Thursday, 18 February 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF Rebellion 2001

WWE / WWF Rebellion 2001 - Event poster
November 3, 2001 
Manchester Arena, Manchester, England 

Finally...The Rock returns to Manchester for World Wrestling Federation Rebellion, the latest in a series of UK-exclusive WWF Pay Per Views were nothing of lasting consequence ever seemed to happen.

Yes, it's becoming the norm that every Retro Pro Wrestling review of these shows starts with that kind of introduction, but while it's true that these shows rarely mattered in the grand scheme of things, that doesn't make them all completely terrible.

Since establishing both Rebellion and Insurexxion as UK PPV brands, the company had at least put some effort into delivering marquee matches and giving both shows a big-time feel.

Did that pay off in terms of quality entertainment? Or was this show forgettable in every sense f the word?

Let's head down to the Manchester Evening News Arena in Manchester, England, to find out.






Tonight, it’s Austin vs. Rock III

WWE / WWF Rebellion 2001 - Paul Heyman and Jim Ross called the show
Though their match at Wrestlemania 19 is generally referred to as Austin vs. Rock 3 (being their third ‘Mania main event outing together) the actual third PPV main event match for the title between Steve Austin and The Rock would take place tonight here at The MEN Arena.

To build up to that, our opening match combines clips and soundbites from their previous feuds to make it appear as though tonight’s match was to settle a recent grudge between them even though they hadn’t had much interaction on TV since The Rock returned a few months previously.

Nonetheless, the video was decent stuff and led us to the usual pyro, crowd shots and greeting from our announcers Jim Ross and Paul Heyman.

The duo also told us that we’d see Chris Jericho defending the WCW title against Kurt Angle and then sent us to the ring for our opening contest.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship Steel Cage Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Edge vs. WWF European Champion Christian

WWE / WWF Rebellion 2001 - Edge after beating Christian in a cage match
Edge
and Christian had been a solid tag team and were good performers in their own right, but when they met in the ring that never really translated into the kind of awesome matches you’d hope they would have.

The two had met in a ladder match back at WWF No Mercy 2001 and that had suffered due to some problems with pacing.

This time out, the ‘brothers’ met in a cage match and though their pace was much better, the match still wasn’t quite as good as this writer hoped it would be.

Then again, maybe that’s simply a matter of me managing my expectations rather than there being anything wrong with the match itself.

After all, it was still an above-average effort that clearly delighted the Manchester crowd, and at the end of the day, that’s probably all that matters.

Towards the finish, Christian looked to scale the cage and escape, only for Edge to drag his opponent’s feet through the cage bars and hogtie them with wrist tape so that he (Edge) could climb over and to the outside.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Edge 

WWE / WWF Rebellion 2001 - Hugh Morrus and Chavo Guerrero were perverts
After a video that reminded us that Kurt Angle had recently turned heel and joined The Alliance (dumbest move ever, by the way) we went backstage where Chavo Guerrero was all excited about his special assignment interviewing the divas.

Before Chavo could speak to any of the women, however, he was interrupted by Hugh Morrus who claimed that he too had been sent to do interview duties.

After a brief argument, the former Misfits in Action teammates stormed into the divas' locker room where Trish Stratus was busy getting changed.

The two turned into a couple of childish school children and giggled a lot before Trish sent the boys packing, promising to set them up an interview with her buddy Lita.

Scotty 2 Hotty vs. The Hurricane

WWE / WWF Rebellion 2001 - Scotty 2 Hotty faced The Hurricane
Honestly, I think anybody who has anything bad to say about it this match either has no soul or is too far up their own arse to appreciate the fun that wrestling is supposed to be.

Both The Hurricane and Scotty 2 Hotty were competent light heavyweight wrestlers with entertaining gimmicks that were over with the crowd.

Combined, this made for a very enjoyable match that was a lot of fun to watch.

Although it wasn’t going to be a Match of the Night contender, that was never its purpose.

Scotty and Shane had one job: go out and be entertaining.

They succeeded tremendously in that job and when Scotty 2 Hotty picked up the win thanks to his worm, it was a victory well earned.
Your Winner: Scotty 2 Hotty

Out in the back, Chavo and Hugh perved on Lita putting her pants on before Diamond Dallas Page told us that English people being depressed wasn’t a bad thing it...was a good thing.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. The Big Show

Thankfully, this was short and painless.

The two battles back and forth for what couldn’t have been more than three minutes. It wasn’t very interesting, but it wasn’t offensively bad or anything either.

After taking a Diamond Cutter from Page, The Big Show clambered to his feet, chokeslammed his opponent into oblivion, and won the match.
Your Winner: The Big Show

Afterward, DDP took to the microphone to claim that his loss was a good thing because now he’d get to leave the awful country of England.

Kurt Angle and the Knights of the Round Table

WWE / WWF Rebellion 2001 - Debra, Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, and Shane McMahon talk strategy
Out in the back, Guerrero and Morrus had given up pretending to want to interview anybody and were now openly admitting that they just wanted to barge into different locker rooms hoping to find women in various states of undress.

Alas, they had no such luck this time as Mighty Molly Holly was fully attired, though she was appalled that the two former WCW stars had seen her without her cape.

Speaking of WCW, Alliance members Shane McMahon, US Champion Kurt Angle, WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin, and his wife Debra were sat around a table in a darkened room with a spotlight of them.

They were there to talk strategy for tonight’s show but everything went awry when Kurt realized that they were sat at a round table in England. Thus, he began comparing himself and his colleagues to the Knights of the Round Table.

“And of course, if we’re the good knights, there’s gotta be bad nights,” said Kurt.
“I’m having a bad night right now,” replied Austin, who got so fed up with Angle that he yelled at him and stormed off.

Ok, so that was pretty funny.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship Three-Team Elimination Match
WCW Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley) vs. The A.P.A (Bradshaw & Farooq) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy)

WWE / WWF Rebellion 2001 - Matt Hardy waits t
Though it was fairly obvious that Farooq and Bradshaw would be eliminated first to give us another standard Dudleyz/Hardyz encounter, that didn’t stop this one from being a pretty good match.

For the most part, it was no different to any of the countless other matches you’ve seen between these teams so if you enjoyed those you’ll enjoy this one and if you hated every match you’ve ever seen between them then this one will do little to change your mind about them.

This fan quite enjoyed it, and even though The Dudleyz got the predictable win thanks to the 3D, it was still a good outing.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: The Dudleyz

Out in the back, Vince McMahon urged bitter rivals The Rock and Chris Jericho to shake hands and bury the hatchet so that Team WWF would have a better chance of winning at Survivor Series.

The two did as their boss requested, but as soon as Vince was gone they started brawling until a gaggle of referees and Arn Anderson broke them up.

William Regal vs. WCW Cruiserweight Champion Tajiri

WWE / WWF Rebellion 2001 - William Regal cuts a pre-match promo before facing Tajiri
Before the match, William Regal took to the microphone to address his hometown audience, thanking them for spending their unemployment allowance on coming to see him wrestle and insisting that he was a better role model than David Beckham and any one of the Manchester United football team.

Having firmly established himself as the heel, Regal locked up with his former sidekick Tajiri in a really good wrestling match.

The two took it to the mat, pounded the shit out of each other, and occasionally bust out a few fancy moves to create one of the better matches on what had already been a decent show.

Unsurprisingly, Regal picked up the victory with his Regal Stretch, but his celebration was short-lived when Tajiri recovered and blew the Green Mist of Doom in the Alliance Commissioner's face.
Your Winner: William Regal

01.15.52 - Angle

Backstage, Michael Cole interviewed US champion Kurt Angle who made fun of Chris Jericho’s Y2J nickname and promised to take his WCW title from him.

WCW Championship
WCW Champion Chris Jericho vs. WCW US Champion Kurt Angle

WWE / WWF Rebellion 2001 - Kurt Angle challenged Chris Jericho for the WCW title
As was often the case with most wrestlers on these UK shows, it really felt as though Angle and Jericho weren’t giving it their all here, but let’s be honest:

Angle and Jericho at even 50% are still better than many people at 100% and so this was still a very good see-saw battle in which both champ and challenger traded the advantage several times.

They worked at a decent pace that was enough to keep the crowd entertained and deliver a captivating dual of submissions, suplexes, and more all without overexerting themselves.

After a good effort, Y2J rolled up his opponent to retain the WCW title.
Your Winner and Still WCW Champion: Chris Jericho

Unhappy with the decision, Angle attacked Jericho after the bell and destroyed him with a few Angle Slams.

Finally, The Rock Has Come Back to Manchester

WWE / WWF Rebellion 2001 - Michael Cole interviews The Rock
Out in the back, Michael Cole asked The Rock how he could concentrate on his title match with Stone Cole with all that he had going on with Jericho.

The Great One clearly couldn’t concentrate because all that he seemed to care about was whether Cole liked pie or strudel.

Which one was it? Did Cole like pie...or strudel.

IT DOESN’T MATTER...

Obviously.

Divas Tag Team Match
Mighty Molly & Stacy Kiebler vs. Lita & Torrie Wilson

Special Guest Referee: Trish Stratus
Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I think this was the first instance of the company sandwiching a women’s match between the two high profile PPV main events to give the crowd a breather.

Of course, the “divas bathroom break” would be a running joke for years until the women started to be taken more seriously, and I’m pretty sure it all started here.

The match was...well, it was a divas bathroom break which was a shame given that Molly Holly and Lita were talented performers and Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler at least looked like they were putting the effort in despite their limited experience.

Ultimately though, this was a whole lot of nothing leading up to an admittedly cool finish which saw Lita pick up the win for her team.
Your Winners: Lita and Torrie Wilson

Much like Kurt Angle in the previous match, Stacy Kiebler was unhappy with the result and confronted special referee Trish Stratus, only to get slapped and bulldogged.

Finally, after a look back at the long rivalry between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, it was time for the two to meet in our main event.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock

WWE / WWF Rebellion 2001 - Steve Austin puts The Rock in a Boston crab
Much as Angle and Jericho had done, Austin and The Rock failed to bring their A-game here, but their B-game was still good enough to provide a quality main event.

The two superstars took the obligatory walk up to the entrance in the early going and battled around ringside for a while before returning to the ring for an enjoyable back and forth brawl.

At every opportunity, Austin would throw his middle fingers in the air, mostly at the crowd but also towards referee Earl Hebner.

Finally having had enough of such behavior, Earl flipped Austin off in response and very loudly yelled ‘F**K YOU!’

Hebner’s potty mouth would later be punished when both champ and challenger accidentally bumped into him in quick succession, forcing the head zebra to lie out on the canvas for half a year.

Seriously, I’ve heard of referees ‘taking a nap’ when they get bumped in a match, but I’m pretty sure Earl got his full eight hours in here.

While he was doing that, Rock put the sharpshooter on his opponent only for Stone Cold to break free and apply a sharpshooter of his own.

“That’s not one of Austin’s specialty moves,” said Jim Ross apologetically, covering for the fact that the champion had applied possibly the worst version of the hold you’d ever seen.

Honestly, if you’re of the opinion that The Rock’s sharpshooter was awful, you need to see this match just to see how much worse Austin’s was.

Anyway, with the referee still out cold, we got run-ins from both Angle and Jericho before finally, Austin hit a stunner to retain his title.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Steve Austin

Afterwards, Austin and Angle hugged and made their way backstage, presumedly to celebrate a triumph that few fans in the United States would ever actually hear about.






It’s fair to say that not a single one of the WWF’s UK-only PPVs were ‘must-see’ TV, and I say that as a Brit who was there love for some of the earlier shows.

Still, while WWF Rebellion 2001 wasn’t exactly essential viewing, it was at least one of the better UK shows, with a decent double main event in the form of Rock/Austin and Angle/Jericho, a decent opening cage match and a surprisingly fun match between Scotty 2 Hotty and The Hurricane.

Don’t go out of your way to watch this, but if you’re bored and looking for something to watch, Rebellion should at least keep you relatively entertained for two hours and 15 minutes.

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Retro Pro Wrestling

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