Thursday, 9 April 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Fully Loaded 2000

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 - Event poster
July 23, 2000,
Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas

Today's review is one of the few occasions when I actually own a copy of the event on officially-released VHS video.

Unlike In Your House: Beware of Dog, however, I won't actually be reviewing the VHS version because, well, it's 2020 and who even owns a VHS player any more.

The more I think about it, the weirder it is that, out of the hundreds and thousands of pro wrestling events released on video, Fully Loaded 2000 is the one I chose to spend money on.

After all, the last two Fully Loaded events had pretty much served as throw-away filler events, usually sandwiched in between more important PPVs.

Still, we're here now, so let's do this. Here's what went down to the final ever Fully Loaded PPV came to us live from Dallas, Texas.







Tonight, These Men Risk it All

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 - Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross called the event
In the promotional material, tonight's show had been subtitled 'The Crap Shoot,' which, when you think about it, is a pretty brave move. Run a bad show tonight, and the jokes would write themselves.

Taking the whole gambling thing to the logical next step, tonight's opening video likened the world of pro wrestling to the adrenaline rush of gambling. It was a fairly decent video, but it did have a whiff of WCW's cheesy openers about it.

With the video over, we panned live across a rabid crowd both here at the Reunion Arena in Dallas and back at WWF New York in Times Square as the ever-present voices of Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler welcomed us to the show.

Six-person Intergender Tag Team Match
Trish Stratus & T&A (Test & Albert) vs. Lita & The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy)

According to a pre-match recap, the real feud here was between Lita and Trish Stratus.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 - Trish Stratus teamed with T&A to face Lita and The Hardy Boyz
The two had been attacking each other on WWF programming ever since their first encounter at last month's King of the Ring 2000. Still, since Trish wasn't yet 'Trish Stratus - Awesome Women's Wrestler' - it was deemed more fitting for the girls to settle their rivalry in a bout which also involved T&A and The Hardy Boyz.

Of course, it was the men who did the bulk of the work in putting on a red hot opening match which had the crowd fully invested from first to last, but the girls didn't exactly take it easy.

At one point, Lita worked the crowd into a frenzy by repeatedly climbing to the top rope and flying all over the place, smashing Albert with a dive to the outside and destroying Test with a flying hurricanrana from the top.

Trish certainly didn't have the same in-ring prowess at this stage of her career, and it certainly showed as she looked a little lost on more than one occasion, but even she did the best she could with the limited experience she had.

The only downside was that the WWF had trained the audience that women = sex objects, so when Lita and Trish were trying to have their big moment together, the fans opted to chant "WE WANT PUPPIES" instead.

Undeterred, the women battled on. Lita nailed Trish with an excellent top rope superplex and moonsault to pick up the victory for her team.
Your Winners: Lita and The Hardy Boyz

The celebration was short-lived, however, as T&A beat up the Hardyz in the post-match and Trish gave Lita a good whipping with her belt.

Backstage Shennanigans

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Edge and Mick Foley talk backstage
Out in the back, new WWF Commissioner Mick Foley was seen humble-bragging to some dude in a suit about his hardcore glory days, only to be interrupted by Edge. The future Rated-R Superstar insisted that his partner, Christian, was violently ill and thus the duo wouldn't be able to defend their tag team titles tonight.

Unconvinced, Foley believed Christian to have a case of "Fraidy-Cat-Itis" but promised to send a doctor to check anyway.

Elsewhere in the arena, American Bad Ass Undertaker arrived at the arena and drove around the backstage area on his motorbike, giving chase to a clearly petrified Kurt Angle.

Tazz vs. Al Snow

Last seen on PPV at Backlash 2000 Tazz had been away for a while but has recently returned and started attacking random superstars like Too Cool and fellow ECW alum Al Snow.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Tazz faced Al Snow
Seeking revenge, Snow made his first PPV appearance since Wrestlemania 2000 and went one-on-one with the human suplex machine.

Though it may not have been either man’s finest hour, this was a perfectly serviceable filler match that managed to succeed without any kind of hardcore plunder.

After a decent effort, Tazz locked Snow in the Tazzmission and this one was over.
Your Winner: Tazz

Out in the back, Christian emerged from a bathroom stall looking worse for wear but still adamant that he could go tonight.

Mick Foley and an EMT arrived, the latter declaring that Christian was in no fit state to compete.

Looking concerned, Foley apologized for doubting Edge earlier.

The plot thickened...

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, it’s True, it’s True

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Triple H and Stephanie McMahon talk in their dressing room
Across the way, Triple H & Stephanie McMahon were watching the show on a monitor and reacting to what we’d just seen.

As they did this, Harvey Wippleman brought Stephanie another bouquet of flowers to add to the many that were already in the room.

‘Alright, who are these from?’ Demanded Hunter.
‘What do you mean? They’re not from you?’

As Steph pleaded her innocence and ignorance as to the sender of the flowers, Hunter rummaged around to find a card attached to them.

It read ‘Stephanie, best of luck to you and your man tonight, it’s true, it’s true.’

Uh oh...

Hunter wasn’t the only one having relationship troubles, either. His ex, Chyna, had only been going out with Eddie Guerrero for a few short months but already she looked P-O’d with Latino Heat as they made their way out for our next matchup.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Terri helped Perry Saturn win his first European Championship World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion Eddie Guerrero (w/ Chyna) vs. Perry Saturn (w/ Terri Runnels)

After getting involved in a bust-up with Chyna and Eddie, Perry Saturn’s new manager, Terri Runnels, hid from the duo and ran backstage before the match officially got underway.

That just left the two former Radicalz members to duke it is out in a really good match.

Combining aerial moves with hard-hitting offence and more than a good bit of outside interference from Mamacita, this one went back and forth several times before the Horny Little She-Devil Terri got involved and helped her man win his first title in the WWF.
Your Winner and NEW European Champion: Perry Saturn 

Out in the back, Mick Foley caught Edge & Christian faking Christian’s illness.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Terri helped Perry Saturn win his first European Championship
Foley ordered the two men to compete tonight and gave his humble, medical opinion that the duo were doing to get their asses kicked.

Across the arena, Michael Cole wanted The Undertaker’s medical opinion about his match with Kurt Angle.

The American Bad Ass thought Cole’s little segue was cute, but before he could give an answer, he saw Angle on a monitor, trying to get his motorbike started.

Naturally, the former WWF Champion gave chase, calling Angle a ‘little bitch’ in the process.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Edge & Christian vs. The Acolytes (Farooq & Bradshaw)

Not letting Foley get to them, the tag team champions strutted to ringside with all the confidence in the world and set about infuriating the Texas crowd by insulting their local sports teams and making distasteful remarks about the JFK assassination.

Bradshaw is a boob monster with a small willy hahahah
Before they could do their five-second pose, however, The Acolytes stormed to the ring.

Visibly irate, native Texan Bradshaw took to the microphone and lambasted the champions for getting ‘cheap heat’ at the expense of his home state.

Bradshaw, who looked chubby and out of shape, then got the crowd on his side by praising the same sports teams E&C had just derided, as well as giving a shout out to World Class Championship Wrestling legends The Von Erichs and The Fabulous Freebirds.

The match got underway and was, predictably, short, swift and brutal.

The Acolytes dominated for the most part, with Farooq using a Dominator to destroy Christian. Before he could seal the deal, however, Christian trashed the former Nation of Domination leader’s head with a title belt, earning the DQ.

Honestly, I think the two teams spent more time on the microphone than they did actually fighting one another, but this was a fun segment nonetheless.
Your Winners via Disqualification: The Acolytes

Afterward, Farooq and Bradshaw took their consolation prize by murdering the remaining champions.

Kurt Angle is in Trouble

Out in the dressing room, Triple H confessed to being more worried about Kurt Angle sending his wife flowers than he was about his Last Man Standing Match with Chris Jericho.

Way to make that match seem unimportant.

Having had enough of her husband, Stephanie told him to go speak to the Olympic Gold Medalist himself.

He’d have a tough job catching him, however, as even The Undertaker hadn’t been able to do that and he’d been chasing him for the entire show.

As ‘Taker stalked him, Angle managed to run away and sneak up behind his opponent, hitting him in the back of the legs with a tire iron.

Meanwhile, over at WWF New York, The Big Boss Man checked some dude's ID.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship Cage Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Val Venis (w/ Trish Stratus) vs. Rikishi

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Rikishi gets ready to jump off the top of the cage onto Val Venis
Remember at the start of this review when I said I owned this show on VHS? This match is the only one I remember from it.

I remember it partly because it was so good, but mostly because of how good it was came as a complete surprise.

I mean seriously if you’d never seen this show and I told you that  Val Venis and Rikishi tore it up in awesome steel cage match, would you believe me?

Probably not, but they did.

Holding absolutely nothing back, both men gave a career-defining performance in a violent and utterly compelling outing.

Toward the finish, Lita came down with a belt and whipped Val’s manager Trish Stratus all the way to the locker room. The outside referee chased after them and seconds later, the referee in the ring, Teddy Long, got knocked down (this was fought under pin/submission or escape rules).

Then it happened, the highlight of the match and the one moment that this bout will be best remembered for:

Rikishi climbed to the top of the cage, walked across it and then plummeted down to the mat, squashing Val but also hurting himself in the process.

It was so awesome that I lept out of my seat when it happened, and I already knew it was coming.

The match could have ended there, either with a win for Kishi or with the big guy being so hurt that he ended up being pinned by Val.

Instead, we got an unnecessary run-in from Tazz, who blasted the challenger with a television camera.

Venis made the cover, Long recovered enough to count the fall, and this one was all over.
Your Winner and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: Val Venis

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Triple H confronts Harvey Wippleman after Wippleman kept bringing Steph flowers from Chris Jericho
Afterward, both men had to be helped to the back after basically killing each other.

Out in the back, both Undertaker and HHH were on the hunt for Kurt Angle.

Hunter round Harvey Wippleman in the back carrying more flowers for Stephanie.

‘Where is he?’ asked The Game.
‘I’ll show you.’ replied Wippleman, and led Hunter to a dressing room. Once inside, HHH was attacked, however, it turned out not to be Angle but Chris Jericho.

Shane’s a P**sy

Unscheduled and unadvertised, Shane McMahon swaggered to the ring dressed for combat.

The crowd welcomed him with a rousing chant of ‘SHANE’S A P**SY,’ but he, of course, disagreed.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  From backstage, Krispin Wah confronts The Rock
In fact, Shane O’ Mac was so eager to prove that he wasn’t a feline that he challenged The Great One to a non-title match right there and then.

Never one to back down from a challenge, Rock made his way out to the ring but was certainly no fool.

Convinced it was a setup, The Rock seemed certain that his upcoming opponent, Chris Benoit, would emerge at any moment and attack him.

Instead, The Crippler appeared on the Titantron and revealed himself to be back in The Rock’s dressing room where he tore up the champion’s $500 shirts and poured gasoline on his other belongings.

Annoyed, Rocky charged backstage.

A look back at the Taker/Angle rivalry followed. That match was next.

Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  The Undertaker defeated Kurt Angle
The first of three main events pitting established headliners against men looking to cement their own status in the top tier, this one saw Undertaker coming right after his rival during The Olympic Gold Medalist’s entrance.

The action was relentless from there on in. ‘Taker decimated his opponent every which way, but Angle managed to mount some offense and work over his opponent’s enormous legs for a while.

Eventually, ‘Taker fought back and killed his foe with a chokeslam and Last Ride powerbomb.

It wasn’t the longest match on the card, and it certainly wasn’t the best bout either man would have, but it was perfectly fine for what it was.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

Up next, we were shown a recap of the HHH/Y2J feud.

This got started properly when Jericho kissed Stephanie back at King of the Ring. He had then continued to embarrass The Game by causing him to get a stinkface from Rikishi and to lose a match to The Brooklyn Brawler.

In between these events, Triple H went around to anyone who would listen to saying ‘I want Jericho’s ass.’

This didn’t sound at all like I imagine Hunter wanted it to.

Last Man Standing Match
Triple H (w/ WWF Women’s Champion Stephanie McMahon) vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Triple H puts Chris Jericho in abdominal stretch
Say what you will about Triple H’s reputation for burying people throughout his career, this was an awesome match and it absolutely made sense for a multi-time world champion to go over a man who had yet to prove himself in a main event.

Besides, it’s not as if Jericho looked like a chump or anything.

The former Intercontinental Champion more than held his own here, absorbing an insane amount of punishment from The Game yet always coming back to dish out plenty of violence of his own.

Late in the match, Y2J smashed HHH over the head with a chair so hard that -in kayfabe- it busted Hunter wide open.

After an epic and bloody brawl, the two battled to the outside where they went crashing through the announce table.

With the crowd going nuts, the referee’s count got up to nine. Hunter stood up at the last possible second to win the match, but then promptly collapsed face-first back into a pool of his own blood.
Your Winner: Triple H

The aftermath looked like a car wreck. Neither man moved. Stephanie McMahon wept over her fallen husband like he’d just been killed. Jericho lay comatose on the floor.

He may not have won the match, but he more than done enough to prove himself worthy of a spot in WWF’s exclusive main event club.

Before our main event, we got one last look at the Rock/Benoit rivalry. This included the stipulation to tonight's main event added by Commissioner Foley that the belt could change hands via disqualification.

There was a good, logical storyline reason for this:

Foley was concerned that the war between the two men had become so intense that The Rock would care more about beating the crap out of Benoit than retaining his title. So, to keep his buddy in check, the new rule was added.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion The Rock vs. Chris Benoit (w/ Shane McMahon)

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Krispin Wah puts The Rock in a sharpshooter
Benoit came ready for battle wearing one of The Rock’s shirts that he’d torn up earlier in the show and then proceeded to attack The Great One after Shane McMahon provided a distraction.

It says a lot about the talent of both men that they were able to get the crowd so heavily invested in this match after the previous content had left them noticeably worn out.

In the early going, it was obvious that nothing Benoit and The Rock were registering with the crowd in the same way that every moment of the earlier HHH/Y2J encounter had.

Undeterred, champ and challenger persisted and eventually delivered what has to be one of The Rock's best ever PPV bouts.

Say what you want about pro wrestling being fake, every single move these two men delivered looked as though it hurt like hell, and that only made for a better match.

After an excellent see-saw battle, Shane McMahon ran in and blasted Earl Hebner from behind with a chair. When the referee recovered, however, he turned around and saw the WWF Champion holding the chair.

Predictably this led to a disqualification, and to a new champion...
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Chris Benoit

...or did it?

If you thought that was kind of a BS finish, you're not alone. So did the Dallas crowd who flooded the ring with garbage, and so too did Commissioner Foley, who stormed out to the ring.

Taking to the microphone, the Hardcore Legend declared that since there was no legitimate reason for a disqualification, the match had to continue.

Benoit returned to the ring and drilled the battered and bloody Rock with a succession of hard-hitting German suplexes. However, it was not to be The Crippler's night after all.

A few moments later, The People's Champion recovered, landed a Rock Bottom and retained his title.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: The Rock

Basking in the adulation of the Dallas audience, The Rock celebrated his hard-fought victory as his former partner, Foley, looked on, beaming with pride.





If Fully Loaded 2000 proved anything, it's that specific wins and losses don't matter as much in the world of professional wrestling as the stories being told.

On this show, three would-be headliners went up against three established main eventers and lost. There's an argument that having Angle, Jericho, and Benoit go over Undertaker, HHH, and The Rock respectively would have catapulted each man straight to the top of the card, but look:

They got there anyway.

Angle would have the WWF title by the end of the year. Jericho would have it the following year, and though it would take Benoit a few more years to get there, he never looked anything less than a credible threat for the duration of his career.

What's more, with the benefit of hindsight, it's to say that neither man's career was damaged by that loss. Angle is a WWE and TNA Hall of Famer. Jericho is a sure-fire Hall of Famer when he finally hangs up his boots, and there are still people who praise Benoit's legacy despite what happened at the end.

So yeah, as wrestling fans in 2020, I'd urge all of us to worry less about what a single loss might mean for a performer's individual career.



For other year 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
Other WWF Fully Loaded 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.