members of their respective teams not to have gone through a table. The two duked it out and got so fed up of the referee trying to break up their brawl that they both grabbed him and launched him through a table propped up in the corner.

That would come back to bite The Dudleyz on the ass, as even though they next put Roadie through the table, the referee was out cold and didn't see it.

WWE/ WWF - Judgement Day 2000 - Bubba Ray gets ready to put Tori through a table
The wood-loving duo next turned their attentions to Tori, but before they could tablize her too, the man of the hour, Gerald Briscoe popped up and rescued her. X-Pac then hit Bubba with a top-rope X-Factor, Briscoe revived the official and this one was declared over.
Your Winners: DX

Post-match, Briscoe made the questionable decision to get in the ring and crotch chop the Dudleyz. Obviously, the two sent him through a table with a 3D.

This was followed by an ominous video featuring creepy kids playing hopscotch. Was that a variation of The Undertaker's theme music playing in this video?

The Sixty-Minute Men

A final, compelling video package for tonight's main event came next, after which it was down to the ring for the first WWF iron man match since Wrestlemania 12.

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

WWE/ WWF - Judgement Day 2000 - The Rock and Triple H face off Special Guest Referee: Shawn Michaels

The man who had competed in that last iron man bout, Shawn Michaels, made his way out first to officiate, wearing those stupidly ridiculous pants.

Triple H was out next, with Vince, Shane, and WWF Women's Champion Stephanie McMahon in tow.

Not that the McMahons would stick around. When they reached the ring, Hunter asked them to go backstage so that he could do this by himself. Quite why he couldn't have had this conversation backstage before the match is anyone's guess.

Finally, The Rock came back to Kentucky, and this utterly magnificent iron man match was underway.

It's been a long time since this fan found myself on the edge of my seat, desperately cheering on a wrestler, praying to whatever God there may be that he could fight back and pick up a victory. It's been even longer since I felt so utterly drawn in by a match that took place over 20 years ago, but I did so with this match.

Seriously, if you're feeling disheartened, disappointed, and disillusioned with modern pro wrestling, I urge you to go back to Judgement Day 2000 and watch The Rock vs. Triple H for the WWF title.

Watching this match, I was reminded of exactly why I became a fan in the first place. It's the joy, the passion, the drama, the excitement and the intensity, all of which Rock/HHH delivered in spades.

At various points, Jerry Lawler made reference to their Summerslam 1998 ladder match, which -as I've mentioned multiple times- happens to be one of my favourite matches ever and which -as Lawler was keen to tell us- was the longest match either man had been involved in up to that point in their careers.

This captivating iron match surpassed even that bout, and would have been nigh on flawless were it not for the screwy finish.

WWE/ WWF - Judgement Day 2000 - The Rock and Triple H battle with referee Shawn Michaels looking on
After trailing behind for almost the entire match, The Rock managed to even the score by hitting HHH with a Pedigree onto Lawler & JR's announce table to earn a count-out, then make it five falls apiece thanks to the People's Elbow.

With two minutes left on the clock, Vince, Shane, Steph, Road Dogg and X-Pac all ran into the ring to decimate The Rock, inadvertently knocking HBK off the apron in the process.

As all this was going on, the creepy, hopscotch playing kids from earlier popped up on the titantron, signalling the arrival of American Bad Ass Undertaker.

Last seen on PPV way back at Summerslam 1999, 'Taker rode to ring on a Harley and destroyed everyone in sight. He lifted Triple H for the Tombstone, but Michaels saw it and called a DQ right at the very second that the bell sounded to end the match.

That gave HHH a dodgy 6-5 victory and his fourth WWF Championship:
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Triple H

I'm not the only one who thought the ending was BS. The crowds showed their disgust by pelting the ring, and the new champion, with garbage as the show, went off the air.






That questionable ending aside, Judgement Day 2000 was an awesome show from start to finish. Sure, the Big Show/Shane match wasn't to my taste, and sure, the DX/Dudleyz table match wasn't exactly enthralling, but everything else delivered quality action from bell-to-bell.

The six-man match was undoubtedly one of the hottest openers you'll ever see in terms of crowd reaction, the European three-way and the Benoit/Jericho match delivered, and that main event...man, that main event was something else.

It feels like a long time since I've said this, but I highly recommend tracking down this show.





For other year 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
Other WWE Judgement Day Reviews
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    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.