Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Showing posts with label 2001. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2001. Show all posts

Thursday, 15 April 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF Vengeance 2001

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Event poster
December 9, 2001
San Diego Sports Arena, San Diego, California.

WWF Vengeance 2001 was the first World Wrestling Federation Pay Per View to take place in the aftermath of The Invasion storyline.

If you recall, the whole thing had ended with Team WWF emerging triumphant in a Winner-Takes-All elimination match at Survivor Series 2001.

The following night on Raw, Ric Flair styled, profiled, and walked that ailse en route to the ring. There, he declared that he had purchased Shane and Stephanie McMahon's shares in the WWF, which had not only given the McMahon kids the money they needed to fun their hostile takeover event, but more importantly meant that The Nature Boy was now a co-owner of the WWF alongside Vince McMahon.

That created an immediate rivalry between the two as they tried to deal with the fall out of the Invasion. 

That, of course, meant unifying the WWF and WCW titles to create one undisputed champion. 

It isn't a spoiler to say that we all know who won. After all, the first undisputed champion would spend pretty much the rest of his career bragging about his accomplishments on a night which would ensure that things would never evvvvvvvvvvvvvver be the same...

...Again.

With that being said, let's down to San Diego for Vengeance 2001.




Four Men. Three Matches. Two Titles. One Undisputed Champion

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler called the event
Remember that awesome Freddie Fellini movie from Summerslam 2000? The mysterious film director was at it again for tonight’s show with a quirky opening video that seemed like something you’d get if you fed David Lynch a bunch of happy films.

As many opening videos did around this time, the Vengeance video featured an elderly Classy Freddy Blassie wandering around an abandoned warehouse. This time, he sat in a chair watching the champions of yesteryear while dancers danced, clowns clowned and Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King played.

All of this led to Blassie getting up and dancing with the dancers which was, naturally, the perfect way to hype up the serious importance of tonight’s show.

From there, it was pyro and crowd shots galore as Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to Vengeance.

‘Mr. McMahon Discusses Joining His Own Club’

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Vince McMahon opened the show
‘Mr. McMahon Discusses Joining His Own Club’
- that’s what this segment is called on WWE Network and it makes me laugh a lot because it’s just such a polite way of saying ‘Vince McMahon came to the ring and talked about having his face rammed into Rikishi’s ass’ which is what actually happened.

The Vince McMahon Kiss My Ass Club had been launched the night after Survivor Series 2001 when Vince made William Regal pucker up to get his job back.

The dumb storyline -which often threatened to overshadow the build to the title unification matches- culminated in Vince being required to kiss The Rock’s ass, only for The Great One to make Vince basically smooch his cousin’s bumhole.

If you missed all that, you needn’t have worried - Vince started tonight’s show by telling us all about it before turning on the crowd to remind them “he who laughs last, laughs loudest”

This brought out Vince’s rival Nature Boy Ric Flair for his first WWF PPV appearance since the 1993 Royal Rumble.

Flair didn’t have much to say, his basic role was to pop the crowd and move things along by introducing our opening contest.

WWF European Champion Christian & Test vs. Scotty 2 Hotty & Albert

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Christian reaches for the tag
This all started when Test had beaten up Scotty 2 Hotty back at Survivor Series to get a shot in the immunity battle royal which, if you recall, he won.

The feud had then brought in Test’s ‘last men standing from The Alliance’ colleague Christian while Scotty had formed a random alliance of his own with the ‘Hip Hop Hippo’ Albert.

Not once in this whole feud was any mention made of the fact that Test and Albert used to team up.

Anyway, the match was...OK.

It certainly wasn’t bad and nobody did anything that could be classed as outright offensive, but it just wasn’t that interesting and failed to capture the attention.

After a reasonable yet uninspired effort, Albert destroyed Christian with the Baldo Bomb to win the match which didn’t bode well for the European Champion’s prospects.
Your Winners: Scotty 2 Hotty & Albert

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - WIlliam Regal talks to Coach about The Power of the Punch
Backstage, William Regal gave a strong interview to Jonathan Coachman in which he claimed that as excellent an athlete as Edge was, he’d never before incurred the wrath of someone with Regal’s experience.

This was a good performance from the Blackpool native, being much more Bad Ass Regal than Comic Foil Regal.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Edge vs. William Regal

Regal continued to prove his worth as a performer in a strong match against Edge that was met with an unusually quiet reception from the live crowd.

The story was simple:

The aggressive veteran getting the upper hand on the young champion but growing increasingly more frustrated -and thus resorting to more and more dirty, underhand tactics- when his efforts proved too little to win the match.

Eventually, Regal’s desperation saw him reach for a pair of brass knuckles only for an exhausted yet determined Intercontinental champion to pull one last spear out of his arsenal and win the contest.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Edge

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Kurt Angle confronts Ric Flair
Backstage, we got a little comedy courtesy of Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle and new WWF co-owner Nature Boy Ric Flair.

Angle interrupted Flair’s phone call to let him know that tonight, he was going to do what Flair never had:

Become the Undisputed Champion.

“Well that’s awesome,” said Flair. “You’ve certainly got the skills to do it.”

Expecting an argument but not getting one, Kurt continued to try and antagonise Flair with his insistence that he was the man for the job tonight. The more Flair agreed with him, the more frustrated our Olympic Hero got.

I’m never too good at describing the humor in these moments, but trust me, it was comical.

Meanwhile, across the way, Matt Hardy tried to sweeten up his girlfriend Lita so that she’d be on his side in her role as special referee when Matt met Jeff Hardy to settle their recent differences.

Much to Matt’s chagrin, Lita said that she was always on his side as his girlfriend, she would call things right down the middle in tonight’s match.

Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy

Special guest referee: Lita
WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Matt Hardy confronts Lita

This had all started at Survivor Series when Jeff decided to dive off the top of a steel cage and crash through a table rather than win the match for his team.

Matt accused Jeff of being selfish and putting his love of taking risks before helping his team to victory. He had a point of course, but since the elder Hardy was being a bit of a d**k about the whole thing (as he had about other things such as ogling other members of the female roster), he had been cast in the role of heel.

Tonight, he continued his slow turn into a fully-fledged baddie in a match that he pretty much dominated from start to finish.

It was a weird one because although it wasn’t technically bad or anything, it still played out in front of a quiet crowd who were more into Lita than anything the two brothers were doing.

Besides, when you watch a Jeff Hardy match your kind of want to see him jumping around the place and at least breaking out a few fun spots. Outside of his match-winning Swanton bomb, however, there was none of that.

This was mostly just Matt beating up his brother and Jeff occasionally getting the briefest of comebacks before finally making the aforementioned swanton.

He made the cover, Matt got his foot on the ropes but Jeff pulled it off before Lita could see it and won the match.
Your Winner: Jeff Hardy

Afterwards, Matt protested his loss and, again, was completely justified in his complaint.

Trish Smells What The Rock is Cookin’

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Trish Stratus is smitten with The Rock
WWF Women’s Champion Trish Stratus had become a little infatuated with The Rock after The People’s Champion had saved her from joining the Vince McMahon Kiss My Ass Club and then snogged her face off backstage on either Raw or Smackdown (I forget which).

Tonight, she let herself into The Rock’s dressing room to give him a peck on the cheek for luck in his match tonight.

Before she left, Rocky told her that while he was completely focussed on that match, after it was done Trish would have plenty of time to smell what The Rock was cooking, which I think was a fairly gross way of saying he was going to shag her.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Dudleyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley w/ Stacy Kiebler) vs. The Big Show & Kane

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - The Dudley Boyz
This certainly wasn’t awful or anything, and you could tell all four men were at least trying hard, but this tag team title match just wasn’t all that interesting.

Sure, there were a few notable moments. Big Show pulled Stacy’s pants down and smacked her bum because this was a different time in history when you could get away with that sort of thing.

Kane tried playing face-in-peril which, as a huge monster character, was just unbelievable, and then he and Big Show had a bit of a falling out because they weren’t as well gelled as a team as The Dudleyz and kept accidentally hitting each other.

In the end, Bubba Ray & D’Von nailed Show with a 3D onto an exposed turnbuckle to win the match.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz

Out in the back, Lita tried to convince Matt Hardy that she hadn’t seen his foot on the rope. An irate Hardy was having none of it and simply packed his bags and left.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam vs. The Undertaker

Though the hardcore title was well below the stature of both competitors at this stage, Rob Van Dam has held the belt for pretty much the entire Invasion storyline, so they had to at least do something with it.

Meanwhile, The Undertaker had now completed his transformation into a heel after feeling annoyed that Vince McMahon didn’t trust him enough to let him know that Kurt Angle was actually working as a mole when he switched to The Alliance.

Complaining about disrespect, ‘Taker felt so slighted that he decided the best thing to do would be to ram Jim Ross’ face in McMahon’s ass, then get his haircut and start beating up RVD.

Tonight, the American Bad Ass and The Whole F’N Show had the best match on the card up to this point by a large margin.

This was the first time all night that the crowd actually came alive, and who can blame them? They were watching a match that was captivating, enthralling, and peppered with enough big spots to get those loud *Holy s**t* chants going.

Speaking of which, the whole thing came to ahead when ‘Taker chokeslamed the champion off the stage through some tables to capture his first hardcore title.
Your Winner and New Hardcore Champion: The Undertaker

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Chris Jericho confronts Ric Flair
Back in Ric Flair‘s office, Chris Jericho confronted Nature Boy Ric Flair. 

Not unlike Kurt Angle earlier, Jericho insisted that Flair didn’t believe Jericho could get the job done tonight.

This time, Flair couldn’t really deny that, instead simply stating that if Jericho could do it, then more power to him. 

Whoever won the gold, Flair would walk the isle tomorrow night on Raw and award them the Undisputed Championship.

World Wrestling Federation Women’s Championship
WWF Women’s Champion Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Trish Stratus
Though Trish would go on to be a competent and successful wrestler, she seemed very much over her head while locking up with the more experienced Jacqueline, making several mistakes that made the whole thing come off a little sloppy.

Of course, you can hardly blame her when she and Jacquie were trying to have an actual wrestling match and all the fans cared about was puppies.

Even Jerry Lawler, whose job it was to help get this stuff over, could only fixate on the colour of Trish’s bra.

After a minute or so of not very much, Trish hit her patented Bulldog to retain her title.
Your Winner and Still Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus

Prior to our main events, we were taken back to Smackdown and the moment The Rock burried Vince’s face in Rikishi’s ass.

Live from WWF New York, ‘Kishi joked about his concern that he might have to have McMahon’s ass surgically removed from his ass before telling us that he was now back and ready to back that ass up.

This was followed by a recap video of tonight’s undisputed championship matches set to the WWF Vengeance 2001 theme song, Sinner by Drowning Pool.


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

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle
Interestingly, Stone Cold Steve Austin came out to his classic Glass Shatters theme after months of using themes by Disturbed, firmly establishing the fact that his heel run was officially over.

His theme music wasn’t the only thing Austin brought back tonight. His older ring style also made a comeback...well, at least kind of.

This was the first time in perhaps years that we’d seen Austin having an actual wrestling match on PPV rather than the usual brawl up and down the isle and around ringside.

The champion even borrowed Angle’s own rolling German suplex move and hit him with five of the things in quick succession. Suplex city, bitch indeed.

Of course, Angle was no slouch either. The Olympic Gold Medalist worked hard here, but despite all that, this one fell short of their previous matches such as the one at Unforgiven 2001.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Because we couldn’t just go from one match to the next for some reason, this historic occasion was interrupted by a backstage skit in which Test hit on his former manager Trish Stratus, only for the women’s champion to send him packing.

World Championship
World Champion The Rock vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Chris Jericho beat The Rock for the World Championship
Now this was more like the kind of WWF main event this writer was expecting; a compelling battle between two arch rivals with the intensity turned all the way up to 11.

While it wasn’t quite as good as their awesome outing at No Mercy 2001, it was still a damn fine match in which Jericho looked strong against The Rock.

Ok, so he was still a heel and acted accordingly, and ok, so he won the match after hitting Rock with a low blow after the champion was distracted by Vince McMahon interference, but this wasn’t a case of Y2J getting whooped every which way til Sunday then fluking a victory.

Prior to the cheating, Jericho actually looked like he belonged as he took one step closer to immortality.
Your Winner and New World Champion: Chris Jericho

Jericho had no time to celebrate, or even rest for that matter, as Austin charged the ring and immediately went after him.

The WWF Champion was then taken out with a chair courtesy of Angle before Rock returned to the ring and planted Chris Jericho with a rock bottom.

Thus, our final match of the evening began with both men lying on their backs, sucking air.

Undisputed Championship Match
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. World Champion Chris Jericho

This was another decent match. Not as good as Jericho’s outing with The Rock, but passable as a main event and marred only by the fact that the crowd were obviously waiting for a run-in from a returning Triple H and that was never going to happen.

It wasn’t completely ludicrous to expect The Game to put in a cameo. His face was all over the advertisements for tonight while sledgehammers -his weapon of choice- were a prominent part of the show’s motif.

Alas, it wasn’t Hunter who was returning tonight but Booker T.

After failing to get his job back on a recent episode of Raw, the former Alliance member ran through the crowd and blasted his one-time leader in the head with a title belt. Then, Jericho made the cover. Earl Hebner made the count, and that was that.
Your Winner and New Undisputed Champion: Chris Jericho

Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Jericho had just beaten The Rock and Steve Austin in the same night. He would spend the rest of his career bragging about it.







Understandably, Vengeance 2001 is remembered more for its historical significance regarding the Undisputed Championship than it is for its in ring quality, but that’s not to say that this wasn’t a good show.

The opener was fun, Regal/Edge was solid, and Rock/Jericho was a riot.

Match of the night goes to Undertaker/RVD, a really enjoyable bout that is definitely worth watching at least once.


Thursday, 25 March 2021

Top 8 Best Things About The WWF Invasion Storyline

Top 8 best Things About the WWF Invasion Storyline
The WCW/ECW vs. WWF Invasion storyline that dominated Raw and Smackdown throughout the majority of 2001 has gone down in history as a disaster, ranking up there only with Katie Vick and The Gobbledygooker as some of the worst things McMahon & Co. ever forced upon their audience.

Still, despite its lasting legacy of terribleness, The Invasion angle did occasionally produce some good stuff too.

Sure, the WCW contingent that invaded the WWF boasted practically zero star power, and the two bonafide stars it did have (DDP and Booker T) were buried beyond belief. 

Sure, it gave us head-scratching defections like Christian joining The Alliance for no other reason than lumping him in with the other heels. That's not to mention Kurt Angle likewise jumping ship in literally in the last few weeks before the whole thing ended, despite the fact that he’d spent all summer feuding with Alliance leader Steve Austin.

And sure, the whole thing became more about The McMahons than any attempt at presenting a seemingly legitimate Invasion attempt, but honestly, it really wasn’t all bad.

Over the last few months, I’ve been documenting the Invasion-era PPVs here on Retro Pro Wrestling and watched the whole storyline play out, including all of the Raw and Smackdown shows in between.

Having done so, I genuinely believe that some of it was very entertaining.






Don’t believe me?

Here’s the eight best things to have come out of the WCW/ECW vs. WWF Invasion Storyline.

8. Kurt Angle Douses The Alliance in milk


It was a scene that would play out countless times over the years and was even referenced in Kurt Angle’s Hall of Fame induction; the Olympic Gold Medalist driving a milk truck to the ring and spraying everyone in sight with the white stuff.

The spot was, of course, a spoof of Alliance leader Stone Cold Steve Austin’s beer bath angle from March 1999, and served as the perfect spot for Angle to stick it to his arch-rival.

It went over huge too, partly because of the absurdity of it all, but mostly because Angle was enjoying a huge run as one of the company’s top two babyfaces. In fact, during the few months after Wrestlemania 17 while The Rock was away filming The Scorpion King, Angle had been the top face and would remain hugely over until his utterly nonsensical heel turn in the last few weeks of the Invasion.

Of course, it also gave us one JR's classic calls:

"The Billion Dollar Princess has become the dairy queen!"

7. Shane Helms Becomes The Hurricane 


Shane Helms had begun to get over in WCW’s Cruiserweight division during the dying days of the company’s existence.

He even had a terrific outing with Chavo Guerrero at WCW Greed, emerging victorious to become the new Cruiserweight champion and bringing that title with him over into the World Wrestling Federation.

There, he quickly lost the title to Billy Kidman and spent the first half of the invasion as a non-descript background character.

Things changed when he started appearing on TV wearing a Green Lantern t-shirt and professing his admiration for Hal Jordan’s alter-ego.

Not content to leave it there, Shane ‘Hurricane’ Helms decided to ditch his civilian name altogether and began referring to himself simply as The Hurricane, complete with superhero attire.

Despite being part of the heel Alliance faction, Hurricane soon became one of the more popular fan-favorite characters of that group, with only RVD (more of whom later) getting larger pops while part of the Alliance.

Hurricane was soon rewarded for his growing popularity with a European title run of not insignificant length (at least not in the modern age) and soon adopted himself a sidekick in the form of ‘Mighty’ Molly Holly.

In fact, Helms was so over with this gimmick that when he basically stole Molly from her then-boyfriend (and sympathetic babyface) Spike Dudley, the crowd continued to cheer him despite it being a pretty dick move.

The Hurricane would remain a popular act within the WWF for most of his run, even getting a high-profile match with The Rock. Alas, the WWF being the WWF, the ever-popular super hero would later ditch his alter-ego and go back to being regular old Gregory Helms.

5. Rob Van Dam’s Feud With Jeff Hardy


Not long after he arrived on the scene as part of the WCW/ECW Alliance, Rob Van Dam entered into a wildly entertaining feud with Jeff Hardy which resulted in some quality matches over the hardcore title.
The two would face off at the Invasion PPV, again at Summerslam 2001, and at least once on an episode of Smackdown.

While there wasn’t much to the storyline beyond both men wanting to outdo one another and prove themselves to be the superior wrestler, the actual matches between them were mostly excellent and a real highlight of the first few months of the Invasion.

When it was over, Jeff went back to teaming -and later feuding- with his brother Matt, enjoying a brief run with the WCW tag team titles while RVD emerged from the feud with the hardcore title still around his waist and would hold onto it until well after the whole Invasion storyline was over.

4. Rock vs. Jericho 


OK, so you could argue that a battle between two WWF stars such as The Rock and Chris Jericho could have still happened without the invasion, but this is one instance where the WWF vs. WCW/ECW storyline bombing so bad actually resulted in something awesome.

Owing to the lack of star power and generally poor ratings the Invasion was getting, Vince had The Rock come back after filming The Mummy Returns, immediately bury Booker T with his “who in the blue hell are you?” line and then beat him for the WCW Championship.

The Great One would then team with Chris Jericho for reasons that I can’t remember and probably don’t matter, but when Jericho accidentally whacked his partner with a chair, this caused a rift between the two.

The Rock began to remind Jericho that he’d never captured ‘The Big One’ and insulted him for his lack of success in high-profile matches while Jericho claimed this simply wasn’t true and promised to dethrone the WCW Champion at WWF No Mercy 2001.

True to his word, Y2J captured The Big Gold Belt from his partner/nemesis thanks to some botched shenanigans from Stephanie McMahon. The match was awesome and must have surely been in the conversation when most people were naming their Match of the Year picks.

Simply a great singles match and one of the best from the entire Invasion.

3. Paul Heyman Gives Vince McMahon a Piece of His Mind 


In the build-up to the final battle at Survivor Series 2001, ECW leader and then color commentator Paul Heyman was given a microphone and free reign to say whatever was on his mind.

It turned out what was on his mind was how much he hated Vince McMahon. After talking in general about his disdain for the Chairman, Vince Himself made his way to ringside and that's when Heyman really let him have it.

Though this cynical fan really doubts that it wasn't entirely a "shoot" promo as it was presented to be, it was certainly incredibly compelling and one of the most enthralling spots in the storyline.

2. Sing-Along With The Rock and Stone Cold 


Heyman wasn't the only one to deliver an excellent promo in the build-up to Survivor Series. On the go-home Raw, WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin and WCW Champion The Rock met face-to-face in the ring to deliver a promo for the ages.

It started with the two snatching the microphone from one another and building up epic amounts of tension and ended with them singing Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville as a duet before Rock planted Austin with a Rock Bottom. 

Though it wasn't as soaked in realism as Heyman berating of Mr. McMahon, Rock and Austin's verbal jousting looked like the most fun two wrestlers could ever have and was simply a joy to watch.

1. The Rise and Rise of Rob Van Dam

Having impressed in that aforementioned feud with Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam quickly caught fire as one of the most popular stars in the company throughout the duration of the Invasion storyline. 

In fact, I'd even dare to say that the reactions he received were on a par with the likes of headline acts like Austin and Angle. 

His popularity didn't go unnoticed and despite being aligned with The Alliance for the duration of the storyline, he was presented as a babyface and was even teased as rivaling Stone Cold Steve Austin for the title of Alliance leader.

This led to him being placed in a WWF title match, taking on champion Austin as well as Kurt Angle in a triple threat match. Though you could easily be skeptical and say that RVD's role in the match was simply to give Austin a win without Angle suffering a loss, if you followed the entire storyline, Van Dam's rise to the main event seemed entirely fitting and a natural result of his growing stardom.

Unfortunately, it wasn't to last.

Just a few months after the Invasion storyline ended, Van Dam found himself in a nothing mid-card feud with Goldust. Sure, that feud gave us a decent match at No Way Out 2002, but it seemed like such a comedown after The Whole F'N Show had proven himself to be one of the company's most over stars in 2001. 






2001 Reviews:

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.

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.

Retro Pro Wrestling

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