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 Test. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Test. Show all posts

Thursday, 19 August 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWE King of the Ring 2002

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Event poster
June 23, 2002,
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

Though it’s not an event that gets talked about much these days, WWE King of the Ring 2002 was a historically significant event, namely because it was the last time King of the Ring would feature as one of the company’s Big Five PPVs.

Indeed, although the concept would be revived for TV multiple times over the next two decades, this was ultimately the last King of the Ring PPV to ever take place.

To a lesser degree, it was also important for being the first PPV since Stone Cold Steve Austin had “taken his ball and gone home” - having exited the company a few weeks earlier following after being unhappy with a proposed TV match between himself and Brock Lesnar.

The company hadn’t exactly kept this quiet, either.

On the episode of Raw that Austin vs. Brock was supposed to take place on, Vince McMahon instead came out and publicly thanked Stone Cold for his service.

From there, Austin’s departure was played into an angle where McMahon thought he was coming back, only to find out that it was The Rock who was returning.

The Great One hit the ring and cut a semi-shoot promo in which he spoke of  how much wrestlers were passionate about what they do and urged any wrestler who didn’t want to be there to “get the F out.

And as for Brock? Well, it turned out he didn’t need a win over Austin to continue his meteoric rise.

He had smashed his way into the King of the Ring finals and was now well on the way to cementing his legacy as World Wrestling Entertainment presented King of the Ring 2002.






Who Will Win King of the Ring?

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler
Tonight’s show opened up with a look back at all of the people who had won the King of the Ring tournament since the PPV’s inception.

Well, I say all of them, it missed out the 1995 King of the Ring PPV and jumped right from ‘94 to ‘96, probably because the company was too embarrassed to admit that the Main Event Mabel experiment had been a disaster. 

It then skipped over Ken Shamrock and Billy Gunn too, probably for similar reasons. 

From there, the video asked the all-important question:

Who would win this year’s event.

Would it be The Next Big Thing Brock Lesnar?

The Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam?

The first ever undisputed champion Chris Jericho?

Or erm...Test?

There was, of course, only one way to find out, so went down to the arena with crowd shots aplenty and our usual greeting from announcers Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler.

Ross and Lawler quickly put over the non-tournament matches and with that it was on with the show. 

King of the Ring Semi Final 1
Chris Jericho vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam 

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho
There are those occasions when two wrestlers are so talented that expectations for a match between them are set incredibly high, meaning no matter what they do, they can’t help but disappoint.

This was not one of those occasions.

The combined talents of Rob Van Dam and Chris Jericho resulted in an opening match that was crazy good.

Definitely a contender for one of the best King of the Ring tournament matches ever, this was every bit as good as you’d hope it would be.

The match built up and built up towards a crescendo of near falls before RVD finally got the better of Jericho and earned his place in the final.
Your Winner (advances to the final): Rob Van Dam

After, Lawler conducted an in-ring post-match interview with the victor who, in a typical laid back fashion, claimed that he didn’t care if he had to face Lesnar, Test, or even Godzilla in the final.

Why?

Well, because he was R...V...D of course. 

Just as this was wrapping up, a frustrated Jericho attacked and locked Van Dam in the Walls, essentially giving the ever-popular Intercontinental Champion a good excuse for losing to Lesnar late on. 00.21.10 - RVD

Speaking of The Next Big Thing...

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Paul Heyman psyches up Brock Lesnar
Godzilla is Fake

Backstage, Lesnar and Paul Heyman had been watching this unfold on a television monitor.

Referencing RVD’s promo, Heyman buried Godzilla for being fake while reminding Lesnar that he was real.

It was a compelling pep talk from Heyman, even if Brock probably didn’t need it.

King of the Ring Semi Final Match 2
Test vs. Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman)

I originally started writing about this match by saying that I doubted anyone really thought Test stood a legitimate chance of beating Brock.

That’s not to say Test wasn’t a decent performer. I always enjoyed his character and while he wasn’t the best wrestler in the world, he was far from the worst.

Still, I assumed this was going to be Brock inevitably squashing the Canadian en route to the final.

Instead, Test delivered a star-making performance in which he almost...almost walked away with the victory and more than held his own against his rapidly rising opponent.

Though he was technically a heel, his somewhat underdog status and the fact that Brock was an uber-heel meant that Test had the crowd firmly behind him as he took the right to Lesnar and only lost because Heyman got involved.
Your Winner: Brock Lesnar (advances to the final) 

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Marc Lloyd interviews Lance Storm and Christian
Out in the back, Jonathan Coachman made his way into the Raw Locker room to get some thoughts on the all-Raw final.

Bubba Ray Dudley told coach that having been in the ring with both RVD and Lesnar, he really didn’t fancy RVD’s chances.

Dudley also added that while he would have loved to be competing in the tournament tonight (he lost to Brock in the first round), he would simply find another way to make an impact.

Across the way, Marc Loyd looked to get a similar response from the Smackdown crew.

Instead, he bumped into Lance Storm and Christian.

The duo had recently started a whole “this company is prejudiced against Canadians” angle on Smackdown and told Loyd that the fact an all-Canadian final between Jericho and Test wasn’t happening was only further proof of WWE’s bias.

Storming off (no pun intended) Lance declared that he and Christian would have to stand up for what was right, and thus, a new tag team was born.

Standback, There’s a a Noble Coming Through 

Back in the arena, Smackdown’s Michael Cole and Tazz looked like they were standing in front of a green screen as they hyped up the upcoming Cruiserweight match between The Hurricane and Jamie Noble.

This was followed by a video package recapping the story between the two.

To sum up:

Shane Helms and Tough Enough 1 co-winner Nidia had dated at some point but then he dumped her to focus on superhero things, so Nidia had started dating former WCW Cruiserweight star Jamie Noble and recruited her new boyfriend to antagonize Hurricane.

Adding to all this was the fact that Nidia was portrayed as some kind of sexual deviant/nymphomaniac who got horny any time someone was aggressive.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship 
WWE Cruiserweight Champion The Hurricane vs. Jamie Noble (w/ Nidia)

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Jamie Noble vs. The Hurricane
This was a tremendously fun Cruiserweight match.

Maybe not an all-time classic, sure, and maybe not even on a par of some the jaw-dropping spotfests these two were involved in as members of 3 Count and The Jung Dragons back in WCW, but a good, solid, flip-flop-and-fly match in its own right.

After plenty of back and forth action and some genuinely exciting moments, Noble powerbombed the living hell out of Hurricane and made the cover.

Nidia prevented her ex-lover from using the ropes to break the fall, and one three count later we had a new Cruiserweight champion.
Your Winner and New Cruiserweight Champion: Jamie Noble 

Post-match, Nidia snogged the new champion’s face off.

A Word With Latino Heat

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Terri interviews Eddie Guerrero
Earlier, on Sunday Night Heat, The Rock had arrived at the arena.

We’d hear more from him later, but for now it was time for heat of a Latino kind.

Backstage, Terri reminded Eddie Guerrero of the time he and Krispin Wah had beaten up Ric Flair and asked if he was worried about unleashing ‘The Dirtiest Player in the Game.’

As if to show just how unconcerned he was, Latino Heat spent the first part of his promo giving shout outs to his family before finally declaring that he was going to put Ric Flair in a retirement home once and for all.

This was good stuff from Guerrero, who never failed to entertain.

Ric Flair vs. Eddie Guerrero 

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Eddie Guerrero vs. Ric Flair
For those keeping score, this was the first time Flair and Guerrero had wrestled -at least on PPV- since WCW Hog Wild 1996.

Meanwhile, Naitch had already turned twice in the six months he’d been in the company.

He’d joined as a babyface co-owner for a storyline with Vince, turned heel for a feud with Austin, then turned face again to take Austin’s place in a storyline with Eddie Guerrero.

Anyway, regardless of all that, this started off as a fine match with the wily Guerrera trying his best to out-maneuver his skillful opponent before finally getting the better of him and beating him down.

From there, however, the match slowly but surely ran out of steam and struggled to maintain this fan’s attention.

After an otherwise decent outing, an interfering Chris Benoit put Flair in the Crippler Crossface on the outside.

While the referee was busy sending The Rabid Wolverine to the back, Bubba Ray Dudley put in the night’s most random cameo and planted Eddie with a Bubba Bomb.

Flair got back in the ring, made the cover, and this one was done.
Your Winner: Ric Flair

Meanwhile, over at The World (formerly WWF New York), William Regal and newcomer Chris Nowinski complained about the slow service.

When Nowinski laughed at the waitress for only going to community college, she played with his food behind his back to gross it up a bit before he ate.

Up next, women’s action.

WWE Women’s Championship 
WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus vs. Molly Holly 

This was a good women’s championship between two talented performers who showed up to work, so it was a shame that Ross and Lawler spent most of the match referencing the awful “Molly’s got a big butt” angle.

That aside, this was a good match that came to an end when the challenger reversed a roll-up, grabbed a handful of tights, and captured the title.
Your Winner and New Women’s Champion: Molly Holly

Out in the back, Kurt Angle spoke to Marc Loyd about his rivalry with Hulk Hogan.

Back at Judgement Day, Hogan had lost the title to Undertaker while Angle had lost his hair to Edge.

Hogan had then tried to retire, only for Vince McMahon to declare that he had The Hulkster under an iron-clad contract and would insist he keep wrestling.

Hogan had challenged Vince to a fight but got attacked by loyal McMahon suck-up Angle instead.

All the while, Angle had been wearing a wig and wrestling headgear to hide his newfound baldness.

This led to one of the most hilarious promos of all time in which Hogan actually poked fun at his own baldness and declared that he has “lost a hair match to Mother Nature, brother.

Honestly, it’s been days since I watched that episode of Smackdown and I still haven’t stopped laughing at that line.

Anyway, that match was next.

Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Kurt Angle 

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Kurt Angle vs. Hulk Hogan
This was another good match, with Hogan’s old-school style somehow blending in well with Angle’s Wrestling Machine approach.

After a good back and forth battle, Hogan ripped Angle’s wig off, prompting The Olympic Gold Medalist to storm off.

He later returned brandishing a chair but when he swung, Hogan moved, the chair hit the ropes and Angle wound up KO’ing himself.

It wasn’t over there though, our Olympic Hero reversed a pin attempt into an Ankle Lock, and despite a valiant effort to break the hold, Hulk Hogan had no choice but to submit in what was probably the first time in his career.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle 

Out in the back, the greatest backstage skit of all time took place.

Goldust had dressed up as The Rock and was busy hyping The Great One’s return to Booker T when Rock himself turned up and put an end to it.

What followed was a hilarious back and forth between all three men.

Here, see for yourself:


King of the Ring Final
Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Rob Van Dam 

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Brock Lesnar won the King of the Ring
This was one of -if not the- shortest matches on the show up to this point, but it was still entertaining in its own right.

RVD took the fight right to Lesnar and almost looked to have him beat with a five-star frog splash, but alas it wasn’t to be.

Lesnar caught Van Dam coming off the ropes, hit him with an F5 and won the tournament.
Your Winner and 2002 King of the Ring: Brock Lesnar

There was no fanfare or ceremony for your new King of the Ring, Big Brock simply walked backstage with Paul Heyman reminding him that the winner of the tournament earned a title shot at  Summerslam.

A Clique Reunion

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - The Clique had a backstage reunion
Backstage, Triple H was walking, ready for his match with The Undertaker when he bumped into the New World Order.

Teasing tensions, The Game eventually hugged it out with Kevin Nash and the recently returned Shawn Michaels before embracing X-Pac.

With Big Show looking on ominously, Nash told Hunter that if he needed help, all he had to do was throw up the too sweet gesture.

Hunter walked off, leading to another green screen appearance from Tazz and Cole, followed by a video package highlighting our upcoming main event.

WWE Undisputed Championship 
WWE Undisputed Champion The Undertaker vs. Triple H

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Undertaker defended the Undisputed title against Triple H
This was a match that was really a victim of circumstance. In any other situation and with anything else going on around it, Undertaker vs. Triple H could deliver, but tonight, it all went wrong. 

Perhaps the main problem was the inevitable appearance of The Rock casting a shadow over everything both combatants did. 

The Great One hadn't been scheduled to return for a few weeks but had been rushed back to the company to help fill the gaping void left by the absence of Stone Cold Steve Austin. 

In the aforementioned segment with Booker T and Goldust, he had claimed that his reason for being here was to watch the main event. That meant everybody knew there was going to be a run-in from The People's Champion at some point.

As such, the fans in attendance seemed to barely care about anything either competitor did. 

In fact, at various points, you could clearly see that fans in the first few rows were either visibly bored or simply trying to entertain themselves while waiting for The Rock, all to the detriment of the actual match taking place. 

Midway through a lacklustre performance, Earl Hebner got utterly mangled in the corner before both champ and challenger took each other out with clotheslines. The moment their bodies hit the mat, all eyes turned away from the ring and immediately started looking towards the entrance, as if to say "finally, something we actually care about." 

Sure enough, The Rock dashed to ringside and ran off Paul Heyman. Heyman had been doing a very annoying job on commentary, completely overshadowing anything going in the ring by incessantly focussing on Brock Lesnar. 

Yes, I get it, but Heyman's persistent chatter certainly didn't help a match that was already struggling, so it was a relief when Rock saw him off. 

Things picked up slightly from there.

Undertaker attacked The Rock, The Rock swung at 'Taker with a chair, missed, and took out The Game. Back in the ring -with Earl Hebner comatose- Rock finally laid out the champ with a Rock Bottom, but it wasn't enough to give HHH the win. 

With the match getting a second wind, I was almost ready to change my opinion on it entirely and say that it developed into a very good, dramatic match, but then the finish happened.

The challenger laid out his opponent with a Pedigree, but Hebner was so destroyed that he could make the pin. Hunter tried dragging the zebra over to the middle of the ring so that he could better count, but 'Taker struck his nemesis with a low-blow and this undisputed championship PPV main event ended with -of all things- a roll-up. 
Your Winner and Still Undisputed Champion: The Undertaker

Post match shenanigans ensued with The Rock returning to take out 'Taker, The Game getting revenge for that earlier chair shot by pummelling The People's Champion, and Big Evil taking out Triple H to stand tall as the show went off the air.







I've read a lot of criticism of this show, with many people saying that it underperformed and that the quality was bad.

I'll give you that the main event was severely disappointing. I won't lie, it took me three attempts to watch it. At first, I thought it was just because I wasn't in the mood, but now I realise it's because it sucked. 

That said, I stand by my verdict that the rest of the card was pretty good. RVD/Jericho was a fine opening contest, the cruiserweight battle and the Hogan/Angle matches were enjoyable, and Lesnar and his opponents played to their strengths as The Next Big Thing took another step closer to superstardom.

Not the greatest show of all time perhaps, but certainly better than some cynical fans would have you believe.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF Survivor Series 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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





This is the End, My Only Friend, The End

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Was he joining the WWF?

Hell no!

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

Sh*t Happens

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

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

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

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

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

William Regal vs. WCW Cruiserweight Champion Tajiri

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

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

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

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

The brute.

Edge and Test

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afterward, Jeff was wheeled off on a stretcher.

The Commissionership is a Joke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JR, you filthy perv.

Vince Rallies the Troops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That makes for a really long main event for sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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







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

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

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

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.

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.