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 WWE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WWE. Show all posts

Thursday, 10 September 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF No Way Out 2001

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 - Event Poster
February 25, 2001
Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada

I'm not sure if this is the first time I've said this, but it certainly won't be the last:

Until the Invasion came along and made a big mess of everything, the World Wrestling Federation were enjoying one of the best periods in their history, at least from a creative standpoint if not a commercial one.

By the time No Way Out 2001 came around, they were just weeks away from hammering the final nail in World Championship Wrestling's coffin and winning the Monday Night Wars once and for all.

Meanwhile, their stacked roster was churning top quality show after top quality show, all leading up to what would eventually become the show widely regarded as one of the greatest Wrestlemanias of all time, Wrestlemania XVII.

Before that, however, there was this, another in a long series of awesome events from the WWF.







Don't believe me? Lets head down to the wonderfully named Paradise, Nevada and see what went down at No Way Out 2001.

Two Men, Three Stages of Hell

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 - Jerry Lawler called his last PPV with Jim Ross before leaving the company for a few months
Tonight's opening video was nothing particularly special. It focussed on the show's two marquee matchups:
  • The Rock challenging Kurt Angle for the WWF title
  • Stone Cold Steve Austin taking on sworn enemy Triple H in the first-ever Three Stages of Hell match.
After the usual fireworks and hoopla, we got a greeting from our announcers Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler, then headed down to ringside for our opening match.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore ChampionshipWWF Hardcore Champion Raven vs. The Big Show

Two years ago to the month, Big Show had debuted WWF St. Valentine's Day Massacre and went straight into the main event scene. Now he was floundering in the hardcore division which nobody ever really took seriously.
WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 - The Big Show beat Raven for the WWF Hardcore Championship
As he made his way to the ring, Show was attacked by a mysterious masked ninja woman who would later be revealed to be Tori.
Show disposed of her and then marched straight into a decent though uninspired garbage brawl with Raven.
Things got better towards the end when Crash Holly (disguised as a popcorn vendor), Bob Holly, Steve Blackman and Billy Gunn all ran in to get them some.
Gunn was temporarily our hardcore champion but then Raven won it back and lost it to Big Show.
Though the first part of the match wasn’t all that brilliant, the final few chaotic minutes were enjoyable.
Your Winner and NEW Hardcore Champion: The Big Show


WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 - Kevin Kelly interviews The Rock
Earlier in the day, WWF Champion Kurt Angle arrived in a limousine and was interviewed by Kevin Kelly. Responding to Kelly’s question about how he was feeling, The Olympic Gold Medalist insisted he wasn’t at all worried about facing The Rock later on tonight.
Back live in the arena, Lillian Garcia interviewed Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero.
The two Radicalz would be competing in a fatal-four-way along with X-Pac and Chris Jericho for Y2J’s Intercontinental Championship. In a solid promo both men insisted that although they knew it was every man for himself, it would be one of the two of them taking home the gold tonight.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship WWF Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho vs. X-Pac vs. Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 - Chris Jericho puts Chris Benoit in the Walls of Jericho
Although we might have had a better match had Jericho defended the title in a straight singles match against any one of these challengers, it was still a solid and compelling match.

Everyone got their chance to shine and everyone looked impressive. Yes, that includes X-Pac.
Speaking of Pac, he was helped out towards the end by his buddy Justin Credible, who was last seen on WWF PPV as Aldo Montoya back at the 1996 Royal Rumble.
After a very good match, Y2J rolled up X-Pac to escape with his title in tact.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho
Backstage, Triple H was busy getting his wrists taped while his father in law tried hinting to Commissioner William Regal that he should prevent the match between Stephanie McMahon and Trish Stratus.
Regal, of course, didn’t get the hint and had no idea what to do.

Who’s The Biggest Trash Bag Ho?

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 - William Regal confronts Trish Stratus backstage
Cutting to WWF New York, Test was on stage and was the perfect person to ask for their thoughts on a match between his ex-fiancé and former manager.
Test was looking forward to seeing both women beat the hell out of each other to determine who was -in his words- the biggest trash bag ho.
Back in the arena, William Regal tried to stop Trish and her boobs from going to the ring but had no luck.
Killing time, we got adverts for Raw is War and the new WWF The Music Volume 5 CD.
Finally, it was back to the ring.

Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley vs. Trish Stratus

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 -  Trish Stratus ready for her match with Stephanie McMahon
This was surprisingly pretty good.
Ok, so it was never going to be a great match, but Trish was improving as a wrestler and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley was...
...Well, she put a lot of effort into it let’s put it that way.
Though the whole thing felt like it was building up to the spot where Steph pulled down Trish’s pants and gave her a spanking (to the obvious delight of the crowd), it was still pretty fun.
The end came when William Regal got involved and, after umming and ahhing about who to help, dropped Trish so that Steph could get the fall.
Your Winner: Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley
After a sentimental commercial for Wrestlemania X-Seven, a furious Vince McMahon scolded William Regal backstage and booked the two of them in a tag match. The following night on Raw it would Vince & Trish vs. Regal & Steph.
A video package aired next to promote the HHH vs. Austin match. Michael Cole then asked Stone Cold if he was ready to enter hell, but Austin just looked at Cole as if he’d asked him if he liked beer.
He then walked off, ready for battle.

Three Stages of Hell Two-out-of-Three Falls MatchTriple H vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 -  Steve Austin battled HHH in a Three-Stages of Hell Match
This was billed as two-out-of-three falls with each fall having a different stipulation, but it was also presented as if we would definitely see a cage match for the third stage of hell, so that pretty much spoiled the fact that we would see Austin and HHH score one fall apiece in the first two stages.

Fall 1: Standard Wrestling Match

The first fall was your usual one-on-one encounter. For Austin, that would typically mean a brawl through the crowd and all kinds of outside-the-ring shenanigans, but since they had to make this feel different from the upcoming street fight, it was kept mostly in the ring.
The fact that it proved to be a solid chunk of pro wrestling proved that Austin was still capable of having a very good wrestling match without resorting to all of his usual tricks.
Speaking of Stone Cold, he capped off the first fall by destroying HHH with a stunner for the three count.
First Fall Winner: Steve Austin

Fall 2: Street Fight

The second fall was even better.
A brutal, bloody and violent war of a match, this may have been a carbon copy of just about every main event from around this time period, but it was still exceptional stuff.
Predictably, The Game scored the three count thanks to the pedigree after a thoroughly gripping battle.
Second fall winner: Triple H

Fall 3: Steel cage match

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 -  A Bloody Triple H prepares to drill Steve Austin with Sledgehammer
Though the street fight was arguably the best chapter of this story, the cage match was still an engrossing affair with a heck of a lot to enjoy.
After beating each other to within an inch of their lives, both men struck each other at the same time, HHH using his sledgehammer and Austin with a Foley-inspired barbed-wire-wrapped board. They collapsed to the mat, with a dead Triple H collapsing like a sack of crap onto Austin.
One three count later, and I’m pretty sure Austin became the first Royal Rumble winner to lose at the February PPV before still headlining Wrestlemania.
Please correct me if I’m wrong on that one.
Your Winner: Triple H
Afterwards, both men did an excellent job of selling the war they’d been through by playing dead for a really long time. Austin still managed to get one last stunner in there for good measure.

The Kat Wants to be Naked

Up next, we were told that Jerry Lawler would be facing Steven Richards. This all started because Ivory was feuding with The Kat, who hadn’t been seen on PPV since she faced Terri in a Thong Stinkface Match at Summerslam 2000.
According to JR, The Kat just wanted to be naked and was fighting for her right to do so against Right to Censor. This got Lawler involved and here we were.
Backstage, Richards led Right to Censor in prayer.

Be the Ultimate Fanatic

A commercial then aired for a competition in which you could fly to New York and appear with Mick Foley on something called Ultimate Fanatic. I’ve never heard of that and obviously trying to Google it just brings up Ultimate Warrior stuff, so who knows what that was.
With that done, Tazz came down to join JR on commentary. Neither man mentioned the fact that they were feuding six months earlier.

Steven Richards (w/ WWF Women’s Champion Ivory) vs. Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler (w/ The Kat)

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 -  The Kat wanted to get nekkidIf King wins, Kat gets naked. If Richards wins, Kat joins RTC.

This was an Ok match but there really went much to it. It was obviously just there to cool down the crowd after the incredible Three Stages of Hell and to that end it was at least highly effective.
After a few short minutes of inoffensive action, Kat accidentally blasted King with Ivory’s title belt.
Richards got the three count, denying the world of the Kat nekidness.
Your Winner: Steven Richards
Post-match, RTC kidnapped Kat. She would be forced to join the group the following night on Raw but would then be fired for real the next day, with Jerry Lawler also quitting the company in protest.

We’re Going to Put Those Boys Through Hell

Up next, a video package aired which showed Edge & Christian stirring things to get The Dudleyz beaten up by The Undertaker so that E&C could isolate Kane and destroy him with chairs.
Back live in the arena, The Undertaker told Michael Cole that tonight’s tag team title triple threat tables match wasn’t about the gold but about pain.
“We’re not just going to put those boys through tables,” said Kane. “We’re going to put them through hell.”

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Tables Match WWF Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley) vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Undertaker & Kane

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 -  Kane wore a rare all-black attire for his tag team match with The Undertaker versus Edge & Christian
Showing solidarity with his brother, Kane wore a rare all-black version of usual attire with only a hint of red on the mask. It looked pretty awesome, but wasn’t enough to help the Brothers of Destruction win the match even though they came pretty close.
Though it was messy in parts, it was also a lot of fun. Edge and Christian bumped like crazy, the champs got all of their spots in to the delight of the crowd, and Kane & ‘Taker did almost everything in unison, creating a kind of synchronised pro wrestling that worked for them.
Just when they looked to have the match won, however, the recently formed team of Rikishi and Haku came down to attack them.
That left The Dudleyz to put Christian through a table and retain their titles.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz
Afterward, Undertaker dropped a very obvious F-Bomb and was clearly upset about losing the match despite claiming that he didn’t care about the titles just ten minutes earlier.
Before the main event we saw the exact same Wrestlemania commercial aired that we’d seen earlier.
Out in the back, Kurt Angle walked, ready to defend his title.

Finally, The Rock Has Come Back... To Las Vegas

Backstage, The Rock warned Kurt Angle that his time as WWF champion was over. The Great One gave us none of his usual catchphrases, but was still as charismatic as ever.

World Wrestling Federation Championship WWF Champion Kurt Angle vs. The Rock

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 -  Kurt Angle threatens to break The Rock's f'n Ankle
Damn, this was so insanely good.
It had a completely different vibe to it than the HHH/Austin match but it was still an absolutely riveting match with non-stop excitement from bell to bell.
At one point, The Big Show inexplicably came out and killed both competitors and the referee with chokeslams but that achieved nothing more than Mike Chioda being replaced with Earl Hebner.
Hebner and Tim White were carrying Chioda out of the ring when The Rock made a cover. Deciding that was more important than helping his colleague, Hebner hilariously dropped Chioda like a sack of crap. In the midst of all the drama it was a hysterically funny moment.
A little while later, Angle recovered from his chokeslam and cranked the ankle lock on his opponent.
“Come on, tap you son of a bitch!” Yelled Angle. “I’ll break your f**king ankle!”
Even more so than any of the actual wrestling moves, it was this intensity, this passion and emotion that match that made the match so amazing.
Eventually, the challenger made a comeback and hit two rock bottoms to regain the WWF Championship.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: The Rock
Post-match, Angle ran off crying while The Rock celebrated, his third straight Wrestlemania main event now secure.







All in all, No Way Out 2001 was an awesome show from beginning to end. The IC title match, the outstanding HHH/Austin match and that incredible main event all make this a must-see show.
In between those matches, everything else served a purpose and was entertaining in its own right.
After a wonderful start to the year with a very entertaining Royal Rumble, the WWF were on a roll in early 2001.




Other reviews of 2001 pro wrestling events: 
    More WWF No Way Out Reviews
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    Thursday, 27 August 2020

    PPV REVIEW: WWF Royal Rumble 2001

    WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2001 - Event poster
    January 21, 2001
    New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana

    It's fair to say that the year 2000 was the last full calendar year that everything was 'normal' in the world of professional wrestling as we knew it back then. 


    By the end of that year, there were still three major players - the WWF, WCW, and ECW. Sure, the latter two may have been on their last legs, but they were there.

    By the end of the year 2001, however, everything would be different. Not only would WCW and ECW be gone, but they'd be owned by the World Wrestling Federation, while the WWF itself would be only months away from not even being the WWF any more thanks to those pesky Panda People.

    Still, at least everything seemed normal on that late January night when the World Wrestling Federation brought the Royal Rumble to New Orleans.






    Here's what went down at the last Royal Rumble of an era remembered so fondly by so many of us...

    The First Step Towards Immortality

    WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2001 - Jerry 'The King' Lawler and Jim Ross called the event
    Tonight’s video package was a bold, dramatic affair that told us that if Wrestlemania was the showcase of the immortals then the Royal Rumble was the first step towards immortality.

    As with 99% of the company’s PPV intros, it was very well done and really got you psyched for the show.

    The camera then panned the huge crowd both live in the arena and at WWF New York. Man, I bet WWE -or indeed any wrestling company in the world- would kill to have such a huge crowd that was as red hot as the ones back then.

    Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler welcomed us to the show and, with that, it was down to ringside.

    World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
    WWF World Tag Team Champions Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley)

    WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2001 - Edge and Christian battled The Dudley Boyz
    The Dudleyz wasted no time going after their opponents and attacked them right from the opening bell, but Edge & Christian soon managed to cut D’Von off from his partner and dominate the bulk of the match.

    That whole part was fine, but it did look as though it was going to give us a fairly bland opening match with neither team performing anywhere near the level they were capable of.

    Then they began building towards the finish and it was absolutely tremendous.

    Near falls followed counters followed reversals followed more near falls, all in one utterly enthralling finale which came to a head with a win for Bubba Ray and D’Von courtesy of the 3D.
    Your Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz

    WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2001 - Drew Carey meets Triple H and Stephanie McMahon
    Earlier, on heat, comedian Drew Carey arrived at the arena. Also on that show, Vince McMahon addressed something that had happened on Smackdown and told us that, yes, Steve Austin would be in tonight’s Rumble match and, yes, Triple H would be challenging Kurt Angle for the WWF title.

    Back live in the arena, HHH urged Stephanie McMahon not to let her hatred of Angle’s manager, Trish Stratus get in the way of him becoming champion.

    After Steph was done ranting about her man winning tonight’s match, they were interrupted by Carey, who was excited about bumping into Kamala at an airport.

    Honestly, that’s what he said.

    He also said that he wanted to talk to Vince McMahon about promoting PPVs since the only reason he was there on the show was to promote his own upcoming PPV special.

    Steph didn’t know where her Dad was, but she did want to introduce Drew to Trish, partly to get the comedian out of Hunter’s way (because who has time to talk about Kamala’s singing career when you’ve got a title match?) but mostly to stick it to Trish.

    Always Poundin’ Ass

    WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2001 - Farooq and Bradshaw with their questionable t-shirts
    Across the arena, Farooq and Bradshaw were playing cards and drinking beer. They got into it about something but I’m not sure what because I was too distracted by their ridiculous APA: Always Poundin’ Ass t-shirts.

    Seriously, who thought that was a good idea?

    I sort of got the idea that they were talking about which number they’d drawn for the Rumble as both men flashed one another bits of paper and agreed it was going to make things interesting.

    Crash Holly then burst on the scene to warn the two men that if they got in his way, he’d have no problem throwing them over the top rope.

    ‘DAMN,’ said Farooq.
    ‘And people call us drunks,’ added Bradshaw.

    World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
    WWF Intercontinental Champion Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho

    In the past year, these two had given us many great matches at events like Judgement Day 2000, Summerslam 2000 and many others, so it was fitting that they kicked off 2001 with another scorcher.

    WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2001 - Chris Benoit faced Chris Jericho in an excellent ladder match
    I’ve always said that my favorite match of all time was the Intercontinental Championship ladder match between Triple H and The Rock at Summerslam 1998, but I genuinely believe that Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho at the 2001 Royal Rumble might be every bit as good as that one.

    Honestly, I’ve watched so much wrestling over the course of running this blog that I start wondering if I’m not becoming a bit desensitized to it all.

    Then a match like this comes along and reminds me why I do love pro wrestling.

    I can’t remember the last time I spent so long literally on the edge of my seat, utterly enraptured by every move. Nor do I ever remember joyously yelling ‘HOLY S**T!’ as often as I did here.

    It was stiff, it was brutal, it was dramatic,  and it was absolutely exceptional.

    Quality stuff from start to finish, this one ended when Jericho knocked Benoit from atop the ladder to the outside then climbed up and captured his third Intercontinental Championship.
    Your Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho

    Out in the back, Drew Carey was busy getting rejected by Trish Stratus when Vince McMahon walked in.

    WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2001 - Drew Carey flirts withTrish Stratus
    Seizing his opportunity, Carey quizzed McMahon on how to better promote his upcoming PPV, but Vince was more interested in encouraging him to enter the Royal Rumble match.

    Yep, that was happening.

    Don’t Worry About Chyna

    Across the arena, Chyna was gearing up for her match with Ivory as her buddy Billy Gunn urged her not to go through with it.

    The Ninth Wonder of the World was in rough shape after being on the receiving end of a spike piledriver at the hands of Right to Censor, but she wasn’t going to let that get in the way of getting revenge on arch-rival Ivory.

    Instead, she stormed off and insisted that Gunn would be better off worrying about the 29 other men he’d have to fight in the Rumble.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, Your New Intercontinental Champion

    Before we went back to Ross and Lawler, Michael Cole got a quick word with new IC champion Y2J.

    Referring to Benoit as ‘one of the toughest bastards I’ve ever faced,’ Jericho kept it short and sweet, declaring that he’d proven his rival wrong once and for all.

    World Wrestling Federation Women’s Championship
    WWF Women’s Champion Ivory (w/ Steven Richards) vs. Chyna

    WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2001 - Chyna presses Ivory in their women's title match
    Though the match was very short, it was actually kind of fun to watch Chyna woman-handle her much smaller opponent, throwing her around like a rag-doll and generally kicking her ass all over the place.

    Then the finish came, and it was really underwhelming.

    The challenger backed the champion into the corner and went for her trademark cartwheel handspring elbow. However, as she struck Ivory, Chyna’s neck injury was reaggravated and she collapsed to the mat like a sack of crap.

    A barely-conscious Ivory draper an elbow over her opponent and won the match in the space of just a few minutes.
    Your Winner and Still Women’s Champion: Ivory

    Selling the seriousness of the injury, Chyna lay prone on the mat, unable to move as Jerry Lawler abandoned his position at the announce table and hit the ring to check on her.

    Chyna’s buddy Billy Gunn came down, quickly followed by agents Sgt. Slaughter and Tony Garea as we got a really long stretcher job.

    I’ll Touch You, Trish

    WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2001 - Trish Stratus confronted Stephanie McMahon backstage
    Backstage, Stephanie McMahon headed to makeup to her hair fixed, only to find her nemesis Trish Stratus was already there.

    Trish offered to touch it up for her, leading McMahon to warn the blonde beauty that if she cost HHH the title then Steph would, yes, touch her.

    The crowd cheered at the thought of some Steph/Trish touching.

    Ahem.

    Drew Carey is a Big Deal

    Elsewhere, Harvey Wippleman handed some wrestling gear to a very nervous-looking Drew Carey.

    ‘Hey, who's the guy in the goofy mask?’ Asked Carey as Kane walked in, looked at the comedian, and left again.

    WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2001 - Kane stares down Drew Carey backstageNo doubt that would pay off later.

    As if to hammer home the point that Carey being there was a big deal, his name was dropped in another segment when Vince McMahon told Lo-Down (Chaz and D’Lo Brown with Tiger Ali Singh) that neither of them would be competing in the Royal Rumble because they’d been replaced by Carey.

    You’ve gotta feel bad for D’Lo Brown.

    He was one of the most entertaining parts of the early Attitude Era midcard and now he was basically comic fodder.

    Who Will Win the Championship?

    At WWF New York, a bunch of fans gave their pick for the WWF title match.

    It was pretty much a 50/50 split between those who thought HHH would win and those who were rooting for Kurt Angle.

    Back in the arena, HHH got psyched up for the big match by snarling at himself in the mirror.

    World Wrestling Federation Championship
    WWF Champion Kurt Angle (w/ Trish Stratus) vs. Triple H (w/ Stephanie McMahon)

    WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2001 - Trish Stratus led WWF Champion Kurt Angle into battle against Triple H
    Point of interest, this was the first WWF PPV in which Triple H used his Motörhead ‘The Game’ theme.

    After his entrance, Hunter engaged in a solid wrestling match with Kurt Angle which was mostly very good.

    Why only mostly?

    Because at one point, Steph and Trish got into a predictable catfight that had to be broken up by Vince McMahon because this was during the time when he booked himself to be shagging the beautiful Ms. Stratus.

    That was unnecessary, but the rest of the match was damn fine.

    The Game dominated, for the most part, spending a large part of the bout working over the champion’s leg before just going all out to try and beat him.

    Toward the finish, Earl Hebner got murdered which gave Stone Cold Steve Austin the chance to run out and get revenge on HHH for costing him the title recently.

    The Texas Rattlesnake smacked his rival in the face with the title belt then planted him with a stunner for good measure before hauling a mostly-dead Earl Hebner back in the ring.

    A lifeless Kurt Angle managed to drape an arm over his opponent, Hebner made the slowest count in all history and the Olympic Gold Medalist had once again barely escaped another match with his title.
    Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Kurt Angle

    Afterward, The Game stormed off, presumedly to find Austin.

    Finally, The Rock Has Come Back...to New Orleans

    WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2001 - Kevin Kelly interviews The Rock
    Interviewed by Kevin Kelly, The Rock cut a fantastic promo about tonight’s 30-man rumble.

    First, he addressed rumors that Kane and The Undertaker were in cahoots (that again?) and vaguely suggested they might be into some kind of weird brotherly incest before insisting that he’d throw both men over the top.

    Finally, he confirmed that it may all come down to him and Stone Cold, if you could detect the odor of his efforts in the kitchen.

    A video package followed, highlighting tonight’s Rumble competitors. The video did a good job telling us that Rikishi had the number 30 spot as well as showcasing main event stars like Kane, Undertaker, The Rock, and Stone Cold.

    30 Man Royal Rumble Match featuring The Hardy Boyz, Drew Carey, Kane, Raven, Honky Tonk Man, The Rock, The Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Billy Gunn, Rikishi and more...

    WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2001 - Drew Carey tries to buy his way out of fighting Kane in the Royal Rumble match
    From start to finish, this was one of the most entertaining Rumbles in history with nary a dull moment in sight.

    Howard Finkle gave us the rules of the match, including the fact that there’d be two minutes between entrances.

    Then it was on with Jeff Hardy as competitor number one, Matt Hardy as number three, and Bull Buchanan between them at number two.

    The brothers made short work of Buchanan then turned their attentions to one another, holding nothing back as they battled tooth and stopping only to dispose of number four entrant Farooq.

    Drew Carey made his way out at number five and rejoiced as Matt and Jeff eliminated each other at the same time. His celebration was short-lived, however, as Kane was out at number six.

    Pacing up and down the ring looking goofy and nervous, Carey offered Kane a handshake. When that didn’t work, he offered him money.

    WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2001 - The Honky Tonk man put in a surprise appearance in the Rumble match
    Naturally, the Big Red Machine declined that too and was about to chokeslam Carey when number seven Raven came to the rescue.

    Realizing he wanted none of that, the Drew hopped over the top rope and eliminated himself.

    Raven’s arch-rival Al Snow then came out and filled the ring with garbage so that the two of them -along with Perry Saturn and Steve Blackman- could attack Kane hardcore style.

    The Big Red Machine eventually cleaned house, only to be joined by none other than The Honky Tonk Man. Appearing in his first Rumble match since his last surprise appearance at the 1998 Royal Rumble, Honky wanted to sing his theme song, but Kane wanted to chokeslam him and eliminate him.

    Guess who won that exchange?

    With Honky gone, The Rock came out at number 13 to kick off the second, more serious half of the rumble.

    In other highlights.

    The Big Show returned to the company after a lengthy absence and murdered everyone in sight with chokeslams before being quickly eliminated by The Rock. To get his revenge, Show dragged Rock under the bottom rope and chokeslammed him through a table.

    WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2001 - The Brothers of Destruction, Kane and The Undertaker
    The Undertaker revealed that he and Kane were working together after all. The two cleaned house and then dominated the match.

    Stone Cold Steve Austin was attacked by Triple H during his entrance. The Game beat Austin to a bloody pulp. Austin did a gruesome blade job that was even more intense than his infamous crimson mask from Wrestlemania 13. At one point, he honestly looked like Frank from the first Hellraiser movie.

    Haku returned to the World Wrestling Federation, appearing in his first WWF PPV since the 1992 Royal Rumble. Haku looked impressive here, almost as impressive as he’d looked when he won the WCW Hardcore title at WCW Sin just one week before this event.

    In the end, it came down to Austin, Kane, and The Rock. Kane got rid of The Great One but got smacked upside the head with a chair several times by Austin before being clotheslined over the top rope with force.
    Your Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin

    Ladies and gentlemen, Stone Cold was going to Wrestlemania, and as the show closed, he threw a beer bash to celebrate.







    Apart from the women’s title match which wasn’t really anything, WWF Royal Rumble 2000 was an awesome show from beginning to end.

    Jericho/Benoit was the match of the night and is worth checking out for Jericho’s performance if nothing else.

    Elsewhere, Kane and The Rock shone as MVPs of an utterly enthralling Rumble match.

    A show well worth tracking down.

    Other reviews of 2001 pro wrestling events: 
    For more Royal Rumble reviews see:

    Thursday, 16 July 2020

    PPV REVIEW: WWF Armageddon 2000

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

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


    Tonight, however, something just felt different.

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

    ..Well, since ever.

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

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







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

    The End is Here

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Vince Don’t Want No Coffee

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

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

    That was a mostly odd and pointless segment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Angle is Ready

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Val won after Ivory interfered.
    Your Winner: Val Venis

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

    Steph is Scared

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

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

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

    The Animal Within

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

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

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

    Vince Hates the Main Event

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

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

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

    Last Man Standing Match
    Kane vs. Chris Jericho

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    100% Coffee Fuelled

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Regardless, this match met every exception.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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







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

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

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

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



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    Retro Pro Wrestling

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