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 Invasion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Invasion. Show all posts

Friday, 12 February 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF No Mercy 2001

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Event poster
October 21, 2001, 
Savvis Center, St. Louis, Missouri

By the time WWF No Mercy 2001 came around, the WWF vs. WCW/ECW Invasion was nearing its conclusion.

A few weeks after this PPV, the "Winner Take All" match at Survivor Series would put paid to the whole thing once and for all, finally bringing to an end months of bizarre creative decisions and ill-fated ideas.

Yet as rough as The Invasion may have been in many respects, there was at least one really good thing about it:

The Rise of Rob Van Dam.

From the very beginning, The Whole F'N Show had consistently proven himself to be one of -if not the- most popular member of The Alliance.

Tonight, all of that would pay off as he stepped into the main event to take on his fellow Alliance cohort Steve Austin and future Alliance member Kurt Angle in our main event.






Here's what went down when No Mercy came live from St. Louis, Missouri.

What Motivates a Man?

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Paul Heyman and Jim Ross called the event
Tonight’s show began with one of the most compelling opening videos the World Wrestling Federation had used in a while.

Focussing exclusively on our triple threat main event, the video dissected the motivations of our three competitors, WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin and his challengers, Kurt Angle and Rob Van Dam.

If you ever want proof that this company could tell great stories when they wanted to, look no further than this video.

Anyway, with that out of the way, the nu-metal tones of Saliva’s Click Click Boom brought us into the arena where pyro aplenty exploded and Jim Ross welcomed us to tonight’s show.

As was customary for this time, we also got a look at the hot crowd at WWF New York before Ross and broadcast colleague Paul Heyman took us to tonight’s opening match.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Team Champions The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy w/ Lita) vs. Lance Storm & WWF European Champion The Hurricane (w/ Ivory Molly Holly)

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - The Hurricane
So, The Hardyz had been holding the WCW tag team titles for a few weeks while Lance Storm and The Hurricane had formed a pretty solid tag team since we last saw them at Unforgiven 2001.

The Hurricane was still getting large babyface reactions but judging by the story we were told by JR and Heyman, we were supposed to believe that he was a heel.

Speaking of the announcers, you have to give them credit for bringing up Hurricane Helms’ real-life history with The Hardyz in their Omega promotion.

That aside, this was a tremendous opening contest that whipped the crowd into a frenzy very early on and only got better as it built towards a gripping climax.

That came when all three women got involved in the match causing a big mid-ring kerfuffle. That led to Jeff Hardy landing a Swanton bomb and brother Matt picking up the three count.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: The Hardy Boyz

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - William Regal confronts Rob Van Dam
Backstage, Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam arrived at the arena and was immediately confronted by William Regal. Since the last PPV, Regal had defected from the World Wrestling Federation and joined The Alliance, helping his old WCW buddy Steve Austin recapture the title from Kirt Angle.

Tonight, Regal scolded RVD for hitting Austin with a frog splash on Smackdown and for having words with Vince McMahon. Van Dam was, after all, still technically an Alliance member.

Ever the cool character, RVD blew off Regal and strolled on into the arena.

Elsewhere in the arena, Vince McMahon just so happened to arrive in a limousine moments after his name had been mentioned. Honestly, you’d think this whole wrestling thing was scripted or something.

Anyway, McMahon refused to answer any of Michael Cole’s questions but did promise that he’d get all the answers he wanted -one way or another- over the course of tonight’s show.

Test vs. Kane

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Test pins Kane
As Kane made his way to the ring, Jim Ross reminded us that this was the very same arena where The Big Red Machine made his debut back at Badd Blood: In Your House 18 way back in October 1997.

Back then, he was The Undertaker’s sworn enemy. Tonight, he was on his brother’s good side and joining him in a feud against Booker T and Test which saw him go one on one with the latter.

The match was better than you probably imagined it being. Honestly, this fan was ready to dismiss it right from the get-go, but it turned into a pretty solid big man brawl.

Don’t get me wrong, this was never going to make it onto any ‘All-Time Must Watch Matches’ list, but both men brought their working boots (Test more than Kane) and gave us a decent contest despite a few moments of blatant sloppiness.

With heel referee Nick Patrick hamming it up as only he could and siding with his Alliance teammate wherever he could, Test eventually picked up the win after putting on a solid performance.
Your Winner: Test

Post-match, Kane gave Nick Patrick a couple of chokeslams and a powerbomb in revenge fun the referee’s various nefarious doings in the match.

Stone Cold Has No Time For Interviews

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Debra stops Coach interviewing Steve Austin
Out in the back, Jonathan Coachman knocked on Steve Austin’s dressing room door in the hopes of gaining an interview.

Instead, Debra answered the door and insisted that her husband didn’t want to talk to Coach. Austin would, however, talk to his wife and could clearly be heard giving her messages which she then relayed back to Coach.

It was -you have to believe me- much funnier than I’m making it sound. So funny in fact that Coach couldn’t keep a straight face. I honestly don’t think that was part of the show. Send for the man indeed.

Matt Hardy’s Close Call

Across the way, Stacy Kiebler made her way through the backstage area in readiness for her lingerie match with Tori Wilson. En route, she bumped into Matt Hardy and gave him an exclusive peek at her outfit.

Hardy was momentarily dumbfounded and started off after her until his girlfriend Lita arrived on the scene.

Acting as nothing happened, Matt cuddled and kissed Lita tight while, over her shoulder, expressing a sigh of relief that she hadn’t caught him ogling Stacy.

Lingerie Match
Stacy Kiebler vs. Torrie Wilson

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Stacy Kiebler faced Torrie Wilson in a lingerie match
For what it’s worth, Kiebler had theme music that sounded like a demo version of Sable’s old theme.

As for the match, well, it was the typical two-women-rolling-around-in-their-knickers deal that was so popular back in the day.

That’s no knock on Stacy and Torrie. The girls did their best with what they had without wearing anything more revealing than what your typical female performer wears today.

It was alright, but neither as sexy nor as funny as the company wanted you to believe.

Torrie Wilson won by rolling up Stacy and giving her a good ol’ slap on the bum for good measure.
Your Winner: Torrie Wilson

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Vince McMahon wishes Kurt Angle luck
Backstage, Vince McMahon interrupted Kurt Angle’s interview with Michael Cole to wish him luck in tonight’s main event.

Angle tentatively accepted the Chairman’s handshake but insisted that he didn’t need luck because tonight he was going to whoop everybody’s ass and reclaim his title.

In another room, Lillian Garcia interviewed Intercontinental Champion Christian about his rematch with brother Edge.

The future Captain Charisma has scored a somewhat surprising win over Edge at Unforgiven, capturing the IC title in the process. Tonight, he promised to do the same again in a ladder match, though not before rounding off his promo with the first thing you learn at How to Be A Heel School:

Insulting the local sports team.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Christian vs. Edge

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Edge faced Christian in an Intercontinental title ladder match
Prior to the bell, we got a look back to the moment on Raw when Christian tricked Edge into thinking their mom had been into an accident, only to lure him into a beat down at the hands of Mike Awesome and -if I recall correctly- Hugh Morrus.

Paul Heyman had then revealed that Christian was now a member of The Alliance, the only logic behind that move being that the Intercontinental Champion was a heel.

The bell then rang and this slowly but steadily built up into a terrific ladder match where each spot got progressively more dramatic and jaw-dropping over the course of 20+ minutes.

It’s difficult to watch a ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship and not think of Shawn and Razor at Wrestlemania 10 and Summerslam 1995

Edge vs. Christian at No Mercy 2001 isn’t really talked about with the same reverence as those two classics, but I think that’s only because of the context. Had this taken place in a time period when we weren’t bombarded with excellent matches week in, week out, then this too would be talked about as a classic.

Ok, so you could argue that, as the match wore on, there was too much dead space between each increasingly-elaborate spot. I’ll be honest, even though I knew both champ and challenger had to sell as they’d just almost murdered one another, the fact that they just played dead for a while then got up and walked straight into the next clearly orchestrated spot was a little off-putting.

Still, those spots were so breathtakingly brutal that it was always worth the wait.

After a lengthy battle, Edge hit his brother with a Con-Chair-To on top of two ladders. As Christian toppled to the floor, the challenger reached and reclaimed his gold to win the match.
Your Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Edge

For those keeping score, Edge was now a three-time IC Champion.

Spike is a Ladies’ Man

Over at WWF New York, little Spike Dudley was seen nursing a beer. The diminutive Dudley had been through a rough time lately. First, his girlfriend Molly Holly left him for The Hurricane, then he got elevated about a thousand feet in the air by Bubba Ray and D’Von and crashed through a table on Smackdown in an awesome spot that I recommend you check out.

It was because of the latter that he wasn’t competing with his usual partner, The Big Show, tonight,

In kayfabe at least, said table spot had temporarily put Spike out of commission, meaning he was left to root on Show and his temporary stand-in, Tajiri, from the WWF New York bar.

Not that Spoke seemed to upset. He was soon approached by an attractive woman and basically ignored Paul Heyman's questions because we were now supposed to believe that Spike was a bonafide ladies' man.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D'Von) vs. The Big Show & Tajiri

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Bubba Ray Dudley is ready for action
Despite the odd-couple pairing of Show and Tajiri, this was a surprisingly very entertaining match.

Both teams provided a change of pace from the drama and intensity of the earlier ladder match and yet still worked hard to ensure the fans got their money's worth from this show.

As the match neared its end, Big Show looked to be in complete control only for Rhyno to appear, nail him with a Gore, and take him out of action. That allowed The Dudleyz to plant Tajiri with the 3D and retain their gold.

Honestly, on paper, this shouldn't have been up to much, but it was definitely a solid match and a surprise highlight of the show.
Your WInners: The Dudleyz

Out in the back, recent Alliance recruit William Regal congratulated Rhyno on taking initiative. Rhyno responded by saying that he'd done it because the Alliance was becoming a joke to people and if he had to stop that by himself, he would. Unfortunately for Rhyno, The Alliance was well beyond saving as the next match would prove.

Elsewhere in the arena, Shane McMahon and Test got Booker T psyched about his upcoming match with The Undertaker.

Booker T vs. The Undertaker

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - The Undertaker ready to strike Booker T
While the last match may not have looked great on paper but ended up delivering the goods, this one was the opposite. To be honest, I was looking forward to this and thought it could be a unique match between two stalwarts of their respective organizations.

Instead, it seemed to be a lot of armbars, a brawl through the crowd, and a bunch of nothing. I'm sure this match had its fans, but I think sometimes a match can have all the right ingredients and still not connect. 

This was one of those matches. It was by no means awful, but it just didn't do it for this fan.

Undertaker put Booker away with the Last Ride for the three count.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

Backstage, Chris Jericho told Jonathan Coachman that tonight, he was finally going to win the big one. Although it was an obvious thing for anyone to say when challenging for a title, it made more sense than most here as the whole storyline going into Jericho's match with The Rock was that The Great One had reminded him over and over again that Jericho had never been able to win a world title.

Indeed, even when Y2J hit the ring, Jim Ross had to tell us that this was Jericho's first WCW title shot despite wrestling in that company from 1996 - 1999.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Rock vs. Chris Jericho 

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Chris Jericho beat The Rock for the WCW title
I'm just going to say it - this was a damn fine match.

Things started hot, with The Rock getting the better of his opponent at every turn until the challenger was finally able to get some sort of offense going and begin to dominate.

Back and forth they went, with every twist and turn to add more drama to what was fast becoming a compelling story.

At one point, the action spilled to the outside where the champion killed his opponent dead with a rock bottom through the Spanish announce table, but even that wasn't enough to seal the deal. 

Jericho fought back and locked Rocky in a Walls of Jericho only for Stephanie McMahon to head to ringside brandishing a steel chair. Though it looked as though she was aiming to assist Rock, the champion hurled the ECW owner into the ring and hit her with a rock bottom. The distraction allowed Jericho to slam Rock's face into the chair on the canvas, make the pin, and finally win the WCW title after what was a very good match indeed.
Your Winner and New WCW Champion: Chris Jericho

Afterward, Jericho gloated to Steph about his big win before being confronted by The Rock. The Great One was clearly pissed off as he thrust the offending chair in the new champion's face.

Backstage, we got an ominous look at Mr. McMahon's dressing room before a final video package for tonight's main event.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. WWF Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam vs. Kurt Angle

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - RVD lets Steve Austin know exactly who he is
Was the first time a reigning hardcore champion had headlined a PPV? I can't be sure, and to be honest, I'm not going to spend too much time researching it, but I honestly do think so. 

Of course, the hardcore title wasn't actually on the line tonight. It was all about Austin's WWF title in a match that tried really hard to outmatch the earlier Rock/Jericho encounter and almost - almost managed it.

Indeed, this was a very good effort, even if the tried and tested two-guys-fight-while-the-other-takes-a-nap-then-breaks-up-the-fall routine did come across as a little messy at times.

There was also involvement from Vince and Shane McMahon, with the former drilling Austin with a chair and the latter preventing Angle from getting the pin on RVD, all of which felt rather unnecessary, but otherwise, this was a very enjoyable main event with plenty of big-time moves.

Austin won by taking out RVD with a stunner, but before that, there was a lot to like about this match, and about the show as a whole.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Afterward, a bloody and battered champion staggered up the entrance way as Vince McMahon looked on, furious.







WWF No Mercy 2001 was not a perfect show. The Undertaker/Booker T match was underwhelming, and despite their best efforts, Edge and Christian got the pacing of their ladder match all wrong.

That said, there was a lot to like. The opening tag team match pitting the Hardys against Lance Storm and Hurricane was fun. Torrie and Stacy did the best they could with what they had in their lingerie match. The Dudleyz vs. Big Show/Tajiri was a surprise highlight and the main event was delivered, but really, it was Jericho vs. The Rock that stole the show and is definitely a match that deserves repeat viewing.

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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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.