Thursday, 18 March 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF Survivor Series 2001

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Event Poster
November 18, 2001, 
Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Greensboro, North Carolina

Survivor Series 2001 was the night that The WWF Invasion finally came to an end.

That meant that one of the greatest missed opportunities in pro wrestling history came to an end.

It meant that the enjoyable push of Rob Van Dam as one of the most popular stars of 2001 -and one of the few bright spots of the Invasion- was coming to an end as despite being hugely over, RVD would find himself lumbered in a mid-card feud with Goldust a few months later.

It meant an end to Stone Cold Steve Austin's run as the leader of a company that discarded him and told him he'd never be a star, and the end of  us all pretending like Vince McMahon couldn't have just barred The Alliance from entering the arena if he'd wanted to. 

Here's what went down on that fateful night in what had long been NWA / WCW Country, Greensboro, North Carolina. 





This is the End, My Only Friend, The End

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Paul Heyam and Jim ross
Remember that awesome Doors sound-alike that the World Wrestling Federation used back at Armageddon 2000?

They wheeled it out again here to serve as the soundtrack for tonight’s opening video package, splicing footage of WWF legends like Gorilla Monsoon and Freddie Blassie standing around looking reflective with clips of historical moments such as The Ultimate Warrior charging to the ring, and shots from the recent WWF vs. Alliance feud that was finally going to end tonight.

Curiously, the intro had been redubbed so that after the video, a dude said “and now, WWE Survivor Series” even though the company was definitely still the WWF at this time.

From there, we went to the obligatory crowd shots both in the arena and at WWF New York while Jim Ross put over tonight’s event as the most significant event in pro wrestling history.

He and fellow announcer Paul Heyman bantered back and forth about hating working together before it was down to our opening contest.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion Christian vs. Al Snow

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Christian defended the European title against Al Snow
One of the dumbest moments of the Invasion storyline was Christian defecting to The Alliance for no other reason than the fact that he was a heel.

Tonight, he kicked off Survivor Series 2001 by referring to Greensboro as ‘the place the WWF [came] to die’ before meeting the challenge to his European championship laid down by Al Snow of all people earlier on Heat.

Snow may not have been a prominent character on TV during the Invasion (he was mostly off doing Tough Enough) but he gave us a fun opening match here against Christian.

Both men traded the advantage multiple times, going back and forth in an entertaining effort that had the crowds hooked from start to finish.

Towards the end, Al hit the Snow Plow only for Christian to get his foot on the ropes to break the count.

Proving that he wasn’t the smartest dude on the roster, Snow stared at Christian’s foot on the rope for a few seconds and somehow deduced from this that he’d won the match.

A few moments later, he was punished for his stupidity by eating an Unprettier and taking the fall.
Your Winner and Still European Champion: Christian

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - The Alliance confront Stone Cold Steve Austin
Another dumb moment in the Invasion storyline came when Vince McMahon told everyone that Steve Austin would be defecting and rejoining the WWF, sewing seeds of distrust in The Alliance.

Tonight, Austin arrived at the arena with his wife Debra and WWF title belt in tow only to be confronted by his Alliance teammates who wanted to know what was going on.

Why hadn’t he returned their phone calls? He didn’t want to.

Was he joining the WWF?

Hell no!

In a fun segment, Austin demanded that his cohorts stop being paranoid and vowed to take out the World Wrestling Federation one way or another.

Sh*t Happens

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Michael Cole interviews Vince n Linda McMahon
Elsewhere in the arena, Linda McMahon expressed concern that somebody might get hurt tonight, only for her husband Vince to dismiss her with the old saying ‘sh*t happens.’

McMahon then gave a confident interview to Michael Cole in which he boasted about building an empire by taking calculated risks.

Tonight, according to Vince, that empire would absolutely come out on top.

When it was all over, McMahon was interrupted by William Regal. The Alliance Commissioner was as entertaining as ever as he told Vince that Austin was as loyal to the group as Regal was to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Tonight, said Regal, The Alliance would do to the WWF what he was about to do to Tajiri.

William Regal vs. WCW Cruiserweight Champion Tajiri

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - William Regal vs. Tajiri
Tajiri
’s girlfriend Torrie Wilson wasn’t with him tonight after Regal had pretty much murdered her on the go-home Smackdown show.

Seeking revenge, the Japanese Buzzsaw quickly got revenge by kicking Regal’s face off and making him bleed. Not that this was enough to earn him the victory.

After a very short but enjoyable match that lasted less time than the previous two backstage segments, Regal destroyed his former assistant with a powerbomb.
Your Winner: William Regal

Not content with that, Regal beat up Tajiri after the bell. Torrie then ran out to check on her man so Regal murdered her again.

The brute.

Edge and Test

Prior to the next match, we were reminded of the rivalry between Edge and Test. The latter had cheated to beat the former for the Intercontinental Championship but Edge had then beaten Kurt Angle for the US title.

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Test flirts with Stacy Keibler
WWF Commissioner Mick Foley had then booked the two in a title unification match on tonight’s show. This video package had also been overdubbed because in Foley’s original announcement he had confused which man owned which title.

Back in the arena, Test had begun to play up the conceited ‘obsessed with his own looks’ gimmick that he’d suddenly adopted on the last Smackdown when Stacy Kiebler had told him he was hotter than Edge.

Backstage, the Intercontinental Champion was busy admonishing make-up lady Janet Ventriglia for not rubbing oil into his body properly when Kiebler came to wish him luck in his match.

Though she wouldn’t give a straight answer when he asked her out, the former Miss Hancock did rub his bum as she left.

“Yeah,” smiled Test afterwards. “She wants me.”

Across the arena, US Champion Edge gave a hilarious interview to Jonathan Coachman in which he mocked Test for ‘being dumped by virtually every chick on the planet’ and promised to dethrone him in tonight’s match.

US vs. Intercontinental Championship Title Unification Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Test vs. WCW US Champion Edge

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Test vs. Edge - US title vs. intercontinental title unification matchBoth men had enjoyed the best year of their WWF run so far in 2001.

Edge had triumphed (along with Christian) in the memorable and historic TLC match at Wrestlemania X-7 before going on to win the 2001 King of the Ring and enjoy a couple of reigns with the IC title before his latest role as United States Champion.

Though not as successful, Test had enjoyed two tag team title reigns with Booker T in a fun make-shift team and was now heading into this title unification match with the Intercontinental gold.

At first, the match didn’t seem like it was going to be up to much. It was somewhat slow and rather uninspired, but then something (who knows what) happened to light a fire up the arse of both men and then suddenly upped their game, the match getting better and better the longer it went on.

Eventually, after what ended up being a solid match, Edge planted Test with a spear and walked away with both the United States and Intercontinental Championships.
Your Winner and NEW Unified US & Intercontinental Champion: Edge

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - The Hardy Boyz & Lita
Backstage, Stephanie McMahon vented to Kurt Angle about how worried she was that if The Alliance lost she would have to become a regular person and clean her own toilet.

Ever the gent, Angle assured her he wasn’t going to let that happen.

Across the way, Lita and Jeff Hardy were busy talking about how weird Matt Hardy had been acting lately when the future broken one himself interrupted their conversation.

According to Matt, everybody should have been acting weird as tonight was an important night - after all, if they lost their match tonight, they were out of a job.

Steel Cage Match Tag Team Title Unification Match
WCW Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley w/ Stacy Kiebler) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy)

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - The Dudleyz faced The Hardy Boyz in a tag title unification match
There was no real reason for this to be a cage match. In kayfabe, the stipulation had been decided on a whim by Commissioner Mick Foley. In reality, this writer suspects it was simply to keep things fresh after the two teams had battled countless times in the past.

This match wasn’t quite up there with their epic tables match from Royal Rumble 2000, but it was still a solid effort fought under cage escape or pinfall rules.

Both teams went back and forth for an enjoyable 15 minutes until Stacy Kiebler seduced outside official Nick Patrick so that she could slide a table into the ring.

After a little more action, Matt Hardy escaped the cage after which Jeff Hardy planted D’Von atop the table and scaled to the top of the cage.

At that point, Jeff could have simply climbed down and won the match for his team but instead decided to dive off the cage onto D’Von.

It was a cool spot, sure, but a dumb one. D’Von moved, Jeff crashed through the table and one three count later relinquished the tag team titles.

Oh Jeff, why?
Your Winners and NEW Unified Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz

Afterward, Jeff was wheeled off on a stretcher.

The Commissionership is a Joke

Over at WWF New York, Commissioner Mick Foley revealed that he wanted to be in Greensboro but his boss Vince McMahon had ordered him to hang out at the restaurant/club instead.

Picking up where he’d left off in a pissed-off promo back on that week’s edition of Raw, the angry Commissioner promised that if he still had a job come Monday he’d be flying to Charlotte to have a few choice words for Mr. McMahon.

Meanwhile, back in the arena, Test beat up Scotty 2 Hotty so that he could take his place in the upcoming Immunity Battle Royal.

Immunity Battle Riyal
Featuring Lance Storm, Justin Credible, Diamond Dallas Page, Test, The Hurricane, Raven, Billy Kidman, Raven, Tommy Dreamer, Shawn Stasiak, The APA, Crash Holly, Funaki, Billy & Chuck, Spike Dudley, Perry Saturn, Albert, Tazz

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Immunity Battle Royal
Winner Gets Immunity From Being Fired For 1 Year Regardless of Which Side Loses

It’s always difficult to say much about a battle royal. Nothing much of note happened here apart from Chavo Guerrero and Hugh Morrus putting in an unscheduled appearance.

The former Misfits in Action cohorts had been fired by The Alliance after sucking up to Vince McMahon and asking him for a job, requests that McMahon flat out refused.

The two snuck into the battle royal hoping to get their jobs back but failed, as did almost everybody else.

After about ten minutes of guys hanging out on the ropes, Test eliminated Billy Gunn to ensure he’d still have a job on Monday.
Your Winner: Test

Out in the back, Booker T told Shane McMahon that he didn’t trust Stone Cold, only for Shane ‘O to try and convince Mr. Five-Time that Austin was indeed the one to lead them to the promised land.

Six-Pack Challenge for the Vacant World Wrestling Federation Women’s Championship
Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline vs. Lita vs. Ivory vs. Mighty Molly vs. Jazz

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Molly Holly locks up with Jacqueline
The women’s championship hadn't been since Chyna defeated Ivory for it at Wrestlemania.

She’d since left the company, vacating the title which had been completely forgotten about over the course of the Invasion.

Tonight, these six women looked to remind people about it in what was a pretty damn good effort.

The story that often seems to be told is that from the Attitude Era onwards, the women’s division was a joke, a bathroom break, a whole bunch of nothing until the likes of Beth Phoenix and Charlotte Flair began to change all that.

While it would certainly become that for a while, there was no sense of the division being a joke in this match. It was a competent, well put together and reasonably enjoyable outing for the most part.

The only downside was the introduction of former ECW star Jazz as the mystery sixth woman.

While Paul Heyman marked out for her big time, the rest of Greensboro welcomed Jazz with total apathetic silence.

Despite that, she looked pretty impressive until the finishing spot where she went cack-arse through the ropes in an ugly botched spot.

With Jazz out of the way, Trish Stratus was left to plant Ivory with her Stratusfaction bulldog and win the match.
Your Winner and new Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus

In the post-match, Jim Ross put over Trish as being the underdog due to her limited experience compared to the other women.

“But there’s Trish, coming in the back door,” said Jim Ross before turning to Paul Heyman and quipping. “I’m sure you wouldn’t mind that.”

JR, you filthy perv.

Vince Rallies the Troops

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Vince McMahon gives Team WWF a pep talk
Prior the main event, Vince McMahon lined up Team WWF in the locker room to give them a pep talk.

Ever the asshole, Mr. McMahon role his troops that although he was confident that they’d win, the fans would never forgive them if they lost.

What’s more, said Vince, losing would mean that they’d be personally and professionally disgraced, not to mention ridiculed by their peers and family.

Finally, McMahon also told them to forget all about Stone Cold Steve Austin rejoining the company and act as if it were ‘complete BS.’

Speaking of Austin, he was seen leading his team through the backstage corridors in solemn silence.

Say what you will about the whole Invasion storyline but this segment did an excellent job at building up the gravitas of the whole situation.

By the time it was over and we went into our obligatory pre-match video there was still an hour left on this show.

That makes for a really long main event for sure.

Winner Take All Survivor Series Elimination Match
Team Alliance (Shane McMahon, Booker T, WWF Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam, Kurt Angle, and WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin) vs. Team WWF (The Big Show, Kane, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho, and WCW Champion The Rock

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Steve Austin, RVD, and Kurt Angle reach for a tag
The Rock and Austin wasted no time getting into this one, immediately going after each other with rights and lefts and battering each other around the ring.

Things eventually settled down with members from each team pairing off and taking turns to spend a little time in the ring, usually with Team WWF getting the upperhand.

Hilariously, every time a member of the World Wrestling Federation made a cover, Shane McMahon would dive in and break it up then scurry off like a rat.

Speaking of Shane, he led by example by scoring the first fall for his side.

The Big Show took to the ring and destroyed Booker T, only for Kurt Angle to hit him with an impressive Angle Slam. Big Show then ate a scissor kick from Booker and a five-star frogsplash from Rob Van Dam before Shane sealed the deal with an elbow drop to put The Alliance ahead 5-4.

Unfortunately for McMahon, his victory didn’t last long. He got his ass whooped by The Rock, chokeslammed by Kane, tombstoned by The Undertaker and finally hit with a lionsault by Chris Jericho to level the playing field.

Things would soon breakdown into a brawl during which time both Kane and The Undertaker were eliminated, leaving The Rock and Chris Jericho to take on Austin, Angle, Booker, and RVD.

Given that Rock and Jericho had become increasingly hostile towards each other in recent weeks this did not bode well for Team WWF.

After more entertaining brawling, it all came down to Rock & Jericho vs. Austin & Angle.

In other words, a match between four original WWF guys.

Jericho played face in peril for a while before Rock finally made the hot tag and destroyed Kurt Angle, making the Olympic gold medalist possibly the only person in history to tap out to The Rock’s awkward sharpshooter.

Jericho too was later eliminated and took out his frustration on arch-rival The Rock before being sent packing by The Undertaker.

That left us with another classic Rock/Austin showdown which was undoubtedly the highlight of the whole match and a joy to watch.


After an epic battle between the two men, Kurt Angle returned and turned his back on The Alliance, smashing Austin in the face with the title belt to give The Rock, and Team WWF, the victory.
Your Winners: Team WWF (Sole Survivor: The Rock)

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Vince McMahon celebrates the WWF's Victory
As a distraught Paul Heyman looked on, The Rock celebrated his victory while Vince McMahon came out onto the stage.

The closing moments of Survivor Series 2001, and of the entire Invasion storyline was the WWF owner standing tall and proud, arms raised in victory having finally destroyed his competition once and for all.

In every sense, the landscape of professional wrestling would never be the same again.







Survivor Series 2001 may never go down as an all-time classic event, but its job was to write the final chapter of a story and to that end, it worked very well.

Although there were definitely some highlights (the main event and the tag title cage match) nothing on the show actually sucked, making for an enjoyable event from start to finish.

The Invasion may have had many flaws, but at least it ended on a high note.

1 comments:

The Alliance should have won. WCW Raw!

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