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Showing posts with label Vengeance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vengeance. Show all posts

Thursday, 15 April 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF Vengeance 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

...Again.

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




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

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

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

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

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

‘Mr. McMahon Discusses Joining His Own Club’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, the match was...OK.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The story was simple:

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

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

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

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

Become the Undisputed Champion.

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trish Smells What The Rock is Cookin’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Championship
World Champion The Rock vs. Chris Jericho

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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







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

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

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


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.