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Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

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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

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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

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Showing posts with label Armageddon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Armageddon. Show all posts

Friday, 18 February 2022

PPV REVIEW: Armageddon 2002

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Event Poster
December 15, 2002
Office Depot Center, Sunrise, Florida

Armageddon 2002 came at the end of a big period of change for WWE.

With the Invasion angle now but a distant memory, the company had gone into the New Year with a bloated roster, leading to the creation of the first roster draft.

Shortly after, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) became World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and, shortly after that, one of the company's biggest stars of the previous decade, Shawn Michaels, had returned to action following a four-year hiatus.

In another landmark moment for 2002, the Elimination Chamber was invented and took place at Survivor Series '02, giving Michaels a World Heavyweight Championship win and quickly re-establishing himself as the main event attraction that he was.

Tonight, Michaels would head back to the main event to defend that title against former friend turned bitter rival, Triple H, while on the undercard, the WWE's last PPV of the year would see young stars like Dave Batista and John Cena start their journey to the top.




Here's what went down when Armageddon 2002 came to Sunrise, Florida.

The End is Here

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler called all the action


Tonight’s show began with all of WWE’s trademark opening video staples.

You wanted an elderly Freddie Blassie waxing philosophical like he’d done in countless other videos in the past?

You got it.

You wanted shots of that abandoned warehouse they always showed?

You got that too.

You wanted that bad ass rip-off of The Doors’ that featured on several other PPVs?

Here it was!

You wanted shots of wrestlers interspersed with random pictures of missiles and war-torn lands?

Yep, you got that too.

Ok, so it wasn’t the most impressive video of all time, but it was still mighty good.

With the video over, we got crowd shots and a greeting from our announcers Jim Ross & Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler who led us right into our opening match.

Four Team Elimination Match for the WWE World Tag Team Championship
World Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz (D-Von & Bubba Ray Dudley) vs. Lance Storm & William Regal vs. Booker T & Goldust

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - The Dudley Boyz go WASSUP!


I’ve got to be honest with you, dear readers, this match was a bit of a letdown, at least in the early going.

After a few minutes of decent but unremarkable action, the recently reunited Dudley Boyz got taken out, followed quickly by Lance Storm and William Regal, denying this fan of the opportunity to see some kind of interaction between Storm and his former Thrillseekers partner, Chris Jericho.

With those two teams out of the running, Jericho and Christian went at it with Booker T and Goldust in what turned out to be a fun and explosive exchange.

It was good stuff, but I couldn’t help but feel that the match would have been a lot better had they kept it as a straight 2 vs. 2 between the two remaining teams.

After a good effort, Booker put Jericho away to capture the gold for his team.
Your Winners and New Tag Team Champions: Booker T & Goldust

Post-match, the new champions were interviewed at ringside by Jonathan Coachman, with The Booker Man putting his partner over and working the crowd.

Will Brock Be in Angle’s Corner?

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Josh Mattews interviews Brock Lesnar


Out in the back, Smackdown backstage reporter Josh Matthews asked Brock Lesnar whether he would be in Kurt Angle’s corner tonight against WWE Champion The Big Show.

Rather than give Matthews a straight answer, The Next Big Thing simply promised to make an impact on tonight’s show.

Edge vs. A-Train

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Edge faced A-Train


I don’t know about you, but A-Train was always one of those wrestlers who -though he wasn’t terrible in the ring- I certainly never had any desire to watch wrestle.

He got his way into this match by virtue of beating up Edge’s buddy and tag partner Rey Mysterio before costing the future Rated R Superstar a shot at the title.

The match was surprisingly enjoyable. Not amazing by any stretch, but certainly a solid performance from both men.

After a good outing with a couple of exciting near falls, A-Train got fed up and blasted Edge in his supposedly injured knee with a chair.
Your Winner via DQ: Edge

Afterwards, Edge went loco and destroyed his nemesis with the chair, much to the delight of the audience.

Big Show Wants Respect

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - The Big Show demands respect


Backstage, an angry Big Show ranted to Paul Heyman about not getting any respect. For some reason that I couldn’t quite follow, he had decided they the best way to get it was to barge into Stephanie McMahon’s office.

Before he could do that, however, the champion’s agent, Paul Heyman convinced him to go prepare for his match instead, insisting that he, Heyman, would handle everything.

WWE Tag Team Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Eddie Guerrero faced Chris Benoit


With Michael Cole informing us that the winner of this match would inevitably get a title match, both Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero made their way to the ring with purpose.

As they did so, you got a distinct feeling that this was about to be a show stealer and proverbial Match of the Night candidate

Unfortunately, these two talented performers failed to live up to expectations on this particular night.

The first half of the match saw Guerrero and Benoit focus on a mat-based approach with lots of holds and chain wrestling. It was solid, but unfortunately, it only served to elicit a noticeable “boring”
chant from the Florida faithful.

The two would occasionally liven things up by trading rolling German suplexes or having Guerrero leap off the top to the outside with a big time crossbody on his former Radicalz teammate, but then it was back to basics.

Things picked up towards the finish (which saw Eddie tap to the Crossface) but by that point it was too little, too late.

This was a fine match, for sure, but just not what the crowd wanted to see and by no means either man’s best outing.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Paul Heyman and Stephanie McMahon


Back in Stephane McMahon’s office, the Smackdown GM refused Paul Heyman’s request to ban Brock Lesnar from being in Kurt Angle’s corner tonight.

Steph refused, prompting Heyman to sweat that if Lesnar did get involved tonight, Big Show would break his neck.

No lie, the interaction between Steph and Heyman was one of the most entertaining things on the show so far.

Dawn Marie Seduces Torrie Wilson

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Al Wilson and Dawn Marie


Up next, we saw a video package of the time Dawn Marie promised to call off her marriage to Al Wilson if his daughter Torrie Wilson spent the night with her in her hotel room.

This was followed by Dawn and Al coming to the ring where the former began rolling footage from said hotel room where she began to seduce Torrie.

The live crowd ate it up, but, honestly, it wasn’t sexy in the slightest. It was weird and uncomfortable and this writer for one was glad when Al Wilson put his foot down and ordered Dawn Marie to
Stop.

That was horrible.

Kane vs. Batista (w/ Ric Flair)

Batista hit the ring to what sounded like a demo version of his signature “I Walk Alone” theme while Jim Ross told us that the future champion was making his PPV debut here.

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Batista and Ric Flair


Ross wasn’t wrong here, this was certainly his PPV debut match, but he’d technically appeared before as Reverend D-Von’s hired muscle back at Judgement Day 2002.

With Ric Flair in his corner, Batista went up against Kane in a match that was…OK.

Sure, it was competently performed and a strong effort from both men, but the match simply wasn’t that interesting or exciting.

What’s more, the regular interference from Flair (who was the most popular man in the whole thing) took the shine of his rising star protege.

After a so-so outing, Batista put away Kane for the three.
Your Winner: Batista

Out in the back, Kurt Angle searched for Brock Lesnar…

Cena Raps

Up next, heel John Cena came out with Bull “B-12” Buchanan in tow to spit lyrics about how awesome he was.

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - John Cena raps raps raps


The whole thing, which sounded more like slam poetry than actual rapping, was greeted with near silence from the crowd.

WWE Women’s Championship
WWE Women’s Champion Victoria vs. Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline

Prior to the match, we were taken back to Survivor Series 2002 where Victoria beat Trish Stratus for the women's championship, after which she stole Jacqueline’s clothes for no other reason than the fact that she was supposed to be off her rocker.

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Trish Stratus vs. Victoria vs. Jacqueline


The match was a good effort by all three women but, much like the previous bout, did almost nothing to capture the imagination and compel you watch.

After several minutes, the reigning champion picked up the fall to continue her big-time push.
Your Winner and Still WWE Champion: Victoria

After the match, a victorious Victoria stole Jacqui’s hat and took it to the back.

Time for Retribution

Out in the back, Kurt Angle tried to persuade Brock Lesnar to be his corner for tonight’s WWE title match by reminding him that he would be only 20ft away from the man who screwed him out of the gold, Paul Heyman.

In a compelling segment, Lesnar refused to confirm that he’d be there, but did promise that Angle wouldn’t regret helping to get his recent suspension lifted.

This was followed by a video package highlighting the Lesnar/Angle/Show/Heyman storyline before we went down to our penultimate match of the evening.

WWE Championship
WWE Champion The Big Show (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Kurt Angle

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - The Big Show clobbers Kurt Angle


This was a decent match that was hampered by having the Lesnar appearance tease lingering overhead.

Angle tried to use his speed and agility to get the better of Big Show in the early going, but the champion countered by using his strength and size to his advantage and wearing The Olympic Gold Medalist down.

It was as good as you could ask for from a match involving The Big Show, but it was met with reserved applause from an audience who were clearly just waiting for Lesnar to show up.

In fact, when the referee got knocked down along with the two combatants, the crowd merely chanted “We want Brock!”

They would, of course, get him, but not before A-Train ran in with a completely random attack on the challenger.

Eventually, The Next Big Thing hit the ring while official Mike Chioda was napping and hit Show with an F-5.

It got the biggest response of the whole match and led to Angle covering Show to capture his third WWE title.
Your Winner and New WWE Champion: Kurt Angle

Prior to the main event, Rob Van Dam came to us live from The World to give us his prediction.

Though he’d been in the ring with both men and knew how tough they were, The Whole F’N Show gave the nod to Michaels, noting that there was nothing he loved more than seeing Triple H get his ass kicked.

Three Stages of Hell Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (w/ Ric Flair)

I’ve read numerous complaints from other reviewers who say that something about this match just didn’t click or wasn’t quite right.

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Triple H prepares to hurt Shawn Michaels with a flaming barbwire 2x4



Honestly, I’m not sure I agree with them.

This was a good match. It didn’t live up to their awesome unsanctioned match back at Summerslam 2002, but it was enjoyable in its own right.

Both champ and challenger wasted no time in going at one another with fists, fury, and a flurry of weapons as they battled in a street fight.

Triple H won that round after planting HBK with his patented pedigree.

The second fall was a cage match, and it’s here where I’ve seen this contest draw the most criticism, as surely it would have been better to end the match on that one?

Again, I don’t agree with that criticism as it allowed both men to masterfully tease a spot where Michaels would have crashed off the cage through a two-tier stack of four tables, leaving fans wanting more.

They didn’t get it at that moment. Instead, they rolled back into the ring where Ric Flair’s interference infuriated the champion to the point where we got a great spot in which the defending champion simply went ape shit on his adversaries.

This entertaining part of the match saw HBK take out both Flair and Hunter before pinning the latter to even the score.

Blood soaked and battered, the two men intensified their fight in the third and final fall, a ladder match.

Separately, both men had given us better ladder matches than this one, but it was still gripping in its own right.

After six or seven minutes of war, The Showstopper took out his rival then slowly dragged his weary body up the ladder in pursuit of the gold.

Before he could make it however, the challenger recovered and toppled the ladder, sending Michaels crashing out of the ring and through the four tables…just as he’d teased earlier:

The spot -which certainly cool- pretty much killed The Heartbreak Kid, giving the game all the time he needed to scale the ladder and reclaim the title he’d lost one month earlier at Survivor Series.
Your Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H

As the show went off the air, a destroyed Shawn Michaels lay comatose on the outside while his nemesis scaled the top rope, his face a bloody mess but his hand holding a loft the championship.






Speaking of blood, the one thing I didn’t mention was that during Flair’s run-in, the Nature Boy blades and proceeded to seriously gush.

I don’t mean he bled just a little, I mean he bled like he was competing on an NWA show booked by Dusty Rhodes back in the 80s.

I mean more blood than any of the two men actually competing in the match.

Anyway, Armageddon 2002 wasn’t the greatest PPV in the world but, then again, WWE’s December offerings have rarely ever been considered all-time classic shows.

The main event was the highlight of the night for me, though Benoit/Guerrero was also an enjoyable performance.

Given that the worst two things on the show weren’t matches at all but rather the Cena rap and that awful Dawn Marie business, I’m happy to say that this was at the very least a decent show.


Thursday, 16 July 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Armageddon 2000

WWE / WWF - Armageddon 2000 - event poster
December 10, 2000, 
Birmingham–Jefferson Civic Center, Birmingham, Alabama

I've said it before that the World Wrestling Federation's annual December PPV often felt like an off night for the company and its roster; a chance to slow it down a gear before things picked back up in the run towards the Royal Rumble.


Tonight, however, something just felt different.

Armageddon 2000 was to be headlined by a multi-man Hell in a Cell match which the company were promoting as the biggest thing to happen in the WWF since...

..Well, since ever.

That alone made the show feel important right from the outset.  At a time when Hell in a Cell is basically just another match, it's refreshing to find a show where the 'demonic steel structure' is still held in some reverence.

Yet for all the hype, would the World Wrestling Federation really be able to deliver? Or would this be yet another lacklustre December PPV in which everyone took a night off?







Let's head to Birmingham, Alabama to find out.

The End is Here

Tonight’s show began with an awesome video package that interspersed scenes of war, violence, and general-Armageddon-things with shots of the WWF’s top stars.

WWE / WWF - Armageddon 2000 - Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler called the show
On its own, it wasn’t too impressive, but it was the song that accompanied it that really made it work.

An obvious nod to The Doors’ track of the same name, The End was a Jim Johnson original with Jim Morrison-esque vocals that really made for a compelling introduction to tonight’s show.

What wasn’t so great was the take on Sweet Home Alabama which accompanied the opening crowd shots and introduction from Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler.

On its own, the music was annoyingly repetitive, but the worst part was that it’s cheery, upbeat tone was totally at odds with the general theme of doom that you’d want for a show called Armageddon.

With the Hell in a Cell hanging seriously low over the ring, Ross and Lawler told us that Mick Foley had promised to resign if anyone was seriously injured in tonight’s match.

Vince Don’t Want No Coffee

Backstage, a limousine pulled up. Pat Patterson and Gerald Briscoe argued over who was going to open the door to allow Vince McMahon to step out of it.

For some reason that I can’t be bothered to look up, Vince was limping with a cane as he pushed onto into the arena, refusing an offer for coffee because he wasn’t in the mood for it, damnit.

That was a mostly odd and pointless segment.

Six Person Inter-Gender Elimination Match
Team Xtreme (Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, and Lita) vs. The Radicalz (WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, and Perry Saturn w/ Terri)

WWE / WWF - Armageddon 2000 - Lita teamed with The Hardy Boyz to face The Radicalz
Before the bell, a video recap told us how this match came about:

Lita challenged Dean Malenko to a Light Heavyweight Championship match, lost, and had to go on a date with the champion.

She then tricked him into taking her to a hotel room for some nookie, reminded him that he was a married man, then had Matt and Jeff Hardy attack him.

The actual match was pretty good even if it was entirely predictable.

Busting out the kind of entertaining spots that you’d want from a PPV opener, this fun, fast-paced elimination match obviously came down to just Malenko and Lita.

After a good bit of back-and-forth, the former put the latter in the Texas Cloverleaf and this one was done.

All round, an enjoyable effort, and not just because Terri got involved and flashed her ass at one point.
Your Winner: Dean Malenko

Afterwards, Malenko hurled Lita out of the ring. The Ice Man showed more personality in this one little bit then he had done for his entire career.

Eventually, The Hardyz came to Lita’s aid while Michael Cole got a ringside interview with her.

Clearly in agony, the former women’s champion insisted she could beat Malenko.

Angle is Ready

WWE / WWF - Armageddon 2000 - Lilian Garcia interviews WWF Champion Kurt Angle
Backstage, Lillian Garcia interrupted Kurt Angle’s workout routine to get an interview.

As excellent as he ever was on the microphone, the WWF Champion admitted that there was no way he could properly prepare to face five other men inside Hell in a Cell, but that he wasn’t worried anyway because he was an Olympic Gold Medalist who was sure to win.

The promo was followed by a flashback to No Way Out 2000, when Triple H backdropped a battered and bloody Cactus Jack through the cage roof to the ring below.

Man, it feels like such a long time ago that I reviewed that show.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion William Regal vs. Hardcore Holly

WWE / WWF - Armageddon 2000 - William Regal defended the European Championship against Hardcore Holly
This was a better match than William Regal had with Hardcore Holly’s cousin Crash a week earlier at Rebellion 2000, but it still wasn’t Regal’s finest hour.

Before the match, the European Champion took to the microphone to insult the Alabama crowd, labeling them all as overall-wearing, beastiality-loving rednecks.

He was great at this part, but when Alabama’s own Bob Holly came down and the match got underway, it never really went past being inoffensively decent.

After a short encounter, Raven inexplicably ran in and destroyed Holly with an Even Flow DDT.

The champ capitalized and, one three count later, this was all over.
Your Winner and Still European Champion: William Regal

On Smackdown, Kurt Angle had broken an alliance with HHH and Rikishi by blasting the latter with the world title.

Backstage at Armageddon, ‘Kishi cut a convincing promo in which he told Kevin Kelly that it didn’t matter who else turned on him because he had sacrificed his heart, body, and soul for a shot at the WWF title and would take advantage of that shot tonight.

I may be in the minority, but I enjoyed main event ‘Kishi.

Chyna vs. Val Venis (w/ WWF Women’s Champion Ivory)

WWE / WWF - Armageddon 2000 - Val Venis bodyslams Chyna in their singles match
Right to Censor were upset with Chyna for appearing in Playboy, so Val Venis was tasked with taking her out in this short, uninteresting match.

I’m usually a fan of Chyna and tend to give her more credit than some reviewers, but there was nothing about this match that made me want to pay attention.

Val won after Ivory interfered.
Your Winner: Val Venis

Post-match, Chyna went to attack Ivory but Venis returned and planted The Ninth Wonder of the World with a powerbomb.

Steph is Scared

Afterward, we once again flashed back to No away Out, where Cactus Jack set a barb-wire wrapped 2x4 on fire and blasted HHH with it.

Back live in the arena, Stephanie McMahon told Vince that she was scared for her husband’s safety in the upcoming main event.

For his part, Vince replied that he’d had enough of Commissioner Foley and would put a stop to him and his actions.

The Animal Within

WWE / WWF - Armageddon 2000 - The Undertaker gave a compelling interview to Kevin Kelly
Earlier in the day, The Undertaker met Kevin Kelly inside Hell in a Cell to about his history in the sadistic cage.

Talking about how he felt more like an animal than a human Inside Hell in a Cell, ‘Taker went into graphic, gruesome detail about the violence he’d inflicted on both Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley, and promised to do the same to someone here tonight.

This was excellent stuff that really sold how brutal the Hell in the Cell match was, as well as how wicked the American Bad Ass could be.

Vince Hates the Main Event

With The Stooges by his side, the Chairman of the Board took to the ring to express just how much he was opposed to tonight’s main event.

The backstory here was that Vince didn't want the main event to go ahead because it contained all of his top stars in one violent match. If any of them -or many of them- got injured, then he was down a lot of money.

It was a smart backstory, but despite Vince being a genius on the microphone, he struggled to get that message across, not even in a subtle way.

Last Man Standing Match
Kane vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF - Armageddon 2000 - Kane puts a submission hold on Chris Jericho in their last man standing match
At Fully Loaded 2000, Chris Jericho was involved in one of the greatest Last Man Standing matches ever against Triple H.

This was nowhere near on a par with that one, but it was still a pretty solid effort by all accounts.

Kane destroyed Jericho, but the plucky Y2J continually found a way to fight back, eventually dropping The Big Red Machine in an awkward table spot before burying him under a stack of fake toxic waste barrels that were made up the set.

At the last possible second, Kane’s arm shot through the barrels but it was too little, too late.

Teddy Long called for the bell and this gripping Last Man Standing match was over.
Your Winner: Chris Jericho

Out in the back, Jonathan Coachman had to get past Debra’s boobs so that he could have a word with Commissioner Foley.

In a good promo, Foley insisted that he knew how dangerous tonight’s main event was, but that he was committed to seeing that it went ahead anyway.

Live from New York, it’s The Heart Break Kid

Dancing around on the stage at WWF New York, Shawn Michaels was asked if he had any advice for tonight’s Hell in a Cell competitors.

Despite being in the first-ever cell match back at Badd Blood 1997, HBK declared that there was nothing he could say as literally anything could happen tonight.

We then flashed back to Hell in a Cell 2 at King of the Ring ‘98, where Undertaker chokeslammed Mick Foley onto some thumbtacks.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship Fatal Fourway Match
WWF Tag Team Champions Right to Censor (Bull Buchanan & The Goodfather w/ Steven Richards) vs. Edge & Christian vs. Road Dogg & K-Kwik vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley)

WWE / WWF - Armageddon 2000 - The Dudleyz do 'Wassup' on Edge
This was a solid effort from all involved, even if the first half of the match seemed to matter very little.

Things started with all four teams taking to their corners as in a traditional tag team match.

It was fine, and the actual wrestling that took place during this portion of the match was good enough, but you knew that it would eventually break down into a free-for-all, and so did the crowd.

From very early on, they got loud with their ‘WE WANT TABLES’ chants, making anything going on in the ring seem like it was killing time until they eventually got them.

Inevitably, The Dudley Boyz went through a crowd-popping burst of offense, taking out everyone in their path and reaching under the ring for the furniture.

'I think Bubba Ray’s got wood.....on his mind!’ Yelled JR, who clearly knew what he was doing.

The actual tables never really came into play in the match, but the whole chaotic closing minutes of the match were still very enjoyable.

Eventually, Christian hit Bubba with the Unprettier, Edge made the cover and Right to Censor lost the tag team titles without even being beaten.
Your Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian

WWE / WWF - Armageddon 2000 - HHH told his wife that the WWF Championship was the most important thing in the world to him. What a jerk.
Backstage, Triple H told his own wife that the WWF Championship was the most important thing in the world to him.

Honestly, with that kind of attitude, it’s a miracle their relationship lasted so long.

The Game then cut a scathing promo in Steph’s face, promising that nothing would stop him from getting the title back tonight.

We then flashed back once again to HHH/Cactus from No Way Out, with Hunter sending Jack crashing off the cage through the announce table.

Curiously, both HHH and Steph had referred to that match as taking place ‘last year,’ even though it had only been in February.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion ‘The One’ Billy Gunn vs. Chris Benoit

WWE / WWF - Armageddon 2000 - Chris Benoit puts the crossface on Billy Gunn
If you’re the kind of fan who hates Billy Gunn, you’ll probably love this match.

The intercontinental champion got his ass handed to him in what was, admittedly, a thoroughly satisfying contest.

After getting destroyed for most of the contest, The One submitted to the Crippler Crossface snd relinquished his title.
Your Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Chris Benoit

And that was about it for Billy Gunn’s push as a major star in the WWF. He’d do nothing of note until Chuck Palumbo turned up, eventually turning up in TNA as The Outlaw and, um...Cute Kip.

100% Coffee Fuelled

Earlier in the day, Stone Cold Steve Austin had hung out in some kind of random kitchen, telling Jim Ross that he’d been drinking coffee all day and was now ready to go stomp a mudhole in his opponents.

Austin didn’t care that Hell in a Cell had shortened Shawn Michael’s career, or that it had ended Foley’s, all he cared about was becoming the champion again.

As all the main event promos had been so far, this was very compelling stuff from Stone Cold.

WWE / WWF - Armageddon 2000 - Trish Stratus faced Molly Holly and Ivory in a three-way for Ivory's women's championshipWorld Wrestling Federation Women’s Championship Triple Threat
WWF Women’s Champion Ivory vs. Molly Holly vs. Trish

It would be years before the women were putting on matches that consistently rivaled the men’s and tonight was no exception despite having competent workers in the form of Ivory and Molly Holly in there.

This was an incredibly short match that barely lasted more than two minutes.

The actual action was OK for what it was but, really, what can you do in two minutes?

Ivory won. Very few people cared.
Your Winner and Still Women’s Champion: Ivory

Afterward, Test and Albert came down to get Molly after she cost Trish the match, but Crash came down and challenged them to a brawl.

This led to the return of the APA, who came after their rivals.

WWE / WWF - Armageddon 2000 - The Rock silences Kevin KellyFinally, The Rock has Come Back...to Hell

Backstage, The Rock cut a captivating promo in which he promised Kevin Kelly that he would sweat and bleed and beat everyone’s candy asses when he walked straight into hell to become our six-time WWF Champion.

The Great One was on fire here, and I’m glad he cut a serious promo rather than goofing around for laughs, an approach which only added to the gravitas of our main event.

Six-Man Hell in a Cell for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Kurt Angle vs. Triple H vs. Rikishi vs. The Undertaker vs. The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

I love HHH’s theme here, by the way, it’s a mix of My Time and The Game, and it sounds epic.

The Undertaker came out to 'Rollin’which was surprising because they had to edit out American Bad Ass on the WWE Network but somehow Limp Bizkit was still ok.

In between them both, Kurt Angle was the third man to make his way to the ring, an odd position given his status as the reigning champion.

Regardless, this match met every exception.

A glorious celebration of pro wrestling violence, the match was essentially a three-act story.

WWE / WWF - Armageddon 2000 - The Rock silences Kevin Kelly
In the first act, all six men brawled wildly around the ring until Vince McMahon and The Stooges came down with a flatbed truck carrying a bunch of kennel bedding that you immediately knew somebody would take a bump on later.

McMahon had his cronies attach a chain between the cage door and the truck to rip the door off. The Chairman’s aim was to use the truck to tear down the cage completely, but Foley came down, beat a bunch of people up and had McMahon escorted away by security.

This led to act two, an even wilder, bloodier brawl in which all six men made their way to the junk cars that made up the entrance set and annihilated one another. Everyone except Rikishi got busted open.

It was chaotic, it was fun, and it was as brutally brilliant and brilliantly brutal as you might hope for.

Eventually, the match wound up on the top of the cell where Rikishi almost caved Angle’s skull in with a chair before -somewhat predictably- being the one to take the big bump off the top of the cage to the truck courtesy of an Undertaker chokeslam.

Back in the ring for the final act, only HHH, Angle, The Rock, and Austin remained, and even they could barely stand.

After a gripping climax, Angle barely got a hand on The Rock’s chest to pin him for the three count.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Kurt Angle

Afterward, Austin delivered one last stunner to Angle, but that was all he was capable of.

Battered, bloodied, and absolutely broken, nobody could stand. Nobody could move.

Hell in a Cell had delivered everything the WWF had told us it would.







And that’s why I love this show so much.

From an in-ring standpoint, only the main event stood out as anything special, but man did it ever stand out.

The story throughout the night was that this was one match so brutal and diabolical that it would forever change the lives of those who entered it, and then they came through by really selling us on the fact that it really had done that.

The story and the sell may have been better than most of the matches, but it made for compelling viewing.



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Thursday, 17 October 2019

PPV REVIEW: WWF Armageddon 1999

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Event Poster
December 12, 1999
National Car Rental Center, Sunrise, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Since they first launched them back in 1995, The World Wrestling Federation had never really seemed to care too much about their December pay per views.

Whether it was the Bulldog/Diesel fiasco back at In Your House 5: Seasons Beatings or Shawn Michaels taking on Ken Shamrock back at In Your House 19: D-Generation-X, the company's end-of-year offerings always gave you the impression that they'd turned on the autopilot button for the winter and were taking some well-earned downtime before the Royal Rumble.

While you can hardly blame them, that doesn't exactly fill this writer with a lot of confidence going into tonight's show.

Still, at least this one had some historical significance to it.

Apart from a year off in 2001 when in the wake of September 11th, it was changed to Vengence, Armageddon would go onto become the WWF's annual December PPV all the way until 2008.

But did this long-running PPV series get off to a good start?





Let's head to Sunrise, Florida to find out.

Triple H and Vince McMahon hate each other

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler called the action
The show opened with an eerie video package in which a falsetto choir boy sang over shots of Vince McMahon and Triple H pulling faces to demonstrate the intensity of their various emotions.

This was all put together to remind us, in a somewhat subtle way, that Triple H had drugged Stephanie McMahon and married her - a somewhat dubious start to WWE's longest running partnership to say the least.

Clearly angry that Andrew 'Test' Martin wasn't going to be the man to eventually launch NXT and have five-hour long epic matches at Wrestlemania every year, Vince McMahon had begun a war with Hunter which would hopefully be settled tonight when the two met in no holds barred match.

From there, the cameras panned the arena as a very excited Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler welcomed us to the show and took us straight into our first match.

Sixteen Man Tag Team Battle Royal
The Dudley Boyz (D-Von & Bubba Ray Dudley) vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher) vs. The Hardys (Matt & Jeff Hardy) vs. The Mean Street Possee (Pete Gas & Rodney) vs. The Acolytes (Farooq & Bradshaw) vs. Too Cool (Scotty Too Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay) vs. The Godfather & 'Sexual Chocolate' Mark Henry

The winner receives a tag team title shot at the Royal Rumble
When one member of a team is eliminated, both have to leave the ring.


WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Bubba Ray Dudley
Battle royals are rarely all that exciting to watch until the finish, and this one was no exception.

Yes, there's always the novelty of seeing the ring entirely filled with people, but nothing much exciting happens until you get down to the final.

In this instance, it came down to The Hardys vs. The Acolytes who managed to put together a very entertaining finish. At one point, both Bradshaw and Matt Hardy went over the ropes at the same time, leaving Jeff Hardy to battle it out with Farooq.

Hardy sent Farooq sailing over the ropes with a flying headscissors, but the referee was too busy tending to Matt Hardy to see it.

All four men returned to the ring until both Matt and Bradshaw ended up on the apron, at which point Farooq sent Jeff flying through the air to the outside in order to win the match.
Your Winners: The Acolytes

Out in the back, Kurt Angle bragged to Lillian Garcia about still being undefeated in the World Wrestling Federation despite losing a tag team match to The Dudleys on Smackdown.

According to Angle, the loss was all Steve Blackman's fault, and since it was The Lethal Weapon who ate the pin, Kurt's record stayed unblemished.

Kurt Angle vs. Steve Blackman

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Kurt Angle faced Steve Blackman
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, one month after debuting at the 1999 Survivor Series, Kurt Angle, Olympic Hero, future WWF Hall of Famer and one of the greatest of all time found himself in a feud with...Steve Blackman.

Talk about an underwhelming start.

Here, the two locked up in what was a pretty mediocre match that elicited a 'boring' chant from the Florida faithful.

Though I wouldn't go quite as far as to call it boring, I will admit that this one was pretty forgettable.

In fact, the best part of the whole thing was Kurt Angle's over-the-top celebration, acting like he'd just won another gold medal when all he'd done was pin Blackman with a German suplex.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle

Post-match, The Lethal Weapon blasted Angle with a pair of nun-chucks, much to the crowd's delight.

Cole has a crush on B.B

Meanwhile, out in the back, Michael Cole got all tongue-tied and flabberghasted while trying to interview B.B about her upcoming evening gown match.

At one point, she asked him for help with fastening up her dress and poor ol' Cole turned into a gibbering goofball.

World Wrestling Federation Women's Championship Evening Gown Pool Match
WWF Women's Champion Ivory vs. Miss Kitty vs. Jacqueline vs. B.B

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Miss KittySpecial referees: Mae Young & Fabulous Moolah

#WomensRevolution

Honestly, Ivory and Jacqueline probably deserve their Hall of Fame inductions on the basis of having to suffer the indignity of this match.

That's if you can even call it a match. The four women basically chased each other around a giant paddling pool for three minutes then stripped each other to their bra and panties.

Eventually, Miss Kitty pulled off Ivory's dress to be crowned our new women's champion.

There was nothing sexy, or even entertaining, about it.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Women's Champion: Miss Kitty

Post-match, the new champion celebrated by reminding us that she had promised to get naked. She then proceeded to strip and flash us her boobs, only for Sgt. Slaughter to cover her up with a towel and whisk her backstage.

Not to be outdone, Mae Young claimed that we all wanted to see her naked and started to undress, only for Slaughter to carry her away too.

Admittedly, this fan laughed out loud at the Mae Young bit, but that was only because she played her part with such conviction that you couldn't help but laugh.

He did it for The Rock the fat people

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Kevin Kelly interviews Rikishi Phatu
Out in the back, Kevin Kelly interviewed a stern-faced Rikishi Fatu.

Kelly asked Rikishi why he thought The Hollys had developed such a problem with him since his recent arrival in the WWF. The big man reminded us that Bob and Crash had been mouthing off about his size, and the size of his upcoming tag team partner, Viscera, then claimed to represent "all the fat, healthy people."

Rikishi was pretty compelling here, even if his storyline with Viscera and The Hollys was completely uninteresting.

The Holly Cousins (Bob & Crash Holly) vs. Viscera & Rikishi Fatu

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Rikishi and Viscera faced The Hollys
There are some matches which sound pretty dull on paper but then actually surprise you.

This wasn't one of those matches.

The story was that Viscera and Rikishi didn't really get along, but were teaming up because they were both fat. That's literally the whole point of their union.

They tried their best to take out The Holly cousins in what was yet another very mediocre battle, with Rikishi even pulling out his Rikishi Drop. Sadly, it wasn't enough for the win as straight after he hit the move, the Hollys pulled out a fluke pinfall.
Your Winners: The Hollys

Afterwards, Rikishi and Viscera predictably came to blows, with 'Kish kicking Vis out of the ring.

Pretty sure there wasn't a single person in the world who cared about this.

Val seduces Lillian

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Val Venis seduced Lillian Garcia
Out in the back, Lillian Garcia reminded Val Vanis that he had once been the Intercontinental Champion and that tonight, he had the opportunity to become the European Champion.

Val responded by promising to win the title then head over to Europe and seduce all of the continent's most beautiful women.

Proving the bilingual prowess that should serve him well when he went to Spain, The Big Valbowski began speaking Spanish to Lillian and managed to seduce her.

She wrapped her arm around Val's and off they went together. To give Venis his credit, he was very charismatic here and delivered an entertaining segment.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship Triple Threat
WWF European Champion The British Bulldog (w/ The Mean Street Posse) vs. D'Lo Brown vs. Val Venis

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - European Champion British Bulldog w/ The Mean Street Posse
Prior to the bell, Jim Ross told us that D'Lo Brown was the only person to hold both the European and Intercontinental Championships at the same time, proving that Jeff Jarrett (who also held that honour) was persona non grata within the WWF.

Since he didn't yet have the authority to book tag team matches, referee Teddy Long sent The Mean Street Posse to the back as soon as they arrived, leaving The British Bulldog to defend his title by himself.

The resulting match was the best thing on the card so far, but that really isn't saying much of anything.

It had some fun spots, like D'Lo Brown's super plancha to the outside and the finish, in which D'Lo hit Bulldog with his frog splash, only for Val to Money Shot them both and win the match.

It was kind of entertaining, but the more I think about it, anything was going to look entertaining compared to the snoozefest the entire undercard had been so far.
Your Winner and NEW WWF European Champion: Val Venis

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Michael Cole interviews X-Pac
Out in the back, X-Pac told Kevin Kelly that since Kane had demanded a cage match against him, he (Pac) had a demand of his own.

He demanded that while he could win via pinfall or cage escape, Kane was only allowed to win via pinfall. Apparently, that demand had been accepted by The Big Red Machine.

You know, I'm a huge fan of Sean Waltman, but most of his promos were terrible, this one included.


Steel Cage Match
Kane (w/ Tori) vs. X-Pac

This was the first truly good match on the card and very enjoyable performance from start to finish.

X-Pac was the consummate heel here, getting his DX buddies The New Age Outlaws to break into the cage and hand him a steel chair. He used that before drilling Tori with the X-Factor when she tried to stop him escaping the cage.

Pac then tried escaping again, only this time, Kane left the cage via the door (which had been busted open by The Outlaws), caught his opponent on his shoulders and carried him back into the ring.

Then, he climbed all the way to the top of the cage and came crashing down on X-Pac with a wicked looking clothesline that got the live crowd more excited than they'd been all evening.

One tombstone later and this very fun match was at its end.
Your Winner: Kane

Up next, we got a look at the rivalry between Chris Jericho and Chyna. Those two would duke it out next.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Chyna (w/ Miss Kitty) vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Chyna defended the Intercontinental Championship against Chris Jericho
Though this match will have its detractors (as all matches do),  it was actually a very good outing for Jericho and Chyna.

The former worked hard to be a complete and utter bastard, at one point snogging Miss Kitty before turning his attention to Chyna's injured thumb and just destroying it.

Meanwhile, the valiant champion fought back with all that she had, resulting in a dramatic and thoroughly engaging contest.

Unfortunately, it wasn't to be Chyna's night and she eventually surrendered to the Walls of Jericho.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho

Out in the back, Jericho bragged to Michael Cole about his new title, only to be interrupted by Chyna.

In a display of true sportswomanship, The Ninth Wonder of the World extended her hand as a mark of respect to Jericho. Y2J accepted it and was baffled when Chyna simply walked away rather than wanting to fight some more.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn) vs. The Rock & Sock Connection (Mankind & The Rock)

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - The Rock & Sock Connection faced The New Age Outlaws
Nobody involved in this one had the best match of their career here, but it was still a pretty decent effort for what it was.

Not that it started off that way. The only thing that garnered any reaction from the crowd at all was The Rock tagging in, after which it went back to being a generic tag team match for a bit.

Then, Al Snow ran in and things started to pick up. No, I'm not saying Al Snow was the reason things started to get good, more than his arrival was the cue for the wrestlers to start working towards the finish.

Snow was jealous of Mankind's success and partnership with The Rock. He attacked him here but got his ass handed to him by The Rock instead.

Back in the ring, Mankind barely escaped a couple of near falls then, just when it looked like Rock & Sock had won the thing, Al Snow returned to cause the DQ.

It was a smart move. Nobody would have believed The Outlaws getting a clean win over The Rock while nobody wanted to see The Great One saddled with the tag team titles either.

Not the best match ever, but it could have been worse.
Your Winners via DQ: The Rock & Sock Connection

Up next, we got a look back at that terrible feud between The Big Show and The Big Boss Man. You remember the one, right? Where Big Boss Man revealed that Big Boss Man was a "nasty bastard" whose "fake daddy" had died?

Yeah. That would all come to an end tonight.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion The Big Show vs. The Big Boss Man (w/ Prince Albert)

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - WWF Champion The Big Show defended his title against Big Boss Man
It's only when you watch this back that you realise how badly the WWF screwed up Big Show.

He looked to be in the best shape of his life here, was the WWF Champion, and yet his first PPV title defence was basically a three-minute squash match to end a really terrible feud.

Big Show won with a chokeslam.

Nothing about this was good.
Your Winner and Still WWF champion.

Up next, we took a look at the hatred that had been building between Vince McMahon and his new son-in-law, Triple H.

No Holds Barred Match
Triple H vs. Vince McMahon

WWE / WWF Armageddon 1999 - Triple H and Stephanie McMahon join forces for the first time
If Vince wins, Triple H's marriage to Stephanie is annulled. If Hunter wins, he gets a WWF title shot.

With his daughter's freedom on the line, Vince McMahon really went for Triple H, but was no match for his powerful opponent, even when he started to use the trolly full of weapons that Mankind helpfully brought to the ring in the early going.

Watching this, you got what they were going for:

A dramatic, epic battle for the ages that tugged at the emotions and had you on the edge of your seat, rooting for Vince to give Triple H what was coming to him.

Instead, all that you got was 30 minutes of Hunter beating McMahon to a pulp and Vince occasionally getting a shot or two in.

At one point, they left the arena and Triple H tried to run his opponent over with a car. Vince escaped with his life, then the two climbed all the way to to the top of some big tower by the entrance and HHH knocked Vince off it. Those were the only two high points of the match, and even they couldn't stop the majority of this match from boring the arse off everyone who would ever watch it until the end of time.

At the finish, Triple H looked to finish off Vince with his sledgehammer but McMahon countered with a low blow, grabbed the sledgehammer and looked to seal Helmsley's fate.

Instead, Stephanie Mcmahon -who had been watching from the front row- stepped into the ring and begged her Dad to let her to the honours. Yet alas, the younger McMahon couldn't bring herself to do it. HHH snatched the hammer from her and laid out Vince for the win.
Your Winner: Triple H

Post-match, Helmsley lifted the sledgehammer aloft as though to bring it crashing down on Stephanie's skull. The heiress to the WWF empire stared down The Game then smiled a wicked, evil smile and embraced him, celebrating with her husband, the once and future King of Kings, as Armageddon 1999 went off the air.





And so it turned out that tonight wasn't important just because it was the start of a PPV series that would run for nigh on a decade, but because it marked the start of The McMahon-Helmsley Era, the reign of WWE's power couple that is still wielding control over their empire some 20 years later.

Not that such historical events make up for Armageddon being a pretty lousy show.

Yes, there were some great moments in the cage match, the Intercontinental match and, to a lesser extent, the tag team title match, but there was far too much stuff here that just bored your writer -and the Florida crowd- to tears. If that's not proof that the company were still in the habit of going on autopilot in December, I don't know what is.



1999 events reviewed so far
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