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 Edge & Christian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Edge & Christian. Show all posts

Thursday, 7 January 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF Invasion 2001

WWF Invasion PPV Review
July 22, 2001 
Gund Arena, Cleveland, Ohio

On Monday, March 26th, 2001, WWF Raw came live from the Gund Arena in Cleveland Ohio. It was on that broadcast that Vince McMahon revealed that he had bought his competition and was now the owner of World Championship Wrestling.

It was also on that show that Vince's son Shane - coming live from the final WCW Nitro broadcast Panama City Beach - surprised the elder McMahon by revealing that it was actually he, not his father, who was now in charge of WCW.

Thus began The Invasion - a storyline which wouldn't pick up steam until well after Wrestlemania 17 when Lance Storm became the first WCW star to "invade" during an episode of Raw live from Canada. 

Many criticized Storm's appearances as a sure sign that the company lacked enough genuine WCW star power to make an Invasion angle work, a point that was emphasized when they brought in ECW wrestlers to form an "Alliance" with WCW because nobody wanted to see Shawn Stasiak wrestle every week. 







As lacklustre of a start as it may have been, it nonetheless back full circle, back to the Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio for the first -and only- WWF Invasion PPV.

Here's what went down.

The Most Serious Threat the World Wrestling Federation Has Ever Faced

Tonight’s opening video package was pretty awesome. Likening the invasion of a pro wrestling company to the actual events of World War 2, the video interspersed historical footage (including a speech from President Franklin D. Roosevelt) with shots of the big stars in tonight’s show.


Sure, it was a little overdramatic, but when was pro wrestling ever not?

Coming live into the arena, we got the usual crowd shots from both Cleveland and WWF New York as commentators Jim Ross and Michael Cole welcomed us to the show.

This opening also showed us the pretty cool entrance for tonight’s event, with the stage splitting off into two separate entrances for the warring factions. Weirdly, we didn’t see our first two wrestlers using that entrance as the show then jumped awkwardly right to Lance Storm and Mike Awesome in the ring.

Lance Storm & Mike Awesome vs. Edge & Christian

WWF Invasion 2001 PPV - Lance Storm addresses the crowd
We last saw Storm and Awesome teaming up as Team Canada back at WCW Greed. Now they were on the ECW side of the alliance and ready to get the crowd riled up.

If he could be serious for a minute, Storm wanted to tell us all the reasons why the WCW/ECW Alliance was better than the WWF, but they were interrupted by their opponents, Edge & Christian.

What followed was as solid an opening tag team match as you’d expect from wrestlers of this caliber.

Despite a scary spot in the early going when Christian tried to use Edge as a springboard to hit a suicide dive but ended up tumbling arse-over-tit over the top rope, it was a  very enjoyable contest.

Things started hot, lagged a little while Christian played face-in-peril for eight hours, then picked up steam with an exciting finish that saw the WWF guys pick up the first win of the night.
Your Winners: Edge & Christian

Backstage, a jubilant Vince McMahon was seen celebrating Edge & Christian’s victory when Commissioner William Regal arrived to inform him that WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin and Debra had arrived.

McMahon told Regal to give the duo some space and focus on crushing Raven in their upcoming match.

Nick Patrick vs. Earl Hebner

WWE / WWF Invasion 2001 PPV - Nick Patrick argues with Mick Foley
This was WCW referee Nick Patrick’s first PPV match as a competitor since he faced Chris Jericho at WCW World War 3 1996. As far as I recall, it was the first time Earl Hebner had ever had a match, at least on PPV.

Mick Foley was the special guest referee for this one and was, unsurprisingly, the most over person in the match.

It wasn’t a surprise either that this wasn’t very good. It was a dumb kind of nothing, but I’ll give it a pass since Nick Patrick was always pretty awesome.

Sadly, he lost the match when Earl a Hebner just sort of...bumped into him.
Your Winner: Earl Hebner

Afterwards, Patrick argued with Foley so Mick knocked him on his ass and slapped on Mr Socko.

DDP is a Perv

WWE / WWF Invasion 2001 PPV - Debra and Sara 'Taker discuss what a pervert Diamond Dallas Page is
Backstage, Debra and The Undertaker’s wife Sarah bonded over coffee and a mutual disdain of Diamond Dallas Page

While Sarah’s troubles with Page have been well documented, I should probably point out that the reason Debra hated the former WCW champion is that he kidnapped her on Smackdown.

Both women agreed that Dallas was both a perv and a psycho and couldn’t wait until their husbands kicked his ass.

Non-Title Match
WWF Tag Team Champions The APA (Farooq & Bradshaw) vs. WCW Tag Team Champions Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire

Though it was markedly different from the fast-paced, technical-based opener, this was another good tag team match.

Built around power and size, it wasn’t exactly a masterpiece, but the crowd were definitely into it as all four men gave it some serious effort.

After a decent bit of back-and-forth, Bradshaw decapitated Chuck Palumbo to put the WWF at 3-0.
Your Winners: The APA

To be honest, that really strikes me as a missed opportunity to get a hot, young team like Palumbo & O’Haire over and really establish them as a credible threat, but hey ho, on we go.

WCW/ECW Will Never....EVVVVER...Be the Same...AGAIN

WWE / WWF Invasion 2001 PPV - Chris Jericho tells Vince McMahon how disgusting ECW was
Out in the back, Chris Jericho spoke to Vince McMahon and recalled that the one thing he’d learned the most for while working for both WCW and ECW was that while the former was a leaderless, lawless place where the inmates ran the asylum, the latter had a leader who was a psychopath named Paul E. Heyman.

‘You know what the E. stands for?’ asked Jericho. ‘Ewwwww.’

Y2J went on to tell McMahon that Heyman was just as ugly on the inside as he was on the outside, and the two agreed that when all was said and done, the alliance would never...EVVVVVVER be the same, again.

Delivering that last line in unison, both Vince and Jericho were a riot here.

Across the way, Shane, Steph, and Paul ‘Ewww’ Heyman freaked out over their losing streak, insisting that the fate of the entire alliance now rested on the shoulders of Billy Kidman.

Wearing actual wrestling attire for the first time in his career rather than Jean shorts and a vest, the Cruiserweight champion remained calm, cool, and confident that he could beat X-Pac in our next contest.

WWF Light Heavyweight Champion X-Pac vs. WCW Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman

WWE / WWF Invasion 2001 PPV - X-Pac battles Billy Kidman
Well, this was easily the best match on the card so far. It was also the first match in which the crowds were firmly on the side of The Alliance rather than the WWF.

Still, despite the strong ‘X-Pac sucks!’ chants, the Light Heavyweight Champion put in one of his better performances if not of the previous several years then at least of the previous 12 months.

After a strong contest, Kidman’s earlier confidence paid off as he clocked up the first win for The Alliance.
Your Winner: Billy Kidman

Backstage, Shane, Steph, and Paul’s celebration was cut short when DDP burst into the room all excited about kidnapping Debra on Smackdown. The Alliance leaders quickly had to get Page’s head in the game ready for tonight’s main event.

Elsewhere in the arena, Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler boasted about how hot they both were and how unfair it was that the audience wouldn’t get to see them in their undies in tonight’s bra and panties match. Obviously, both women looked stunning but this was such a cringe-worthy segment that I feel embarrassed just writing about it.

Raven vs. William Regal

Though it wasn’t bad as such, this was a pretty underwhelming nothing match that might have been better used to kill a few minutes on Raw.

Following a few minutes of uninspired action, Tazz (who has been feuding with Regal and Tajiri) ran in and suplexed Regal behind the referee’s back.

Raven hit the Even Flow DDT and that was that.
Your Winner: Raven

Backstage, Vince McMahon got Kane and The Undertaker all fired up by reminding them of all the dastardly things that had been done to them by the ECW/WCW contingent.

Six-Man Tag
The Big Show, ‘The One’ Billy Gunn, and WWF Intercontinental Champion Albert vs. Shawn Stasiak, Chris Kanyon, and Hugh Morrus

WWE / WWF Invasion 2001 PPV - Intercontinental Champion Albert
This was the Invasion version of the ‘get-everybody-on-the-card’ matches we’re family with from Wrestlemania.

It wasn’t terrible or anything, but it was just an average filler match with nothing memorable happening outside of Big Show hitting the Flapjack finisher he was trying out.

After several minutes of forgettable her inoffensive action, Shawn Stasiak drilled Billy Gunn to the mat and draped a prone Hugh Morrus over the top of him.

One three count layer and Team WCW were victorious.
Your Winners: Chris Kanyon, Shawn a Stasiak, and Hugh Morrus

Afterwards, Big Show destroyed the WCW stars with chokeslams and flapjacks.

All Fired Up

WWE/ WWF Invasion 2001 - Shane McMahon psyches up WCW US and World Champion Booker T
Backstage, Shane McMahon gave Booker T a pep-talk, getting the WCW World and US champion fired up for tonight's main event.

Across the arena, William Regal did the exact same thing with his buddy/lackey, Tajiri, getting The Japanese Buzzsaw in the right frame of mind for his upcoming match with Tazz.

Tazz vs. Tajiri

This was an interesting one in that whenever Taz was in control it was kinda meh, but whenever Tajiri took charge it was a lot of fun.

The highlights came in the form of Tajiri's huge kicks to Tazz's head, after which the New Yorker had enough, cradled Tajiri like a baby and suplexed the holy bejeebus out of him.

Tajiri eventually won and the war between WWF and The Alliance continued.
Your Winner: Tajiri

Backstage, Matt Hardy warned his brother Jeff to be wary of going up against hardcore veteran Rob Van Dam in their upcoming title match. As if to prove Matt's point about how dangerous he could be, Mr Monday Night came up and whacked him across the back with a chair.

Meanwhile, at WWF New York, Hardcore Holly took umbrage with a fan’s WCW t-shirt and ripped it off the poor kid’s body, because that’s not a lawsuit waiting to happen.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion Jeff Hardy vs. Rob Van Dam

You’d have to be pretty dam cynical not to love this match.

Easily Jeff Hardy’s best solo outing to date; the champion threw his body around with reckless abandon in an absolutely tremendous effort.

Vam Dam was no slouch either, clearly giving it his all in his WWF PPV debut before finally capturing the title thanks to a Five Star Frog Splash.

One of the things that made this so good was that it wasn’t your typical hardcore match.

Sure, they took a walk through the crowd and used a few weapons, but this was more of an actual wrestling match rather than your typical garbage brawl, and it was awesome.
Your Winner and NEW Hardcore Champion: Rob Van Dam

1.39.43 - BRA AND PANTIES

Out in the back, an intense Kurt Angle told Vince McMahon that he was going to kick some serious ass, not just for his company, not even for his country, but for himself.

It was true, dear readers. It was damn true.

Bra & Panties Tag Team Match
Torrie Wilson & Stacy a Kiebler vs. Trish Stratus & Lita

Special Guest Referee: Mick Foley

At this point in her career, Trish Stratus wasn’t the accomplished performer she’d later turn out to be and, let’s face it, neither Torrie Wilson nor Stacy Keibler were ever known for their in-ring prowess.

So this match definitely had the potential to suck, but somehow didn’t thanks to the sheer hard work of all four competitors.

OK, so it was hardly a technical classic or anything, but it certainly wasn’t offensive.

In fact, the worst part about it was JR and Michael Cole coming across like pervy old men on commentary.

After a few short minutes, Trish and Lita stripped their rivals down to their underwear and this one was over.
Your Winners: Lita & Trish Stratus

Somehow there’s still 50 minutes left on this show and only one match to go. A small amount of time was killed by the last of our backstage skits.

First, Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Paul Heyman gave their squad one last pep talk, with Steph screeching at the top of her lungs in a way that was so loud and annoying it ruined the whole segment.

Then, Stone Cold Steve Austin promised Vince McMahon that he wouldn’t be the guitar-playing, cowboy-hat-wearing goofball he’d been on TV for the last few weeks, but rather the hell-raising, ass-kicking Bad MF’er most fans had grown to love over the years.

Finally, after one last video recapping the invasion story so far, we went back to the ring.

The Inaugural Brawl
The Alliance (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley, Rhyno, Diamond Dallas Page, and WCW United States and World Heavyweight Champion Booker T w/ Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, and Paul Heyman) vs. Team WWF (Kane, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, and WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin w/ Vince McMahon)

We got a unique start to the match with each side taking it in turns to send a member of their team to the ring.

First came The Dudleyz, then Kane & Undertaker, then Rhyno and so on.  Things remained fairly civil until DDP made his way out and was immediately attacked by his arch-rival, The Undertaker.

This was the cue for a mass brawl and the inevitable arrival of Stone Cold Steve Austin, who immediately began laying waste to The Alliance.

Eventually, things settled down and we got ourselves a standard tag team match in which everyone was given ample opportunity to shine.

It was more or less entirely enjoyable right up until the finish.

The whole match once again broke down into wild and entertaining brawl, with bodies crashing through tables and general mayhem all around.

Then, just as it looked as though Kurt Angle was about to earn Team WWF a victory, Austin turned on him and lay a prone Booker T on top of him.

One three count and later and The Alliance reigned supreme.
Your Winners: The Alliance

Post-match, Austin first glared at Paul Heyman and the McMahon siblings before sharing a beer with them as WWF Invasion went off the air.







Let’s be honest, that finish was poor. I always hate matches in which one guy turns on his partner(s) and joins the very same guys he’s been fighting for the whole match.

Unless it’s done in the way Arn Anderson turned on Dustin Rhodes at WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 (Arn didn’t tag in once before turning) it simply makes no sense.

Why would Austin spend all that time kicking Booker T’s ass only to hand him the victory?

Other than that, Invasion wasn’t actually a terrible show.

Match of the night clearly went to RVD/Hardy, a match that may well have been the best match involving the hardcore championship in the entire history of that particular title.

Elsewhere, the rest of the show was mostly inoffensive but not really worth investing your time in other than for the historical significance.




Other reviews of 2001 pro wrestling events: 

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Thursday, 10 December 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Judgement Day 2001

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Event poster
May 20, 2001
ARCO Arena, Sacramento, California

Only in the world of professional wrestling could two men attempt to literally murder one another  then put all that behind them and form a team.


That's exactly what happened with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H. If you recall, the latter had hired Rikishi to run over The Texas Rattlesnake with a car (and Rikishi was happy to do it for The Rock).

After taking a year to recover from the attempted vehicular homicide, Austin had returned and tried to end HHH's life at Survivor Series 2000.

Now, however, the two men had joined forces and gone on a power trip, and that's just about all you need to know before we dive into this week's review:

WWF Judgement Day 2001.






The End is Nigh

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Paul Heyman & Jim Ross
Tonights' opening package interspersed footage of our four main event stars (Undertaker, Kane, HHH, and Stone Cold Steve Austin) with an actor portraying one of those eccentric street preachers who heads out to warn people that the end of the world is nigh.

Honestly, it was far better than I described.

The video led us into footage of the live crowds in both the arena and at WWF New York before our usual greeting from announcers Jim Ross and Paul Heyman.

With that, it was onto the opening match.

William Regal vs. Rikishi

Prior to the bell, William Regal took to the microphone to remind us that Rikishi had recently put his "filthy, disgusting behind" in Stephanie McMahon's face.

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - William Regal's reaction after getting stinkfaced by Rikishi
Tonight, the commissioner was out to punish 'Kishi for his heinous crime and vowed that if the big man even dared to put his bloody bum in the Comissh's face, the punishment would be 'severe and permanent.'

Naturally, Rikishi did give Regal a stinkface, and Regal sold it with a convincing look of shock and disgust that was truly Oscar-worthy.

I kid you not, I played his reaction back three times and laughed my head off every single time. It was absolutely the highlight of an otherwise average match.

Regal got his revenge by winning the match by moving out of harm's way when his opponent charged at him in the corner. Rikishi -who had been forgiven by the fans for his attempted murder on Stone Cold Steve Austin- went colliding, injured shoulder first, into the rope, collapsed to the mat, and was pinned.
Your Winner: William Regal

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Kurt Angle catches up with Edge & Christian backstage
Out in the back, Kurt Angle approached Edge & Christian to talk about his impending two-out-of-three-falls match with Chris Benoit.

In particular, the Olympic Gold Medalist was concerned about the match reaching the third and final fall - a ladder match with his gold medals on the line- and wanted his friends’ advice.

The advice they gave him?

Don’t fall off the ladder because it sucks.

Across the way, Vince McMahon grilled Triple H about Hunter and Steve Austin getting The Undertaker’s wife, Sarah, involved in their feud.

With Stephanie McMahon looking on, Vince questioned whether it was such a good idea to interfere with the sanctity of marriage, to which The Game replied by reminding Vince that he had recently had his own wife committed to an institution.

Two-out-of-Three-Falls
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Krispin Wah faced Kurt Angle in a two-out-of-three-falls matchFirst fall - pinfalls only
Second fall - submissions only
Third fall - ladder match for Kurt’s gold medals
Unsurprisingly, this was remarkable.

Angle and Benoit had previously met in a two-out-of-three-falls match at Insurrexion 2001. That match was food, but this was way better.

Benoit won the first fall pretty quickly by hitting Angle with the Olympic Slam. A solid stretch of action followed before Kurt even the score with an ankle lock, then we got an epic ladder match that only ended when Edge and Christian ran in to fight Benoit while Angle climbed the ladder.

As I write this, I haven’t seen any other matches on this show but already I seriously doubt If anyone could top that.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Undertaker threatens William Regal
Backstage, William Regal was busy being treated for the cut he received in his match with Rikishi when an enraged Undertaker stormed into in his office.

Fuming about HHH and Steve Austin dragging his wife into their rivalry, Mr. Dead Man Inc. demanded that Regal make his WWF Championship match with Austin No Holds Barred.

Reluctant, Regal appeared terrified at the thought of telling Austin that his match had been changed, though Undertaker’s not-so-subtle threat to slit the Commissioner’s throat was enough to convince him to make the match.

Jerry Lynn is the Light Heavyweight Champion

Up next, we went live to WWF New York, where Jerry Lynn set a new world record for the most times saying the words ‘light heavyweight champion’ in three minutes.

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Jerry Lynn: Your Light Heavyweight ChampionLynn was angry about being left off tonight’s card when he really wanted to be defending his light heavyweight championship because he was the light heavyweight champion and as the light heavyweight champion he should have been defending the light heavyweight championship at Judgement Day because that’s what a light heavyweight champion does.

Seriously, that’s pretty much what he said. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Lynn, but his promo did him no favors.

Meanwhile, back in the arena, Kane wandered down a dark corridor hitting some steel poles with a chain.

Scary.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion Rhyno vs. Test vs. The Big Show

Offering a complete change of pace from our previous match, this was a fun hardcore match with all of the usual creative, spots and the kind of weapon shots that made you wince and go ‘oof.’

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Test faced Hardcore Champion Rhyno and The Big Show
Starting with a mad brawl in the ring, the three men made their way backstage, where Big Show lifted Rhyno up and pinned him against a wall. This was somehow good enough for the referee to make the count, but the champion kicked out and helped Test dump Show through some pallets.

They then made it back to the ring to play with the obligatory trash cans for a bit before Rhyno threw one at Show and gored him into oblivion.
Your Winner and Still Hardcore Champion: Rhyno

Out in the back, William Regal fretted about informing Steve Austin of the changes to his match, but he really had nothing to worry about. He finally caught up with The Bionic Redneck (talking to his wife, Debra, in the dressing room), who shrugged his shoulders and didn’t seem to care one way or another.

Elsewhere in the arena, Lita was getting ready for her Women’s Championship match with Chyna when The Ninth Wonder of the World’s ex, Eddie Guerrero, stopped by to offer her some advice.

With the Hardy Boyz looking on, Lita politely declined Eddie’s help and vowed to beat Chyna on her own.

World Wrestling Federation Women’s Championship
WWF Women's Champion Chyna vs. Lita 

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - WWF Women's Champion Chyna appeared in her last WWF PPV
Though both women were technical babyfaces here, Chyna definitely took on the role of heel, dominating Lita in a competent but unspectacular match.

At one point, the women’s champion seemed to be having major wardrobe trouble. The production crew had to continuously pixelate her chest as her boobs kept spilling out of her top. I mention this because it was the most noteworthy thing to happen in the whole match beyond a brief cameo from Eddie Guerrero who mainly just watched the match from the entranceway.

Though not bad by any stretch, this wasn’t all that exciting and came to an end when Chyna powerbombed the life out of her opponent.
Your Winner and Still Women’s Champion: Chyna

After a quick shill for the upcoming King of the Ring PPV, we went backstage where Michael Cole caught up with Angle. The Olympic Gold Medalist told Cole that he was planning to reenact his 1996 Olympic medal ceremony on the following night’s episode of Raw.

As the two walked backstage, they bumped into Edge and Christian. Angle stopped to address the two, insisting that he beat Benoit all by himself but was grateful for his buddies ‘cheering him on’ at ringside.

‘Thank god,’ said Edge once Angle was out of earshot. ‘Now we don’t have to listen to Kurt bitching about his medals ever again.’

He and Christian then briefly discussed their plans to become eight-time tag team champions before we went to another part of the arena where Vince McMahon gave The Two Man Power Trip a pep talk.

Triple H would be in action next.

Chain Match for the World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Triple H (w/ Stephanie McMahon) vs. Kane

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Kane beat HHH for the Intercontinental Championship
A fantastic match with a white-hot crowd, this was brutal, bloody and brilliant.

Fought under general no DQ rules with both men attached to one another by a length of chain, Kane vs. Triple H was utterly compelling from start to finish.

The champion dominated a large chunk of the match but The Big Red Machine continually fought back and pummelled his opponent with brute force.

Just when it looked like Kane had the match in the bag, Steve Austin ran down to help The Game but this strategy backfired. Austin accidentally waffled his tag team partner with a chair and three seconds later the Intercontinental championship had changed hands.
Your Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Kane

After a commercial for WWF: The Music Vol. 5, we went backstage where Jonathan Coachman reminded Chris Jericho that he still hadn’t revealed the name of his mystery partner for the upcoming tag team turmoil match.

Without giving anything away, Y2J only promised that he would be teaming with ‘a real party animal,’ and that together, they would bring the fight to Edge and Christian.

Meanwhile, a battered and bloody HHH struggled to stay on his feet as he complained to Vince McMahon about the outcome of his match.

Tag Team Turmoil Match
(Winners Become Number One Contenders to the Tag Team Titles)
The Acolytes vs. The Radicalz (Perry Saturn & Dean Malenko w/ Terri) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley w/ Spike Dudley) vs. The X-Factor (X-Pac & Justin Credible w/ Albert) vs. Chris Jericho & Chris Benoit 

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Terri cheered on Saturn
This was a gauntlet-style, winner-stays on match starting with The Acolytes taking on Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn, the latter of whom was looking more and more like Superstar Billy Graham with every match.

Unfortunately, that didn’t help him and Malenko get the better of The Acolytes.

In just a few short minutes, the duo were sent packing by Farooq and Bradshaw, who then entered into a spirited performance with The Dudley Boyz. A second win followed, this time thanks to interference from Crash and Hardcore Holly, though shenanigans from Albert meant that Acolytes succumbed to The X-Factor.

Albert’s involvement also meant that X-Pac and Justin Credible get past The Hardyz, but they were no match for Chris Jericho and his mystery partner, former rival Chris Benoit.

The duo who had faced each other in one of the all-time great ladder matches back at the 2001 Royal Rumble beat both X-Factor and Edge and Christian to win a shot at the tag team titles

As with almost everything on this show, it was a tremendous effort. Every match-within-a-match between all the teams gave us something different to enjoy, building all the way up to the gripping all-Canadian finale.

The ending was the right result too. Having had high-profile matches in the past, Benoit and Jericho were the best choices for challenging HHH and Austin and the pair with the most realistic chance of beating them.
Your Winners: Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit

No Holds Barred Match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Steve Austin defended the WWF Championship against The Undertaker
Once again, this absolutely delivered.

With Austin playing a sick, twisted and violently unhinged champion and Undertaker being his usual dominant, badass self, both men waged absolute war with one another in a phenomenal main event.

Exciting, enthralling and excellent? It was an absolute joy to watch and only got better the longer it went on.

Undertaker looked to have the title in the bag, but HHH ran out with his trusty sledgehammer.

At first, the challenger was able to stop the attempt of both Hunter and Vince McMahon (who had been on commentary), but eventually, the three-on-one assault proved too much.

Kane tried to help his brother but it was too little, too late. Austin smashed Undi in the head and got the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Steve Austin

Afterward, Triple H seemed to have forgiven Austin for costing him the Intercontinental championship and embraced him as they made their way backstage.







You know, over the course of running this blog, I find myself watching a lot of wrestling, and it’s rare that I see a show that I absolutely enjoy from start to finish.

Judgement Day 2001 was such a show. While the Regal/Rikishi match wasn’t great, Regal’s reaction to the stinkface was one of the funniest things to ever happen on a pro wrestling show.

After that, only the women’s title match was underwhelming. Everything else, from the awesome Angle/Benoit match to that excellent main event proved to be a great deal of fun.

I’m not saying Judgment Day 2001 was the best show ever, but it sure was a blast.




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Thursday, 12 November 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Insurrextion 2001

May 5, 2001 
Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England.

When WWE first started promoting their controversial shows in Saudi Arabia, many fans dismissed events like The Greatest Royal Rumble as being 'glorified house shows' as if that in itself was an absolutely terrible thing.

This wasn't the first time in history that the company's overseas events had been written off by American audiences. When the company promoted their UK-exclusive PPVs from the late-90s to the early 2000s, fans back then dismissed those as "basically house shows" as well.

What's interesting is that this was (and still is) meant as a criticism, as if being a 'glorified house show' is a bad thing and that pro wrestling shouldn't exist unless something majorly important happened.

What events like Insurrextion 2001 proved, is that sure, they may technically be glorified house shows, but that in itself doesn't mean that they were bad or not worth watching.







Sure, nothing majorly important ever happened at these events, and sure, it was always obvious that the wrestlers themselves were only performing at 75% of what they were capable of, but to write them off is to overlook the very point of pro wrestling in the first place - to entertain.

These events provided entertainment for the sake of entertainment and for this writer, that's a good enough reason to head back to Earls Court, London in the spring of 2001.

You with me? Let's do this.

Sometimes Change is Good

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Linda McMahon confronts Vince in William Regal's office
We began tonight’s show not with the usual pyro but with a shot of WWF Commissioner William Regal talking to Kurt Angle on the phone in a low budget backstage office.

Regal was busy informing Angle that his match tonight had been changed when an angry Vince McMahon stormed in, demanding to know why Regal had changed almost every match on the card tonight.

Regal insisted that he hadn’t, but that Vince’s wife Linda McMahon had. That was Linda’s cue to stroll into the office and display some personality for the first time in her on-screen career as she insisted that everything but the main event had been changed to give the fans ‘the very best the WWF has to offer.

Sure, this was just a clever way of telling us that the card we’d been sold had been completely rewritten, but it was really entertaining all the same, especially when it ended with Vince recoiling in disgust at the news of the then-current foot-and-mouth disease, referred to by the chairman as ‘foot-in-mouth disease.’

We were then welcomed to the arena by our announcers Michael Cole and Paul Heyman as the Insurrextion theme, a knock off of Machinehead by Bush, played throughout the arena.

With that done, it was onto our opening contest.

Grandmaster Sexay vs. Eddie Guerrero

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Grandmaster Sexay faced Eddie Guerrero
As random and seemingly thrown together as this might have been, this was a very entertaining opening contest, even if it did only last seven minutes.

Though we all probably didn’t appreciate it at the time, Grandmaster Sexay was great in his role as an opening match act.

In his run with Scotty 2 Hotty throughout 2000/early 2001, every time Too Cool opened a show the results were always enjoyable.

Combine that with the fact that Eddie Guerrero couldn’t be less than excellent if he tried and what you got here was a fun way to get the crowd invested in tonight’s show.

After a short match, we got a confusing bit of kerfuffle at the finish that resulted in Latino Heat putting his legs on the ropes to secure a pinfall victory.
Your Winner: Eddie Guerrero

Backstage, Triple H wore his Motörhead t-shirt as he told Stephanie McMahon that he has absolutely nothing to worry about when it came to his match tonight, a two-vs-one handicap match putting himself and Stone Cold Steve Austin against The Undertaker.

The Radicalz (Perry Saturn & Dean Malenko) vs. The Hollys (Hardcore & Crash Holly w/ Molly Holly)


WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Terri and whatever the heck Perry Saturn was supposed to be
This was originally billed as a six-person match but then Terri took to the microphone to declare that she hadn’t been able to buy any wrestling gear in London and was thus dropping out.

What we were left with was a solid team match that did plenty to keep the fans -and this writer- perfectly happy.

Terri and Molly Holly got involved anyway toward the finish and, in the resulting chaos, a bizarre-looking Perry Saturn managed to hit Bob Holly with the moss-covered three-handled family gradunza.

Somewhere backstage, Y2J looked on approvingly.
Your Winners: The Radicalz

Up next, we were shown a highlight package from William Regal’s recent press tour of the UK, culminating in a sold-out autograph session where the Commissioner was hugely over with the crowd.

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - William Regal polishes The Queen's CupBack live in the arena, Regal spoke to an unknown person on the phone, telling them that there was no way his upcoming opponent Chris Jericho would get a better ovation than him because he -Regal- was the only sporting hero the UK had left.

Much as he had done back at Rebellion 2000, Regal once again insisted that he was more popular and successful than boxers Prince Nadeem and Lennox Lewis.

As he did so, Regal polished the Queen’s Cup that would be up for grabs in his match with Regal. I’m not convinced,  but I do believe the Queen’s Cup looked an awful lot like the Royal Samovar Trophy.

Test Failed

Speaking of Rebellion, Cole and Heyman shilled that for a bit before showing us a clip of Big Show destroying Test on Smackdown. That meant the advertised Test vs. Show match was off, but the big guy came and called out Test anyway.

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Welllllllllllllllllllllllllllll, well it's the Big Show!
After being called a ‘yellow-bellied coward’ for the 100th time, Test saved us all the bother of listening to Big Show repeating the same insult over and over again by hobbling down to ringside, holding the ribs that Show damaged on Smackdown.

Yes, we were supposed to believe that Test had been so badly injured in the United States that he could barely walk straight but had still flown all the way over to England anyway, all just to hang out backstage at a show he had no way of competing on.

Anyway, Show demolished Test a second time, called him a yellow-bellied coward fifty more times and finally issued an open challenge to anyone on the roster.

Bradshaw answered because yay fun.

Bradshaw vs. Big Show

There really wasn’t a lot to this. You can close your eyes, imagine what a Bradshaw vs. Big Show match would look like, and you’d be pretty much spot on.

After a few minutes of fairly uninspired brawling, Test made a miraculous comeback and kicked a chair into Big Show’s face. Show hit the Clothesline from Hell and that was pretty much that.
Your Winner: Bradshaw

Post-match, Show stood around looking angry.

How Stupid is The Undertaker?

Backstage, Stone Cold Steve Austin gave a fired-up interview to Jonathan Coachman.

After demanding that Coach tell him how stupid The Undertaker was, a p’d off Texas Rattlesnake vowed that he and Triple H would end The American Bad Ass’s Decade of Destruction here tonight.

Austin spotted some gnarly scars above his eye from his recent battles.

Four Team Elimination Match
The X-Factor (X-Pac & Justin Credible w/ X-Pac) vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley) vs. The Hardy Boyz (WWF European Champion Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy)

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - The Dudley Boyz
This was an excellent match and easily the best thing on the show so far.

Unsurprisingly, X-Pac and Justin Credible were the first to go, followed not long after by The Hardy Boyz.

While their contributions were fun, it was the remainder of the bout between Edge, Christian and The Dudleyz that really made This what it was.

After a really good quality performance from all concerned, Rhyno ran in and gored the living hell out of Bubba Ray to give his buddies Edge and Christian the fall.
Your Winners: Edge and Christian

Up next, we were taken to the previous evening’s charity event where  WWF merchandise was auctioned off to raise funds for the Make a Wish foundation.

The highlight of the evening appeared to be Stephanie McMahon slapping Michael Cole.

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - GMTV's Eamon Holmes was in the crowd
Back live in the arena, we entered some kind of bizarro-world where names British fans would never expect to see on WWF programming were shown in the audience.

Eamon Holmes, Chris Tarrant and Gianfranco Zola were all show gurning for the camera in what was a very surreal moment for this fan.

Angle Wants His Medals Back

Backstage, Kurt Angle took umbrage at Jonathan Coachman’s suggestion that he had ‘lost’ his gold medals, instead insisting that they had been stolen.

No matter, The Olympic Hero vowed to reclaim his gold by defeating Chris Benoit in their upcoming two-out-of-three-falls match.

Two-out-of-Three-Falls
Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Chris Benoit puts Kurt Angle in the crossface
The previous week, at Backlash 2001, Kurt Angle had Chris Benoit beat toward the finish of their Ultimate Submission iron man match. The Olympic Gold Medalist made his opponent tap but, since it was after the bell it didn’t count.

Benoit went on to not only win that match in sudden death extra time but also to steal Angle’s medals on Raw.

Before tonight’s two-out-of-three falls match, the Crippler revealed that he’d been keeping those medals ‘somewhere safe and warm.’

If you didn’t immediately realize that meant they were down his pants then you’re clearly far too innocent for your own good.

Alas, we wouldn’t get to see Chris Benoit pull gold from his crotch (another sentence I never thought I’d write), at least not yet anyway.

The match got started and though neither man gave it their all (no WWF star ever did on a UK show), it was still a damn good effort.

Let’s be honest:

Even Benoit vs. Angle at their worst was better than many people’s best. So yes, it was still a quality performance, albeit one that ended too quickly and left you hungry for more.

Breaking from the normal two-out-of-three-falls formula, The Rabid Wolverine beat his opponent by two straight falls.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit

Post-match, Benoit made his way up to the stage where he grabbed a microphone and revealed that, yes, he had indeed wrestled the entire match with gold medals in his pants. He then proceeded to put the medals -ball sweat and all- around his neck before sauntering backstage, laughing at an irate Kurt Angle.

Debra is Not an Errand-Girl

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Debra stands up to Stone Cold Steve Austin
Backstage, Stone Cold Steve Austin demanded water from his wife, Debora while he, HHH and Steph went over the plans for their match tonight.

After the McMahon-Helmsleys also asked from drinks, Debrah rightly told them where to go, insisting that they should be focusing on beating The Undertaker rather than sending her on errands.

This was followed by a look back at the recent rivalry been Chris Jericho and William Regal, including their Dutchess of Queensberry rules, match at Backlash.

Tonight, the two would have another such match, this time with the totally-not-made-up Queen’s Cup on the line.

Duchess of Queensberry Rules Match for the Queen’s Cup
William Regal vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - William Regal puts a hurting on Chris Jericho
Ignore the Duchess of Queensberry stuff here. Though it was billed as one, there was really no such match type and this was a basic straight singles match one of the shenanigans that made up their Backlash encounter.

If you ask this fan, avoiding such silliness only made this one even better.

Sure, there was a stretch in the middle when Regal kept his opponent grounded in multiple rest holds, but even they made sense in the context of the match and added to the sense of drama.

Besides, when the two got back to their feet, they really went for it, delivering a match which, dare I say it, surpassed even Benoit/Angle.

Despite dominating the bulk of the contest in front of his fellow countrymen, Regal eventually tapped to Chris Jericho’s Wall of Jericho, putting an end to a fine contest indeed.
Your Winner: Chris Jericho

Predictably, Regal picked up the Queen’s Cup after the bell and destroyed his rival with it.

Handicap Match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Two-Man Power Trip (WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin & WWF Intercontinental Champion Triple H w/ Stephanie McMahon) vs. The Undertaker

According to Lillian Garcia, ‘Taker had to pin Steve Austin to win the title.

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - The Undertaker faced Steve Austin and Triple H in a handicap match
This was important as he would actually win the match, planting HHH with a chokeslam after Vince McMahon ran in and accidentally blasted his son-in-law with a steel chair.

Before that, we got a fun, by-the-numbers main event.

We started with brawling in the ring and up and down the aisle before things settled down into a standard match with Austin and The Game actually bothering to tag in and out.

It was entertaining enough, but this was the kind of match these three seasoned main eventers could sleep-wall through, and that’s pretty much what they did.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

With blood dripping from his ear, The Undertaker chokeslammed everyone in his sight then rode off into the sunset...

...well, into the grey and gloomy skies of England, anyway.







Though the WWF’s UK-exclusive cards were never going to win any ‘show of the year’ awards, this one did at least entertain and was probably the best WWF show in British soil since Summerslam 1992.

Only the Big Show/Bradshaw match was outright poor, while the four-team tag match and the Angle/Benoit encounter are definitely worth checking out.

Everything else was enjoyable, though nothing you haven’t seen before.




Thursday, 1 October 2020

PPV REVIEW: WRESTLEMANIA 17

April 1, 2001 
Reliant Astrodome, Houston, Texas

Before we begin today, I want to point out that, having watched all of the previous sixteen Wrestlemanias, this is the first event that truly felt like a modern 'Mania.

You know how Wrestlemania has the huge entranceway, the massive ramp, and the general sense that this is an event beyond any normal pro wrestling event?

Wrestlemania 17 was really the first event that had all of that and was the first event which truly felt like the spectacle of all spectacles.

Don't believe me?

Let's head on down to the Houston Astrodome for an event many consider to be one of the best Wrestlemania's of all time.







Welcome to the Showcase of The Immortals

Our opening video package was melodramatic in the best sense of the world.

It showed us a whole different bunch of people, from farmers somewhere in middle America to street food vendors in Asia all finding a way to huddle round a television - proving that no matter what their circumstances, they had always found a way to watch past moments like Mike Tyson knocking out Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 14 and Yokozuna enjoying his short-lived title reign at Wrestlemania 9.

Credit where it's due, this was a well-done intro.

Then, as Limp Bizkit's My Way blasted out, we got a quick opening credits package featuring tonight's main stars followed by a deliberately dramatic greeting from lead announcer Jim Ross.

Ross' broadcast colleague for the evening was Paul Heyman, who was insanely excited about making his first Wrestlemania appearance.

If you're wondering where Jerry 'The King' Lawler was, he had recently walked out of the World Wrestling Federation after his real-life wife, The Kat, had been fired for apparently being a bit of a spoiled diva.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho vs. William Regal

This all came about because Chris Jericho besmirched Commissioner William Regal. Regal retaliated by booking Jericho in a match against half the world, but Y2J then got his own back by peeing in Regal's tea and dressing up as Doink to beat him up.

Tonight, they looked to settle the score in a fun opening contest that really could have been even better had they given it five more minutes.

As it was, Regal/Jericho was a fine opener but then given the talent of both men, it was probably always going to be good.

The story going in was that Jericho's shoulder was injured and Regal spent the majority of the match going after it. This wasn't enough to secure a victory, however, as Y2J hit the lion sault to retain his title.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho

Out in the back, Shane McMahon arrived in a limousine bearing the license plate 'WCW 1.'

Elsewhere in the arena, The APA smoked stonking-big cigars with Jacqueline. Texas native Bradshaw was super excited about being in the Astrodome and proceeded to recall every major event that had happened in the arena.

He and Farooq were in action next.

Six-Man Tag Team Match
The Right to Censor (Bull Buchanan, The Goodfather, and Val Venis w/ Steven Richards) vs. Tazz and The APA (Farooq & Bradshaw w/ Jacqueline)

This started as your standard six-man but soon disintegrated into a free-for-all and a pretty decent one at that.

Ok, so this was never going to win Match of the Night honours, but it served a purpose and, as short little brawls go, was pretty good fun.

After a few minutes of hard-hitting offence, Bradshaw hit the Clothesline from Hell on The Goodfather and won the match for his team.
Your Winners: The APA & Tazz

Backstage, Trish Stratus wheeled an apparently catatonic Linda McMahon in her wheelchair. Stephanie McMahon approached and ordered Trish to hand crush some ice ready to celebrate her pops beating Shane McMahon later on.

This was during the time that Vince had committed Linda to an institution, had an affair with Trish, and then turned on Trish and started treating her like trash for no reason.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship Triple Threat Match
WWF Hardcore Champion Raven vs. Kane vs. The Big Show

This was very entertaining.

Most of the match was fought backstage, with people being slammed through windows, doors and tables, riding around on golf carts and generally beating the crap out of each other.

The main story of the match was The Big Show and Kane colliding while Raven was kind of lucky to be there, but even he played his part well and contributed to an enjoyable garbage brawl.

Eventually, all three men made their way back to the stage where Show lifted Raven up to throw him off the stage. Kane kicked them both off then jumped on top of Show and pinned him for the three.
Your Winner and NEW Hardcore Champion: Kane

Backstage, Edge and Christian wanted to know if Kurt Angle wanted to go and celebrate with them after they all won their matches tonight, but The Olympic Gold Medalist was too concerned with watching a video of Chris Benoit making him tap.

"If your hand taps the mat but there's no official referee and no official bell and it wasn't an official match, then officially you didn't tap," said Angle, mesmerised by the video on the screen.

Meanwhile, at WWF New York, Superfly Jimmy Snuka stood around posing.

The Champ is Here

Out in the crowd, Jonathan Coachman interviewed a fan who had travelled all the way from Brisbane, Australia for Wrestlemania.

Meanwhile, WWF Champion The Rock arrived at the arena, hung up his title belt and jacket, and wandered off again.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion Test vs. Eddie Guerrero (w/ Perry Saturn)

Whenever people talk about the greatest Wrestlemania matches of all time, nobody in history has ever mentioned Test vs. Eddie Guerrero for the European title at Wrestlemania 17.

And that's OK.

Not every match has to be an absolute showstopper. Some of them can just be a fun way to fill a few minutes, and that's exactly what this was.

Sure, the ever-talented Guerrero managed to get the best out of his opponent and give us a solid match, but this wasn't going to win any awards.

After a very good effort, Test took out Eddie's cornerman, Perry Saturn, only to get distracted dealing with Dean Malenko. Eddie then clocked the champion with the title belt to claim it for himself.
Your Winner and NEW European Champion: Eddie Guerrero

Backstage, Michael Cole interviewed a homeless man who vaguely resembled Mick Foley.

The man told Cole that even though Vince McMahon had embarrassed and humiliated him, he was still going to be impartial when the boss took on his own son Shane later on in the show.

Elsewhere in the arena, Stone Cold Steve Austin was so over that he got a huge pop for walking into a dressing room and sitting down.

Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit

Before the match, heat-seeker Angle ripped on the Texan crowd and mocked them for being Texan.

The actual match started good, got better, became great, and then kind of went out on a whimper.

Forget your sports entertainment, this was proper professional wrestling. At one point, somebody breathed hard in the referee's general direction, causing the official to collapse to the mat and go into a coma.

While that was going, Angle tapped to the Crippler Crossface but, as he said earlier since there was no official and no bell, it didn't count.

More excellent action continued, then after several close, dramatic near falls, Angle scored the win with a sloppy-looking roll-up.

As finishes go, it was very anti-climatic, but everything that went before it was brilliant.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle

Backstage, William Regal was mortified to find Kamala standing on his desk and rubbing himself with a framed picture of Her Majesty The Queen.

Though I'd like to think this was just a call-back to Drew Carey mentioning The Ugandan Giant to Triple H back at Royal Rumble 2001, he was actually there to compete in tonight's gimmick battle royal.

Eventually, with a little help from Kimchee, the Commissioner managed to talk Angle down.

The Rabid Wolverine Attacks

Up next, a video package showed us some of the WWF superstars taking part in a Wrestlemania pep-rally with members of the armed forces.

Back in the arena, Kevin Kelly tried to interview Kurt Angle, only for Chris Benoit to appear and attack our Olympic Hero and slap him in the crossface.

A second video package followed this one highlighting the rivalry between Chyna and WWF Women's Champion Ivory.

That match was next.

World Wrestling Federation Women's Championship
WWF Women's Champion Ivory vs. Chyna

Right To Censor banned from Ringside

The story was that Chyna had been injured at the hands of Right to Censor and had to sign a waiver insisting that she wouldn't sue the WWF if she got re-injured in this match.

For what it was, this was OK, but it was basically just The Ninth Wonder of the World making short work of her much smaller opponent and destroying her in about three minutes.

This was Chyna's final Wrestlemania appearance.
Your Winner and NEW Women's Champion: Chyna

Backstage, Vince McMahon made sure that Trish Stratus knew when to bring his catatonic wife down to the ring during his match with Shane.

Michael Cole then interrupted him to discuss Shane McMahon buying WCW, but Vince wasn't interested in that.

We then got a look back at the rivalry between the McMahon boys, including Vince telling his son that he wished he'd never been born.

Nice.

Street Fight
Shane McMahon vs. Vince McMahon (w/ Stephanie McMahon)

Special Referee: Mick Foley
Shane McMahon didn't have his own Here comes the money theme yet, so came down to the same No Chance in Hell theme as his old man. Before the bell rang, Shane shouted out to his WCW boys -namely Lance Storm, Hugh Morrus, Chavo Guerrero, Shawn Stasiak and Stacy Keibler- who were watching the big event from a skybox.

Then, the bell rang, and this turned into a thoroughly enjoyable bit of storytelling.

Yes, there've been greater street fights in history from an actual wrestling perspective, but this was the perfect way to bring the months-long McMahon saga to a close.

After a few minutes of brawling, Trish Stratus wheeled the catatonic Linda McMahon to ringside but then turned on Vince and gave him a good slapping. That led to a Trish/Stephanie McMahon brawl, taking the two ladies out of action.

The evil Vince McMahon then propped his wife up in the corner of the ring so that she'd have to watch her own son get destroyed, but at the last minute, Linda stood up, revealed that she was fine, and kicked her husband straight square in the bollocks.

Shane O' Mac then debuted Coast to Coast, and that was all she wrote.
Your Winner: Shane McMahon

Earlier that weekend, at the Axxess convention, Kevin Kelly interrupted The Hardy Boyz autograph signing to ask them about TLC. Matt and Jeff were nervous but also excited.

Back in the arena, Triple H sat in his dressing room grunting while Undertaker hung out in the boiler room, shadow boxing. The two would meet later on in the show, but TLC was next.

Tables, Ladders and Chairs II
World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship TLC Match
WWF Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (D'Von & Bubba Ray Dudley) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy) vs. Edge & Christian

At Summerslam 2000, these three teams had changed the game by competing in the incredible TLC I. Personally, I think I preferred that match to this one, but don't get me wrong, TLC II was still all kinds of awesome.

The big difference this time around was that we got run-ins from former ECW Stars Spike Dudley and Rhyno. The latter was a friend of Edge & Christian while the former was, obviously, there to help out his family members. Lita got involved too, and with nine different people involved it at times got a little chaotic, but it was still several shades of epic and a joy to watch.

The highlight was the famous moment that Edge lept off a ladder and speared Jeff Hardy who was hanging from the device that suspended the title belts over the ring.

After many similar insane spots, Edge and Christian won the match just as they had done at Summerslam, this time with Christian sat atop Rhyno's shoulders while The War Machine scaled the ladder.
Your Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian

We then got another look at Axxess with both fans and superstars alike talking about how awesome the whole thing was.

Following some banter from Ross and Heyman, Howard Finkle told us that Wrestlemania X-7 had set an all-time attendance record for any event at the Houston Astrodome of 67, 925 fans.

Heenan and Okerlund Return Home

Before the Gimmick Battle Royal, Mean Gene Okerlund was introduced as our guest play-by-play announcer before Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan made his first 'Mania appearance since Wrestlemania 9 as our special guest colour analyst.

Heenan clearly forgot he wasn't on Nitro any more and immediately called Mean Gene 'Tony.'

Oops.

There was also this gem:

Heenan: "Repo Man, last week he repo'd his own car. This man is nuts."
Okerlund: "About four years ago, he got my mother-in-law's"
Heenan: "About four years ago, everybody got your mother-in-law."

Genius.

Gimmick Battle Royal
Featuring The Bushwhackers, Duke 'The Dumpster' Drosse, The Iron Sheik, Earthquake, The Goon, Doink The Clown, Kamala (w/ Kimchee & Harvey Wippleman), Repo Man, Jim Cornette, Nikolai Volkoff, Michael P.S Hayes, One Man Gang, The Gobbledegooker, Tugboat, Hillbilly Jim, Brother Love, Sgt. Slaughter

The individual entrances for the old-school performers lasted twice as long as this very brief battle royal, but that was kind of the point.

This was never about giving us a good match, it was about the nostalgia trip, and it was a lot of fun, especially with Heenan and Okerlund cracking wise the whole time.

The interesting thing was how over Doink The Clown was. He easily got the biggest pop of the whole match and there was very loud booing when he was
finally eliminated.

Eventually, The Iron Sheik won.

I say 'eventually' the whole battle royal lasted about three minutes.
Your Winner: The Iron Sheik

Post-match, Sgt. Slaughter returned to the ring and slapped Sheiky Baby in the cobra clutch.

This was supposed to create a feel-good moment, but you sort of got the impression nobody ever really cared about Slaughter as much as the WWF often thought they did.

We're Motorhead and We'll Kick Your Ass


A video package followed highlighting the rivalry between Triple H and The Undertaker. This came down to The Game bragging that he had beaten everybody there was to beat only to be reminded that he'd never beaten The American Bad Ass.

Those two would meet next, but first HHH got a Super Special Entrance in which Motorhead played a version of his theme song live.

God bless the legendary Lemmy Kilmister, but there was no hiding the fact that he forgot the lyrics to this song of the way through it.

Triple H vs. The Undertaker

This was by far The Undertaker's best Wrestlemania match up to this point and perhaps even one of his best individual matches ever - at least at this stage of the game.

They started in the ring, went for a crazy brawl through the crowd and returned to the ring again, all the while building the drama.

After an incredible battle, 'Taker sent The Game for his Last Ride to go 9-0 at Wrestlemania.

The Streak continues...
Your Winner: The Undertaker

Finally, after a look back at their epic rivalry set to Limp Bizkit's 'My way' it was time for The Rock to defend the WWF Championship against Stone Cold Steve Austin in a showdown for the ages.

No Disqualification Match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

And man, what a showdown it was.

Surpassing just about every Wrestlemania main event that had ever come before it, Rock/Austin quickly developed into an all-time classic.

It had the huge, big-match feel of Hogan/Andre, the drama and intensity of the very best Attitude Era matches, and a certain intangible quality that came as a result of Rock and Austin's unmatched star power.

Apart from an unnecessary ref' bump, everything about this match was perfect, violent, brutal perfection that was drenched in blood, and forced you onto the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Speaking of the finish, that came when Vince McMahon came down to the ring and Austin revealed that he had sold his soul to The Devil Himself, making a pact with the Chairman and turning heel in the process.

When Rock refused to die, Vince handed Austin a chair which the Texas Rattlesnake used to just bludgeon his opponent before finally securing the pinfall.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Post-match, Austin and Vince shared a beer and toasted over the prone, lifeless body of The Great One.







Wrestlemania 17 has often been described as the greatest Wrestlemania of all time, and after watching it today, it's obvious that it at least deserves to be in the running.

Rock/Austin, HHH/Taker and TLC 2 were the real highlights, but in between everything else worked well and served its purpose. Even the Gimmick Battle Royal -while not great from an in-ring perspective- was a welcome bit of nostalgia and gave us some hilarious banter between Heenan and Okerlund.

Overall, an exceptional show that is very much worth tracking down.



Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.