Friday, 22 January 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF Summerslam 2001

August 19, 2001,
Compaq Center at San Jose, San Jose, California

Finally...The Rock had come back...

...To the World Wrestling Federation.

After losing the World Wrestling Federation title to Stone Cold Steve Austin in the main event of Wrestlemania 17, The Great One had been "suspended" by Vince McMahon, allowing him to wander off and film The Scorpion King for a few months.

Then, on the July 30th edition of Monday Night Raw, The People's Champ returned to a company that was now at war with the WCW/ECW Alliance.

With both sides vying for his services, Rock had first hit Vince McMahon with a Rock Bottom, teasing an allegiance with The Alliance, only to then do the same thing to Alliance boss Shane McMahon and pledge that he was, no matter what, a WWF guy.

Tonight, he would look to prove that by taking on WCW mainstay Booker T in a match for the WCW title as the Invasion storyline continued and WWF Summerslam 2001 came live from San Jose, California. 






Here's what went down.

 Let the Bodies Hit the Floor

For the past few weeks, Stephanie McMahon and her Alliance cohorts had been using the Drowning Pool hit, Let the Bodies Hit the Floor as their theme song.


Tonight, our show opened with the music video for that nu-metal banger interspersed with footage of the biggest stars from both sides of the battle for brand supremacy.


Heading live into the arena, pyro exploded and Jim Ross told us that the fans were hanging from the rafters. Sadly, JR didn’t pay tribute to Gorilla Monsoon by using the word literally.


The announcer was joined by Alliance man Paul Heyman to call this one, and with that, it was down to ringside.


World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Lance Storm vs. Edge

WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - Lance Storm wanted to be serious for a minute before his match with Edge
As we kicked things off, Lance Storm wanted to be serious for a minute but challenger Edge wanted no part of that.


He interrupted the champion’s pre-match promo and rushed straight into a solid opening contest.


A perfect choice to kick off the show, this was a very good back-and-forth battle in which both men worked hard.


Christian came down towards the finish, but his attempt to spear Storm went awry and he drilled his own partner instead.


One superkick later, Lance got the cover only for Edge to kick out, drill his adversary with a DDT and capture his second Intercontinental Championship.

Your Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Edge


Post-match, Christian handed his brother the title. Edge wanted to talk about that rogue spear, but Christian bailed, leaving the new champion to pose with his gold.


Treacherous Test


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - Michael Cole interviews Test & The Dudley Boyz
Early in the invasion, the superstars of the WWF has suspected Test of planning to betray them and so had beaten him up even though he had no such intentions.


As a result, he had defected to the other side and was now set to team up with The Dudleyz for our next contest.


Before the three of them got there, however, they were accosted by Michael Cole. Hilariously, Test called Cole a ‘little bitch’ before telling him all about how he was loyal to The Dudley Boyz.


Across the arena, Chris Jericho was supposed to be talking about his match with Rhyno but instead spent most of his promo talking about how Stephanie McMahon was a little promiscuous.


The APA (Farooq & Bradshaw) and Spike Dudley (w/ Molly Holly) vs. Test and The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley)

Most of this match was a decent yet unremarkable brawl until it suddenly exploded into an exciting finish.


Test picked up Spike Dudley and launched him to the outside through a table in a genuinely impressive spot. Looking to get revenge for his teammate, Bradshaw attacked but, with the referee distracted, Shane McMahon was able to get involved, waffling the Acolyte with a chair.


Test made the cover and that was all she wrote.

Your Winners: Test & The Dudley Boyz


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - Debra gives Shawn Stasiak a telling off
Out in the back, Edge was busy being congratulated by his peers when Christian arrived to announce that he has a European championship match against Matt Hardy on the following night’s Raw.

He was so excited about his title shot that he called his Grandma, but Grandma Edna was only interested in talking to Edge. 


Dissension loomed large in Team E&C.

Elsewhere in the arena, Shawn Stasiak burst into Debra’s dressing room to bemoan his lack of success in impressing Stone Cold Steve Austin.


The former Meat was convinced that Austin wasn’t taking him seriously because he was wearing pink tights with the word ‘Mecca’ written on the back.


“I don’t even know what Mecca means!” exclaimed Stasiak.


Debra didn’t either, nor did she care. 


She simply wanted Stasiak gone, and ordered him to go to the ring and kick some butt.


Title Unification Match
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Tajiri vs. WCW Cruiserweight Champion X-Pac


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - X-Pac faced Tajiri with both the WWF Light Heavyweight title and WCW Cruiserweight title on the line
This was another very good match. 

Tajiri was always a joy to watch, but X-Pac was certainly no slouch, bringing out his A-game and working much harder than he had done in a long time.


A fast-paced contest with plenty of unique spots, this one came to an end when ‘Pac’s buddy Albert got involved.


Tajiri was able to see off the intruder by blowing mist in his face but the distraction was enough for his opponent to land the X-Factor and win the match.

Your Winner and NEW Light Heavyweight Champion: X-Pac


Over at WWF New York, Perry Saturn put out a public appeal for the safe return of Moppy. Apparently, somebody had kidnapped the cleaning appliance and Saturn was desperate for ‘her’ safe return because he -and I quote- missed her so much.


Meanwhile, back in the arena, Stephanie McMahon demanded that Rhyno gore Chris Jericho into oblivion. The ECW star promised Steph that he would end Y2J once and for all.


Rhyno (w/ Stephanie McMahon) vs. Chris Jericho


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - Stephanie McMahon backed Rhyno in his match with Chris Jericho
The big story here was that Jericho and Steph hated each other, so McMahon recruited Rhyno -a man Y2J had never been able to beat- to destroy him.


Alas, it wasn’t to be Stephanie’s day. Nor Rhyno’s for that matter.


Despite punishing Jericho from pillar to post, the Man Beast failed to connect with a gore,l and went crashing into the corner before being rolled up and forced to submit to the Walls of Jericho.


Before that, the whole match was a solid effort that proved to be way better than this writer had anticipated.


Sure, it might not have been the best match of either man’s career, and I’m sure nobody mentions Rhyno/Jericho in any list of all-time classic Summerslam matches, but it was still an enjoyable bout nonetheless.

Your Winner: Chris Jericho


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - The Rock confronts William Regal
Backstage, William Regal stopped The Rock to ask whether The Great One was ok to compete after being Rock Bottomed through a table by Booker T on Smackdown.

The Rock swore that despite hurting, he was ready to kick Booker’s ass and become the WCW champion.


As the two were talking, Shawn Stasiak charged at them, screaming and ready to attack. Regal and Rock merely sidestepped and Stasiak crashes into the wall without the two WWF stars even acknowledging him once.


It was such a random move that you couldn’t help but laugh.


World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship Ladder Match
WWF Hardcore Champion Jeff Hardy vs. Rob Van Damn


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - Rob Van Dam faced Jeff Hardy for the Hardcore title
Summerslam had a history of great ladder matches in the form of Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon at Summerslam 1995 and HHH vs. The Rock -a match that’s still one of this fan’s all-time favourites- at Summerslam 1998.


Meanwhile, Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy had given us one of the most entertaining matches at the previous month’s Invasion PPV, so to say expectations were high for this one would be an understatement.


This match might not have been quite as good as HBK/Razor, but it was still a damn good effort and probably the best match you’ll ever see contested for the hardcore title.


Seriously, a belt that had been treated as a bit of a joke and which is perhaps better known today as the inspiration behind the 24/7 title was fought over here like it was the world title...OK, if not that then at least the IC.


Both men lay it all on the line, using their own bodies as weapons in what proved to be the kind of match that ‘Holy Sh*t’ chants were made for.


After an intense, spot-heavy battle, RVD retrieved the belt, but not before taking it to the limit with a Valiant Jeff Hardy.

Your Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Rob Van Dam


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - Shane McMahon presents Booker T with a special gift

Backstage, Shane O’Mac gave Booker T a very special gift - a pair of bookends (geddit?) made from the actual WWF announce table that Booker had Bookended The Rock through on TV recently.


Elsewhere, WCW tag team champions The Undertaker & Kane marched through the backstage area with Sarah in tow.


This led us to a video package highlighting their rivalry with WWF tag champs Chris Kanyon & DDP.


Both teams would meet in a title unification match next.


WCW & WWF Tag Team Title Unification Cage Match
WCW Tag Team Champions Diamond Dallas Page & WCW US Champion Chris Kanyon vs. WWF Tag Team Champions The Undertaker & Kane w/ Sarah.


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - Who Better Than Kanyon?
Jim Ross kept talking about The Undertaker’s string of successes in a cage, starting with his ear against Shawn Michaels at Badd Blood ‘97, continuing with the infamous match with Mankind at King of the Ring ‘98, and finishing up with the time he threw Rikishi off the roof at Armageddon 2000.


I’d point out that they were all Hell in a Cell match and thus not technically the same thing, but I won’t be so pedantic.


The rules here allowed for the classic pinfalls, submissions and cage escape means of victory, though that’s just about the only thing that was classic.


This would have worked so much better if they’d given Kanyon and DDP any opportunity to look like credible champions.


Instead, they basically got battered from pillar to post in what was essentially a long squash match. Seriously, there were jobbers on early 90s episodes of WWF Superstars who got in more offence against their opponents than Kanyon and Page did against Kane and The Undertaker.


After this overly-long, one-sided affair, Kanyon escaped the cage and left his partner high and dry. Dallas got his ass kicked by Undertaker, was powerbombed, pinned, and had any chance of ever being seen as a credible star again killed for good.

Your Winners and NEW Unified Tag Team Champions: Kane and The Undertaker


Prior to the next match, we got a video package highlighting the rivalry between Stone Cole

Steve Austin and Kurt Angle, part of which was set to Rey Mysterio’s old theme.


World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - Kurt Angle puts Steve Austin in the ankle lock
Speaking of theme music, Austin had yet another new theme that I’d never heard before.


As for the match itself, it was quality stuff.


Sure, both men would have better matches in their careers, that fact only speaks volumes about their respective talents.


After all, this was still very good and, had Austin and Angle been lesser workers, it may well have been their finest hour.


As it was, it was an impressive brawl which amped up the drama to 11.


Austin battered his challenger to a bloody pulp, but the resilient Angle battled back, displaying a level of emotion and intensity that was off the charts and really added a sense of realism to the whole thing.


Honestly, you’ve never seen drama in a wrestling match until you’ve seen Kurt Angle, his face awash with blood, pain, passion, and tears, trying to rip Steve Austin’s ankle off.


Sadly. It wasn’t to be Angle’s night.


The cowardly champion beat up several officials, deliberately getting himself disqualified by WCW referee Nick Patrick.

Your Winner via Disqualification: Kurt Angle (Steve Austin retains the title)


Afterwards, a distraught Angle slapped Patrick in the ankle lock. It delighted the crowd but was nowhere near enough to console the crestfallen Olympian.


World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Booker T (w/ Shane McMahon) vs. The Rock


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - The Rock wins the WCW title
And so it all came down to this - another entertaining match for a championship title, this time with Booker T putting The Big Gold Belt on the line against The Rock.


The match was a solid effort, though you got the feeling that the crowd were a little burned out after Austin/Angle as some parts of the contest definitely felt flat.


A cameo from the APA in which they took out Shane McMahon certainly livened things up, as did a number of the very entertaining spots Rock and Booker put together, but alas this one simply failed to top the previous contest.


After a good outing, Booker -who had spent a large percentage of the match in charge- took a moment to prematurely celebrate with a spinarooni, only to walk straight into a Rock Bottom and lose his title.

Your Winner and NEW WCW Champion: The Rock


Post-match, The Great One celebrities with his newly won gold.







On the whole, Summerslam 2001 was a stellar show from start to finish.


The Invasion has been heavily slated over the years, but it gave us the tremendous Jeff Hardy/RVD feud, and tonight, it gave us the excellent Austin vs. Angle match and strong outings from Edge and Storm, Rock and Booker, and X-Pac/Tajiri.


Only the tag team title cage match was actually bad. Everything else ranged from OK - Awesome and made this show if not a must-see then at least recommended.





Other reviews of 2001 pro wrestling 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.