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, 26 December 2019

PPV Review: WWF Wrestlemania 2000

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Event poster
April 2, 2000
Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, Anaheim, California.

One of the main reasons why WWE's current product lacks appeal is that very little seems to change from one year to the next.

For the past few years, you could pretty much bank on there being some form of universal title match featuring Brock Lesnar, on seeing Roman Reigns in a prominent position and on having an undercard full of guys who would enjoy zero career development from one year to the next.

Yet back in the 1990s and early 2000s, things were very different.

Consider the fact that, at Wrestlemania 14, Triple H was wrestling Owen Hart for the European title. At Wrestlemania 15, he was turning heel so that he could begin his ascent to the top of the mountain and here, at Wrestlemania 2000, he was heading into the show as our WWF Champion.

Meanwhile, Stone Cold Steve Austin had headlined the last two Wrestlemanias but was out of action due to an injury, and a whole bunch of wrestlers who weren't even with the World Wrestling Federation back at Wrestlemania 15 were now booked in high profile matches.






Yes, it's fair to say that things moved much, much quicker back in the day and, if you ask this long-time fan, they were much more exciting because of it.

On that note, let's head to California for Wrestlemania 16.

Lilian Sings the National Anthem

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Lillian Garcia sang the American national anthem
After a brief shot showed us the outside of the arena on a bright and sunny Californian evening, Howard Finkle introduced us to the WWF's own Lilian Garcia.

Microphone in hand, Lilian got the show underway by singing a stirring rendition of the American National Anthem.

For those of you still having nightmares of the time Rockin' Robin tried to sing it back at Wrestlemania V, let me assure you, this was nothing like that.

Garcia belted out a truly stunning rendition in what was easily the best singing performance ever seen on a pro wrestling show. The crowd, quite rightly, loved it.

Her performance was followed by the obligatory opening video which quickly looked back at the 15 preceding Wrestlemanias before telling us all about tonight's main event - a fatal-four-way elimination match in which Triple H would defend his WWF title against The Rock, The Big Show, andMick Foley  .

Pimpin' Ain't Easy, B*tches

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Ice T performed The Godfather's theme from WWF Aggression album
Next, Finkle introduced us to rapper Ice T.

Having performed a remixed version of the Godfather's theme on the recent WWF Aggression album, T accompanied Godfather and a pimped-up D'Lo Brown to the ring, all while performing that theme and taking any opportunity he could to yell "B*TCHES!" at the top of his lungs.

It was an interesting performance, and one that was finished off by Godfather taking to the mic to do his own 'Pimpin' Ain't Easy' speech without uttering The B-Word.

The Godfather & D'Lo Brown (w/ The Hos) vs. The Big Boss Man & Bull Buchanan

It was only a few weeks ago, at No Way Out 2000, that The Big Boss Man had been paired up with Prince Albert. Now, apparently, Albert was out of the picture and newcomer Bull Buchanan was in.

Buchanan (formerly Recon of The Truth Commission) looked impressive here as he and Boss Man isolated D'Lo from his partner and took control of what proved to be a decent yet unspectacular match.

Despite mounting a comeback in the dying moments, D'Lo and Godfather were bested by Boss Man and Buchanan in the first Wrestlemania match of the new millennium.
Your Winners: The Big Boss Man & Bull Buchanan

Post-match, Boss Man and Buchanan chased off The Godfather's hos.

The McMahon-Helmsley Era is in Charge

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Ice T performed The Godfather's theme from WWF Aggression album
Backstage, WWF Champion Triple H and his wife, WWF Women's Champion Stephanie McMahon were seen enjoying some cuddle time with their respective title belts.

Hunter boasted about how good it was that The McMahon-Helmsley Era were in control of Wrestlemania tonight, leading Jim Ross to question whether The Game should have really been so relaxed considering what was at stake.

The Rules of Hardcore

From there, Ross and Lawler took us back to that night's episode of Sunday Night Heat. On that show, we saw wrestlers such as Hardcore Holly, Bradshaw, Taka Michinoku and Tazz gathered together in a room with WWF Hardcore Champion Crash Holly and referees Tim White and Jimmy Korderas.

With Crash standing front and centre, White went over the rules of tonight's hardcore title battle royal. Essentially, this was a pre-cursor to the Championship Scramble matches. There would be a 15-minute time limit during which the title could change hands many times. The person left holding the title at the end wins the match.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship Battle Royal~
Featuring WWF Hardcore Champion Crash Holly, Tazz, Viscera, Pete Gas, Joey Abs, Rodney, Hardcore Holly, Taka Michinoku, Funaki, Mosh, Thrasher, Farooq, Bradshaw

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Hardcore Holly won a Hardcore Battle Royal
For the first five minutes, this hardcore battle royal looked to be a total washout. All the competitors merely hung around ringside waffling each other with trashcan lids and giant baking trays. It was a cluttered mess that gave no opportunity for anything meaningful to happen.

Even when the title went from Crash to Tazz to Viscera, none of it was very interesting. Then, Big Vis decided to climb to the top rope and The Acolytes through him off in what was genuinely a cool spot. They took out the interim champion and dumped Kai En Tai on top of him. A three count later, and Sho Funaki was the man to beat.

He ran backstage with the championship with only a few men giving chase. From there, things picked up slightly with highlights including:
  • Pete Gas bleeding like a stuck pig
  • Thrasher blindsiding interim champion Joey Abs by slamming a cart into his ribs
  • And erm, OK, that's it.
Towards the finish, Tazz won the title again but forgot how the rules worked so kept trying to pin people even though doing so wouldn't benefit him in any way.

It was confusing, but not as confusing as the finish.

Tazz dropped the title to Crash Holly but then slapped him in the Tazmission as the clock ran down. In the final few seconds, Bob Holly hit the ring, blasted Tazz with something and pinned his cousin Crash. Clearly, the idea was that Holly would make the cover and the time would run out just before Tim White could count to three, but somebody's timing was slightly off.

White didn't count to three even though he had time to and Crash didn't kick out. Then the bell rang and despite Crash walking away with the belt, his cousin Bob was declared the winner.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Hardcore Champion: Hardcore Holly

Even Howard Finkle seemed confused and reluctant to declare Hardcore the winner.

Man, that was not a good match.

Head Cheese in the Bathroom

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Al Snow and Steve Blackman in the mens toilets
After a look back at the weekend's Axxess fan convention, we went to a bathroom where Al Snow was seen talking to some unknown person hidden in a toilet cubical.

At that point, Snow's tag team partner, Steve Blackman arrived on the scene and warned him not to try anything stupid because this was, after all, Wrestlemania.

From there, we cut to an extreme close-up of Trish Stratus' boobs as she led her men, Test and Albert, through the arena.

Those two teams would meet next.

Steve Blackman & Al Snow vs. T&A (Test & Albert w/ Trish Stratus)

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Trish Stratus made her Wrestlemania debut managing T&A
Before the bell, Al Snow kept up his attempts to get him and Blackman over as a team by introducing their new mascot, Chester McCheese..or something like that. Basically, it was a little guy dressed up like an actual block of cheese.

If you think that was bad, you should have seen the actual match.

I kid you not, this was one of the dirt worst things you've ever seen. I don't just mean it was bad by Wrestlemania standards, I mean it was so bad that even WCW wouldn't have allowed it on their shows.

It just seemed like the two teams had no chemistry together nor any plan of what they were actually trying to do. At various points, guys just kind of stood around looking at each other as if to say "what the heck are we doing?"

I mean, it was so bad, Jim Ross spent most of the match talking about how terrible it was.

Eventually, T&A won and put us all out of our misery.
Your Winners: T&A

Post-match, Snow and Blackman took out their frustrations by beating up on the guy in the cheese costume.

The Kat is Naked

Out in the back, The Kat was shown getting ready for whatever it was she was doing tonight, all while talking to her buddy, Mae Young. The twist here was that she was completely naked, but strategically placed objects, camera angles and movements prevented us from seeing any bum, boobs, or erm, you know...

Thou Shalt Not F*** With The Dudleys

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Michael Cole interviewed The Dudleys
Meanwhile, Michael Cole was standing by for an interview with The Dudley Boys. Addressing their upcoming three-way ladder match with Edge, Christian, and The Hardys, D-Von Dudley claimed that he didn't like ladders. In fact, he was even scared of heights, but that wasn't going to stop he and his partner from making history in tonight's match.

D-Von then invited Bubba Ray to testify, and testify he did with gusto. Speaking with a certain sense of passion, Bubba vowed that tonight, the two would take violence to a whole new level because thou shalt not F- with The Dudley Boys.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship Three-Way Ladder Match
WWF Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley) vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy)

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Bubba Ray Dudley with a ladder
There's no other way to say this:

This match was incredible.

It was creative, it was chaotic, it was brutal and it was brilliant.

All six men worked hard to deliver an absolute masterpiece, destroying each other -and a whole bunch of furniture- in the process.

The match was packed with big, jaw-dropping spots that had you convinced it would all soon be over, but then a wrestler or two would get pushed off the ladder or hit with another's finishing move and the drama would continue.

What made it all the more captivating was Jim Ross' announcing. Every call was full of passion and emotion and it made the match itself feel like an epic.

Finally, after the better part of half an hour, everybody died except for Edge and Christian, who scaled a makeshift platform comprised of a table set atop two ladders and grabbed their first of many tag team titles.
Your Winners an NEW WWF Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian

Backstage, Kevin Kelly stood by with Linda McMahon and Mick Foley. If you recall, Foley had lost a retirement match only a few weeks ago at No Way Out 2000, but Linda McMahon had brought him back so that he could face The Rock, Triple H and Big Show in a main event that was being sold more on the fact that it featured 'a McMahon in every corner' rather than on the action itself.

Anyway, Mrs Personality Linda McMahon insisted that she was happy for Mick, who responded with a decent promo in which he promised that fairytales would come true for him tonight.

This wasn't Foley's finest hour on the mic, but as one of the best ever, even his worst was still pretty good.

Cat Fight
Terri (w/ The Fabulous Moolah) vs. The Kat (w/ Mae Young)

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - The Kat faced Terri in a cat fight
Special guest referee: Val Venis

Apparently, Moolah and Mae Young had fallen out and were now leading Teri and The Kat into battle against one another in a Cat Fight.

The rules here were simple:

You had to throw your opponent to the outside of the ring.

Anticipating just how bad it was going to be, Jim Ross warned us not to expect any actual wrestling and told us that if were planning to judge this "on a star system" then we shouldn't bother.

Ross was right. This 'match' had no redeeming qualities outside of The Kat wearing an outfit that showed off her bum. The two ladies both tried to get special referee Val Venis on their side by snogging him, then went after one another with basic hair drags and erm, you know, cat fighting.

Speaking of Val Venis, he wore a T-shirt which, on the front, just said: "I'm cocked."

On the back, it said "Locked and ready to unload." The whole thing was written in a font that was clearly meant to be a man's love milk. Please tell me nobody on earth actually bought that.

And if they did, please tell me nobody actually wore it in public.

Back to the match, Kat threw Terri to the outside twice but each time, Venis was distracted by Kat's own corner woman, Mae Young. The first time, Val had to stop her getting her puppies out, and the second time, she was eating his face in the corner of the ring.

Eventually, Terri got Kat out, Val turned around and this one was over.
Your Winner: Terri

Except it wasn't. Afterwards, Kat ripped Terri's pants off while Mae Young set up Fabulous Moolah in the corner for a bronco buster. Yuck.

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - The Radicalz backstage Latino Heat

Backstage, Eddie Guerrero was all excited by how much he thought Chyna wanted his 'Latino Heat.' His teammates Perry Saturn and Light Heavyweight Champion Dean Malenko warned him to stay focused on the upcoming match.

Elsewhere in the arena, Chyna and Too Cool had just watched that segment. Chyna thought Eddie was disgusting, but Too Cool warned her not to worry, they'd take care of it in the ring next.

Six-Person Tag Team Match
The Radicalz (WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero and Perry Saturn) vs. Chyna and Too Cool (Scotty Too Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay)

Though this was a six-person match, it was clear from the outset that it was designed to make just one person -Eddie Guerrero- look like a star.

And if it wasn't designed that way, then it was a happy accident that Guerrero shone brighter than anyone else here and looked legitimately like a top player both in terms of his charismatic personality and his actual wrestling.

The whole story was Guerrero simultaneously flirting with Chyna and yet trying to avoid getting beaten up by her when she chased after him. So, it was a fitting end that -after a short yet very enjoyable contest- The Ninth Wonder of the World finally got her hands on Latino Heat and powerbombed him into oblivion.

So far, the radicals were 0-2 on WWF PPV.
Your Winners: Chyna and Too Cool

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Shane McMahon and The Big Show
Out in the back, Shane McMahon declared that The Big Show's size and strength were the reason he'd be taking home the WWF title tonight. Agreeing with Shane O' Mac, Show swore to unplug The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment, retire Mick Foley, and declare 'game over' for Triple H.

Sometimes, I wonder if Hunter didn't call himself The Game just so that all of his opponents could use the 'Game Over' line for years to come.

Next, we were shown a video of a contest winner who won a private jet to California and front row tickets to Wrestlemania. After that, we went to the back, where Eurocontinental Champion Kurt Angle was seen trying to persuade a security guard to give him extra security for his post-match celebrations in exchange for a few autographs.

We were also shown a segment from Heat in which Angle put Bob Backlund in a chicken wing as punishment for Backlund encouraging officials to make Angle defend both his titles tonight
.

Angle's match was next.

Triple Threat Two Falls Match for the World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental and European Championships
WWF European and Intercontinental Champion Kurt Angle vs. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Chris Jericho hurts Chris Benoit
The first fall decides the Intercontinental Championship, the second fall decides the European Championship

When you look back at how good Kurt Angle became in his career, you have to imagine that competing in matches like this really helped him develop that main event level talent.

Here, he went up against Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho in a match that was every bit as good as you thought it would be.

After a solid battle, Benoit pinned The Olympic Gold Medalist to capture his first championship in the WWF.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Benoit

Yet the match was far from over. Instead, it went on and got better and better with each passing minute.

Towards the end, referee Tim White got knocked out. While White was taking a nap, Jericho tapped to Benoit's crossface but was able to get up and attack when The Crippler went over to demand the referee wake up. Y2J slapped on the Walls of Jericho but got a title belt to the face for his troubles courtesy of Kurt Angle.

That got Angle a two count before Benoit made the save. Shortly after, Jericho took out Benoit to strip Angle of his second title.

Man, that was a lot of fun.
Your Winner and NEW WWF European Champion: Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Michael Cole interviews Vince McMahon
Out in the back,  Vince McMahon told Michael Cole that despite being in The Rock's corner tonight, The Great One was focussed on winning the WWF Championship with or without McMahon's help. Wrapping up his promo, McMahon did leave us with the ominous warning that he would 'put things right' by the end of the night.

Cutting to another part of the arena, we saw Triple H getting angry at McMahon's warning. No longer the cool, calm and collected champion he had been at the start of the show, The Game promised Stephanie that he would win tonight because he was that damn good then stormed off, leaving his wife all turned on.

D-Generation-X (X-Pac & Road Dogg w/ Torri) vs. Rikishi Phatu & Kane (w/ Paul Bearer)

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - X-Pac
I think this may have been the one and only PPV where the former Headshrinker was billed as Rikishi Phatu, but that's mostly by the by.

Here, he teamed up with Kane to help The Big Red Machine settle his score with X-Pac and Torri once and for all. The Road Dogg was along for the ride too, and I'm assuming the lack of Billy Gunn meant that ol' Bad Ass was injured for some reason.

The match itself was exactly what it should have been: Short and fun and ending with Kane finally tombstoning 'Pac to put the whole rivalry to rest once and for all, though not before the predictable stink face to Torri.
Your Winners: Kane and Rikishi

Post-match, Too Cool ran out to dance with Rikishi. The two were followed by a man in a chicken suit who everyone, including Kane and Paul Bearer, believed to be Pete Rose.

The Big Red Machine stood by and allowed the chicken some time to dance with Rikishi and Too Cool, but then grabbed the chicken by the throat and pushed him into the corner.

As if you couldn't have seen this coming from a mile away, Pete Rose then ran out with a baseball bat, revealing that he wasn't in the chicken suit after all.

Not that the swerve did him any good. Kane got hold of him and, for the third Wrestlemania in a row, chokeslammed the baseball star straight to hell.

Rose then got a stinkface for good measure.

Finally, The Rock has Come Back to Wrestlemania

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - The Rock shuts up Kevin Kelly
One year after dropping the WWF Championship to Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 15, The Rock had come back to Wrestlemania and told Kevin Kelly that tonight, he was going to lay the smackdown on everybody and take back the championship. Most of all, he was going to do it for the millions...

...and millions of The Rock's fans.

Compelling stuff as always from The People's Champion

By the way, I'm not saying the main event is going to be a long match or anything, but by the time The Rock was done with his promo, there were still 50 minutes remaining on the WWE Network version of this event with only that match to go.

No Disqualification Fatal Four-Way Match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Triple H (w/ Stephanie McMahon) vs. Mick Foley (w/ Linda McMahon) vs. The Big Show (w/ Shane McMahon) vs. The Rock (w/ Vince McMahon)

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - The Rock, Triple H and Mick Foley
Some lengthy matches are so utterly captivating that they seem to fly by.

This wasn't one of them.

In a sense, it was like watching three-act play, and while all three acts were individually enjoyable, made for an exhausting experience when putting one after the other.

In the first act, Hunter, Rock, and Foley all ganged up on The Big Show for a while before HHH and Foley spilled to the outside for a brawl. Mick got the upper hand, grabbed a chair and waffled Big Show from behind with it. The show stumbled into a Rock Bottom and his time was over in the space of about five minutes.

In the second act, we got a long, weapon-filled three-way between Foley, HHH, and Rock which ended when The Game twice pedigreed Cactus onto a steel chair to send him into retirement for good.

Not wanting his career to end on a down note, Foley returned to the ring and drilled Triple H with a barbwire-covered 2x4 then left the ring for our final act; a one-on-one showdown between long-time rivals Triple H and The Rock.

The two battled around the ring, through the crowd and back again before taking each other out completely in the middle of the ring. While the two combatants took a nap, The McMahons took centre stage. Vince attacked Triple H, but Shane McMahon ran out and smashed his dad in the head with a TV monitor.

It was enough to bust Vince open, but not enough for him to stay down for too long as he got up and took the fight back to Shane O' Mac.

Seizing control, The Chairman hit the ring and turned on The Rock, hitting him twice with a chair. Seizing the advantage, Triple H got the pin to become not only the first heel to win in the Wrestlemania main event but also the first WWF Champion to successfully defend his championship in the Wrestlemania main event since Hulk Hogan beat Andre The Giant at Wrestlemania 3.

Overall, this was a good match, but it did go on for far too long and got really tiring to watch at times.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Triple H

Afterwards, Stephanie McMahon embraced her father. The way it played out, it wasn't as though the two had been in cahoots the whole time, but rather as though Stephanie was pleasantly surprised at her father's change of heart. Shane McMahon came into the ring, but before he and Vince could settle their issue, The Rock returned to the ring and hit all three of them with a Rock Bottom.

"The entire McMahon family has been Rock Bottomed!" yelled Jim Ross as The Great One threw off his elbow pad and drilled Stephanie with a crowd-pleasing People's Elbow.

Finally, The Rock had come back to Wrestlemania, and though he didn't win the title, he was the only man left standing as Wrestlemania 2000 went off the air.





You know, I've read a lot of great things about how the year 2000 was one of the World Wrestling Federation's best from a creative, in-ring standpoint. Yet if all you had to go off was Wrestlemania 2000, you certainly wouldn't believe that to be the case.

While the main event was pretty good and you had some fairly entertaining contests like Radicalz vs. Too Cool & Chyna and the Kishi/Kane vs. DX stuff, a lot of this card wasn't spectacular.

However, there were two matches that do deserve special praise.

Angle/Benoit/Jericho is definitely worth a watch and as for the triple-threat ladder match, that is genuinely one of the best things I've ever seen in all my years writing Retro Pro Wrestling reviews.

If you're a completist looking to watch all of the Wrestlemanias, then you can at least enjoy the knowledge that Wrestlemania 16 is better than many of the others that you'll be watching, but otherwise, I'd recommend you just watch the two matches mentioned above.




For other 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
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Thursday, 12 December 2019

EVENT REVIEW - SWS/WWF SuperWrestle 1991

December 12th, 1991
Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan

While WWE have shown more willingness to let their NXT and NXT UK stars work for other promotions in recent years, there was a long time when the sports entertainment empire weren't exactly known for getting along with other pro wrestling organisations.

So, when the company joined forces with Japanese outfit Super World of Sports (SWS) in 1991, it wasn't exactly the norm.

Not that it should have come as much of a surprise.

As proven with the recent Saudi Arabia deal, Vince McMahon will do business with just about anybody if the price is right, and the price was certainly right for this partnership.

SWS was backed by Megane Super, a company who had earned millions selling -of all things- eyeglasses. Using Megane Super's millions, SWS had built up a decent roster and had booked several cross-promotional cards with the World Wrestling Federation.






One of those shows featured the infamous John Tenta vs. Koji Kitao match in which Kitao refused to work with the man better known back then as Earthquake.


It says something about just how controversial Kitao's performance was that this was the only match anyone remembered from a card which also featured Randy Savage vs. Genichiro Tenryu, and  Hulk Hogan vs. Yoshiaki Yatsu. 

But we're not here to talk about that show today, no sir. We're here to talk about SuperWrestle 1991, the show which took place six months after the infamous Kitao/Quake shoot.

Here's what went down when that particular event came to us live from the Tokyo Dome.

Masakatsu Funaki vs. Jerry Flynn


SWS/WWF SuperWrestle 1991 - Masaharu Funaki bea Jerry FlynnThe last time Jerry Flynn made an appearance here on Retro Pro Wrestling, he was taking part in that terrible Junkyard Battle Royal at WCW Bash at the Beach 1999.

Eight years before that, however, ol' Lightning Foot look to have all the makings of a solid grappler as he locked up with a man long considered to one of Japan's greatest mixed martial artists, Masaharu Funaki.

Not surprisingly, Funaki's shoot-style came into play here, with the two combatants trading swift martial arts kicks in between periods spent trying to out-wrestle each other on the mat.

If you're the sort of fan who likes fast-paced offense, lots of drama and high spots aplenty, you might hate this opening contest.

If, however, you enjoy any bout that makes pro wrestling look like something vaguely resembling a legitimate sporting contest, you might enjoy this short-but-sweet contest very much.

After only five minutes -most of which Flynn and Funaki spent on the ground- Funaki made his opponent tap.
Your Winner: Masaharu Funaki

Post-match, the two hugged it out in a sign of sportsmanship.

Ultimo Dragon vs. Jerry Estrada

SWS/WWF SuperWrestle 1991 - Ultimo Dragon and Jerry Estrada celebrate after their match
Apparently, the booking committee looked at this card and said "you know what? This needs more Jerry!"

Enter legendary luchador Jerry Estrada, who went at it with Ultimo Dragon in what proved to be a very enjoyable contest indeed.

Much faster and much more athletic than our opener, this was everything you'd want from a Lucha-resu bout in the early 1990s.

Both men flew around the ring at breakneck speeds, flipping and twisting and tossing each other around -and out of- the ring, with the Tokyo Dome crowd hanging on their every move.

At one point, they hit a suplex spot off the apron which saw them crashing straight into the front row. It was a genuinely exciting moment that popped the crowd -and this writer- huge.

After an incredibly fun seesaw battle, Dragon reversed a pin attempt and scored the three count in what would be his first match in Japan in the Ultimo Dragon gimmick.
Your Winner: Ultimo Dragon

The sportsmanship continued as the two men celebrated together after the bell.

Inter-Promotional Tag Team Match
King Haku & Yoshiaki Yatsu vs.  Ashura Hara & Davey Boy Smith

SWS/WWF SuperWrestle 1991 - King Haku teamed with Yoshiaki Yatsu to face British Bulldog and Ashura Hara
So far, this show couldn't have been booked any more perfectly.

We started with a shoot-style matched, moved into a fast-paced, high-flying bout, and now had ourselves a tag team match with four burly bruisers knocking the hell out of each other.

At first, this didn't seem like it was going to be all that interesting, but it soon heated up into another enjoyable performance, with all four men putting in a strong effort in every sense of the word.

Though not the best bout on the card, it was still a fun watch right up to the point that the British Bulldog rolled up Haku for the pin.
Your Winners: Ashura Hara & Davey Boy Smith

Alas, there was to be no display of sportsmanship here. Haku and Yoshiaki Yatsu beat up on the Bulldog after the match and dropped him with a wicked tiger-bomb/elbow-drop combo.

After a cut-away, Davey Boy and Ashura Hara were shown standing tall once again, this time sporting some kind of mysterious trophy.

I've scoured the web but I've still no idea what that trophy was actually for. What I do know, is that it certainly wasn't the infamous Royal Samovar Trophy the Bulldog had won two months earlier at the Royal Albert Hall.

We're Gonna Need a Montage

Apparently, there was no room on the broadcast/recorded version of this show to include the first three matches so, instead, we got a musical highlight montage.

The three matches included:

Great Kabuki, Takashi Ishikawa, Samson Fuyuki vs. Kendo Nagasaki, Shinichi Nakano, Tatsumi Kitihara in a six-man tag
Minoru Suzuki taking on Wellington Wilkins Jr in another UWF-rules shoot fight
Goro Tsurumi, Apollo Sugawara, Fumihiro Niikura vs. Kenichi Oya, Don Arakawa, Akira Katayama.

Disappointingly, the Kendo Nagasaki mentioned above wasn't the British star fans might remember from World of Sport, but rather the version of the character played by Kazuo Sakurada.

The Rockers (Marty Jannetty & Shawn Michaels) vs. George  & Shunji Takano

We joined this match in progress with Marty Jannetty and George Takano trying to take each other apart in the middle of the ring.

Jannetty worked the majority of the contest, with Shawn Michaels tagging in whenever he could and throwing superkicks around like confetti.

I'll rarely have less than glowing praise for anything involving The Rockers, but this just sadly wasn't half as good as you might have hoped it would be.

OK, so it was far from terrible, but having already been spoiled by a couple of very good undercard matches, this one somehow just fell short.

In the end, Jannetty scaled the top rope but was taking his time at diving off, so Michaels gave him a push.

The move backfired. Jannetty was caught with a big boot by Takano and quickly ate the pin.
Your Winners: George & Shunji Takano

Afterward, an irate Michaels berated his partner, urging him to 'use [his] head.'

Fair play to The Rockers, they were committed to their break-up storyline even in what was essentially a non-cannon show.

The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase (w/ Sensational Sherri) vs. The Texas Tornado Kerry Von Erich

SWS/WWF SuperWrestle 1991 - Texas Tornado Kerry Von Eric squared off with Ted DibiaseThis was a World Wrestling Federation exhibition bout, with Earl Hebner taking the place of the Japanese referees who had officiated most of the proceeding bouts.

Though not a technical masterpiece, the two told a very good story in which Kerry Von Erich kept trying to lock Ted Dibiase in the Iron Claw, only for Dibiase to continually escape.

It was a simple story perfectly told, especially as the Japanese faithful went crazy every time the Tornado even gestured that he might apply the claw.

The highlight of the match came when the two brawled to the outside, where the Million Dollar Man blasted the Texas Tornado with a couple of wicked chair shots.

Clearly preparing himself for the Attitude Era, Hebner turned a blind-eye to such blatant cheating and allowed the match to continue. That gave Von Eric the perfect opportunity to mount a comeback and finally put the diabolical Dibiase in the claw.

Sensational Sherri came to her man's rescue, so Kerry slapped the claw on her instead. The distraction allowed Dibiase to level his opponent from behind, hit a DDT that would make Jake Roberts proud, and scored the three count.
Your Winner: Ted Dibiase

Super World Sports Light Heavyweight Championship

(Match to determine the inaugural champion)

Rick 'The Model' Martel vs. Naoki Sano

SWS/WWF SuperWrestle 1991 - Naoki Sano faced Rick Martel to determine the first SWS Light Heavyweight Champion
Yes, he was a model, and yes, Rick Martel was excellent in this short, compelling match with Naoki Sano.

Given less than eight minutes to do their thing, neither man held anything back, going toe-to-toe in what proved to be a thoroughly explosive contest.

Leaving it all on the line, Martel and Sano went at it hard and fast until the latter hit the former with a beautiful German suplex to become the first -and only- SWS Light Heavyweight Champion.

The company would fold just six months later.

Sano would hold onto the title the entire time.
Your Winner and NEW SWS Light Heavyweight Champion: Naoki Sano

Post-match, Sano was presented with the title belt and a special trophy.

Koji Ishinriki vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara

SWS/WWF SuperWrestle 1991 - Koji Ishinriki vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara
Up next, it was the turn of SWS to have their exhibition match.

For some bizarre reason, former sumo star Koji Ishinriki entered the ring to The Beatle's Eleanor Rigby, while Yoshiaki Fujiwara beat Daniel Bryan to the punch by a good twenty years in opting for Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries.

Like the earlier Dibiase/Tornado bout, this was more about the story than anything else, with the plucky, inexperienced Ishinriki looking to get the upper hand against the grizzled old veteran, Fujiwara and getting increasingly more frustrated when he couldn't do so.

The two kept to a simple pattern here. They'd lock up, wrestle a bit, Ishinriki would get the better of Fujiwara, Fujiwara would no-sell the offense and hit a big move of his own. The crowd would go absolutely crazy for Fujiwara, and the whole thing would start again.

As things progressed, the Ishinriki's frustration became all the more evident as he switched from trying to out-wrestle his opponent to simple kicking and chopping the raging bejeezus out of him.

Alas, it didn't work. Fujiwara sold practically nothing and eventually locked his foe in a submission hold for the win.
Your Winner: Yoshiaki Fujiwara

It was a strong showing, though I understand why it might not have been everyone's cup of tea.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Legion of Doom (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal) vs. The Natural Disasters (Earthquake & Typhoon w/ Jimmy Hart)

SWS/WWF SuperWrestle 1991 - Legion of Doom faced The Natural Disasters
Playing off their existing popularity in Japan, Earthquake was billed as 'Earthquake John Tenta' while Hawk and Animal were introduced as 'Legion of Doom, The Road Warriors' and entered the ring to their iconic Black Sabbath Iron Man theme music.

The match was everything you'd expect a Legion of doom/Natural Disaster match to be.

It was far from terrible, but apart from one small spot where everybody went outside and began blasting each other with chair shots (again, with no repercussions from referee Earl Hebner), nothing much happened.

Still, at least everyone cooperated and actually worked.

After a passable tag team title match, the champions hit Typhoon with the Doomsday Device to retain their gold.
Your Winners and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: The Legion of Doom

More trophies were handed out to the Road Warriors after the match.

Seriously, I don't know much about Japanese pro wrestling, so if somebody reading this does, and could enlighten me as to the significance of the trophies, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Genichiro Tenryu vs. Hulk Hogan

SWS/WWF SuperWrestle 1991 - Hulk Hogan wrestled Genichiro Tenryu in the main event
If your only experience of The Immortal Hulk Hogan is from his time at the top of the WWF and WCW, then you might be surprised to see him bust out a few actual wrestling holds rather than just relying on the whole kick-punch routine.

In fact, though this might not have been the best match on this particular card, it was probably one of the best Hulk Hogan matches you're ever going to see in terms of actual, honest-to-goodness wrestling.

He and Genichiro Tenryu started off trading holds and submissions before eventually getting p'd off with one another and resorting to chops and punches.

From there, it was more of the kind of Hogan match most of us are probably used to, albeit without all the Hulking Up and usual shenanigans.

A good main event to end a good show, this one came to the end after Hogan busted out his trademark Ax Bomber (his go-to finisher in Japan) and won the match.
Your Winner: Hulk Hogan

Post-match, Hogan helped Tenryu to his feet and the two embraced before Hogan did his usual crowd-pleasing routine to end the show.






Though it lagged a bit in the middle, SWS/WWF SuperWrestle '91 was mostly a really good show.

That Ultimo Dragon/Jerry Estrada match served as the standout match of the show evening but had some stiff competition from the Light Heavyweight title match.

Though not every match could reach those lofty standards (looking at you, tag team title match), there was nary a dud insight here and, on the whole, this made for a very enjoyable two hours.

If you want to see Ultimo Dragon early in his career, or need an example of what Hulk Hogan was capable of when he actually bothered to wrestle, go hunt down this show.


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Thursday, 5 December 2019

PPV REVIEW: WWF No Way Out 2000

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2000 - Event poster
February 27, 2000,
Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, Connecticut.

The first time the World Wrestling Federation held No Way Out back in 1998, the company had tacked on the words "Out of Texas" to stop people thinking of the initials NWO and thus their biggest competition, World Championship Wrestling.

Two years down the line, having pulled themselves back from the brink of non-existence thanks to their game-changing Attitude Era, the WWF were so far ahead of their competition that they no longer needed to bother worrying about such things.

Instead, they came to us live from their own back yard in Hartford, Connecticut as the Road to Wrestlemania 2000 brought us to No Way Out 2000.

Here's what went down.





Cactus Jack has one goal left

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2000 - Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler called all the action
Our show tonight began with an engrossing video package in which Cactus Jack told us that after winning countless championships and being involved in countless wars, there was only one thing he hadn't done in his career:

Main event Wrestlemania.

Now, there was only one thing standing in his way:

World Wrestling Federation Champion, Triple H.

If Foley could beat Hunter inside Hell in a Cell tonight, he would become our new champion and go on to defend the title at 'Mania.

Shortly after, as we cut to the arena, announcers Jerry 'The King' Lawler and Jim Ross told us that if Cactus Jack lost, however, his career would be over.

On that ominous note, it was on to our opening contest

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho (W/ Chyna) vs. WWF European Champion Kurt Angle

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2000 - Kurt Angle battled Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship
I've said that Chyna was "with" Chris Jericho here, but Jericho didn' even acknowledge her once. This despite the fact that Ross and Lawler told us the two were now friends.

Once bitter rivals, they'd apparently developed a mutual respect for each other after Y2J beat The Ninth Wonder of the World for the Intercontinental Championship at Royal Rumble 2000. Chyna was still super popular, however, so she got a separate entrance to come down and watch this match from ringside.

Speaking of super popular, now-babyface Chris Jericho was incredibly over with the Hartford crowd and received the kind of ovation usually reserved for the likes of Stone Cold and The Rock.

Prior to the bell, he took to the mic to lambast his challenger, Kurt Angle, though not before Angle went into heat-seeking mode by cutting a promo on the local sports team.

Once the two locked up, it developed into the best match Angle and Jericho could have had at this stage in their respective careers.

That's not to say it was the best match they'd ever be capable of having, but Angle was still only a few months into his WWF run after debuting at the 1999 Survivor Series and was still finding his feet. Jericho, meanwhile, had gotten off to a rocky start in the company but was gradually adjusting to the WWF style.

Put together though, the two did delivery an entertaining opening contest with plenty of exciting back-and-forth action.

Towards the finish, Kurt Angle began growing frustrated that he couldn't put Jericho away and first tried to blast him with the European title.

When that failed, he went to the outside to try again with the Intercontinental Championship, only to be confronted by Chyna.

This gave Jericho the opportunity to attack Angle from behind, though this inadvertently knocked The Olympic Gold Medalist into Chyna, who took a nasty spill into the ring steps.

Jericho didn't seem to give two sh*ts about his so-called friend. He completely ignored her and took the fight back to the ring, where he attempted to bring things to an end with a Lionsault. As he came into landing, however, Angle blasted him in the face with the European Championship, a move unnoticed by referee Tim White who had been tending to Chyna on the outside the whole time.

Angle made the cover, White returned to the ring and this one was over.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion: Kurt Angle

Post-match, our new Eurocontinental Champion celebrated with his new goal as senior official Earl Hebner came down to try and talk sense into Tim White about the finish. White though was having none of it, and simply stormed off, exasperated.

Thou shalt not mess with The Dudley Boyz

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2000 - Michael Cole interviewed The Dudley Boys
Out in the back, Michael Cole reminded The Dudley Boyz that they had been given a tag team title shot against the New Age Outlaws.

D-Von Dudley refuted this, claiming that they hadn't been given anything, but rather had taken what they deserved, just as they would take the titles in our next match.

For his part, Bubba Ray promised that he and D-Von had two words for the champions...3D.

Technically that's one number and a letter, but ah well.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn) vs. The Dudley Boyz (D-Von & Bubba-Ray Dudley)

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2000 - The New Age Outlaws defended the WWF Tag Team title against The Dudley Boys
Unlike some New Age Outlaws matches which dragged on forever so that Road Dogg could play face-in-peril for half a century, this one was kept short and sweet and was all the better for it.

The D-O-Double-G still received his regular ass kicking, and the crowd still popped big time when he made the inevitable hot tag to Billy Gunn but the whole thing didn't last long at all.

Instead, after a couple of minutes of relatively entertaining action, Bubba Ray took out Billy Gunn on the outside with a lead pipe then returned to the ring to help D-Von hit a 3D on Road Dogg.

A three count later, this one was over.
Your Winners and NEW WWF Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz

Out in the back, Kurt Angle celebrated his victory with fans over at the concession stand, giving JR an excuse to once again remind us that The Olympic Gold Medalist had only won by blasting his opponent in the face with a title belt.

Ross and Lawler also reminded us that Viscera had recently hit a big splash on a 'pregnant' Mae Young, prompting Young's lover, Sexual Chocolate Mark Henry to attack Big Vis earlier on Heat.

Yes, that meant we'd have to sit through a Henry/Viscera match next.

Sexual Chocolate Mark Henry vs. Viscera

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2000 - Viscera faced Mark Henry
Fortunately, this one was kept even shorter than the previous match.

Viscera basically threw Mark Henry around like a rag doll -no easy feat in itself- and took him to the outside where he sent him crashing violently into the upturned ring steps twice.

Just when he was about to finish off The World's Strongest Man once and for all, however, Mae Young ran down.

Unsurprisingly, the old lady could do little except get pushed to the ground by the evil Viscera, but at least the distraction gave Henry time to recover.

He met Vis' with a shoulder tackle and a big bodyslam then got the fall.

The match wasn't quite as terrible as you think it might have been, though that's about the best I can say about it.
Your Winner: Mark Henry

Out in the back, Chris Jericho told Lilian Garcia that there was no tension between himself and Chyna since Chyna had nothing to do with the finish of his match. He did, however, still have a problem with 'Kirk Angel' and warned the new champion that if he didn't stop running around the arena celebrating he (Jericho) would make him stop.

Elsewhere in the arena, Billy Gunn sold the lead pipe to the shoulder attack from earlier by wincing in pain and telling EMTs that he couldn't lift his arm.

The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy w/ Terri) vs. Edge & Christian

Winner earns a tag team title shot at Wrestlemania

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2000 - Terri turned on The Hardy BoysBefore the match, the newly-rechristened Acolyte Protection Agency came down after being paid by Hardy Boyz manager Terri to protect her in case the Dudley Boyz tried to put her through another table.

The match then got underway and, while it wasn't the highlight of the Edge & Christian/Hardyz rivalry, it was still pretty good in its own right.

The longest match on the card so far, this one built up to a dramatic finale that looked to have Matt & Jeff go over. At the last minute, however, that dastardly little she-devil Terri pushed Jeff off the top rope and gave Matt a slap.

Seizing the advantage, Edge hit the Downward Spiral on Matt Hardy to win the match for his team.
Your Winners: Edge & Christian

Afterwards, Edge and Christian seemed more bewildered than pleased about Teri's betrayal of the Hardyz while Matt and Jeff themselves were, understandably, pretty pissed off.

The two went to confront their new former manager, only for Farooq & Bradshaw to earn their payday and kick some Hardy butt.

As it would turn out, Terri wasn't hiring protection against The Dudleyz at all, but against The Hardyz. That no-good sexy she-devil.

Out in the back, Christian told Michael Cole that while he knew he and Edge were going to win the match, he didn't expect to win it like that. Edge, meanwhile, didn't seem too concerned. He was just happy that he and Christian were heading to Wrestlemania to compete for the tag team titles.

The Big Show has a point

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2000 - Lillian Garcia interviewed The Big Show
Back at The Royal Rumble, The Rock had technically won the Rumble match by hanging on to the ropes when The Big Show tried to eliminate him, sending Show to the floor. However, a replay would show, quite clearly, that Rock's feet actually touched the floor first.

Big Show had rightly been claiming that this meant he was the real winner of the Rumble and thus should be challenging for the WWF title at 'Mania. Here, he once again proved his point to Lilian Garcia before vowing to beat The Rock one-on-one tonight and take what was rightfully his.

The Big Boss Man (w/ Prince Albert) vs. Tazz

After getting attacked by Big Boss Man and Prince Albert earlier on heat, Tazz stormed to the ring and tried to destroy Boss Man, but after about a minute, Albert ran in for the DQ.
This was barely even a match.
Your Winner via disqualification: Tazz

Post-match, Boss Man and Albert beat up on Tazz, but the Human Suplex Machine kept coming back for more until a gaggle of officials came in to break it up.

The post-match beat down lasted about three times longer than the match itself.

Meanwhile, out in the crowd, Kurt Angle had found a megaphone and was preaching to the crowd about how great he was.

No Holds Barred
X-Pac (w/ Torri) vs. Kane (w/ Paul Bearer)

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2000 - X-Pac and Torri
A lot had changed since these two last met in a cage match back at Armageddon 1999. Torri had turned her back on Kane and was now X-Pac's girlfriend. Kane had gone mental and been institutionalised but Paul Bearer had busted him out and was now back by his son's side.

Tonight, Kane and X-Pac looked to settle their rivalry once and for all in a tremendously fun effort which proved to be the best thing on the show so far.

Featuring a hilarious bit in which Paul Bearer beat up X-Pac then chased Torri around the ring, the real highlights were simply the two combatants laying waste to each other however they could.

After a relatively short but hugely entertaining contest, Kane drilled Torri with a tombstone, got waffled in the face with the ring steps by X-Pac. 'Pac then kept the steps on Kane's chest as he covered him for the three count.
Your Winner: X-Pac

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2000 - Michael Cole interviews The Radicalz
Out in the back, recent WWF arrivals The Radicalz told Michael Cole that they weren't nervous about making their WWF PPV debut and that they would defeat their upcoming opponents, Too Cool and Rikishi.

Sporting a sling for his recent injury, Eddie Guerrero revealed a small lead pipe that he planned to use later.

Rikishi & Too Cool (Scotty 2 Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay) vs. The Radicalz (Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn w/ Eddie Guerrero)

Just a few weeks earlier, Chris Benoit had won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at WCW Souled Out 2000. At that same PPV, Dean Malenko had botched the ending of his final WCW PPV and Perry Saturn had enjoyed an entertaining match with Billy Kidman.

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2000 - The Radicalz Head into Battle
Now, all three former members of Shane Douglas' Revolution stable were here with Eddie Guerrero on their first WWF PPV.

At first, it looked like Rikishi and Too Cool were just there to be warm bodies for the three ex-WCW stars to throw around in order to look impressive.

That's mainly because they did look very, very impressive. Yet this soon developed into much more than a one-sided squash match.

Instead, it was a fun back-and-forth battle that saw two different styles of wrestling combine to keep the crowd hot and this writer thoroughly entertained.

After twelve minutes of enjoyable action, Rikishi hit Dean Malenko with a Banzai Drop to ensure that The Radicalz lost their first PPV match.

Not that it seemed to matter. The group clearly shined here.
Your Winners: Rikishi & Too Cool

Post-match, an injured Rikishi tried to leave the ring, but Brian Christopher made the big guy put on the special sunglasses that always made him dance.

Miraculously, 'Kishi's injured leg healed up enough so that he could shake his big fat booty with Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty.

Meanwhile, out in the arena lobby, Eurocontinental Champion Kirk Angel was still celebrating his big victory with the fans.

Prior to the next contest, we got a video package recounting The Big Show's campaign to prove that he was the rightful winner of Royal Rumble 2000.

Winner Earns a Wrestlemania Title Shot
The Big Show vs. The Rock

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2000 - The Big Show faced The Rock
This was about as close as you were ever going to get to a boring match involving The Rock.

For the most part, this was a basic Attitude Era brawl that was saved from being completely dull by the sheer popularity of The Great One. Fortunately, the match was pulled from the brink of mediocrity by a tremendously exciting finish.

After Earl Hebner got bumped, Big Show planted Rock with a clothesline that would have had The People's Champion down for the three count had there been an official there to count it.

Realising what was at stake, Tim White rushed down to do the honours but was pulled out of the ring by Earl Hebner.

On the outside, Hebner and White resumed their argument from earlier and actually came to blows as a returning Shane McMahon raced to ringside to a tremendous ovation from the live crowd.

The crowd quickly turned on McMahon, however, when he took a steel chair and blasted Rock in the face with it.

A three count later and The Big Show had reclaimed what was rightfully his in the first place.
Your Winner: The Big Show

Out in the back, Kurt Angle was seen walking to his car, humming Queen's We Are The Champions and still wearing his wrestling gear.

Before he could stop and think 'I probably should get dressed,' he was attacked by Chris Jericho and Chyna, who shoved him into the trunk of his car.

Finally, we got a video package for Cactus Jack vs. Triple H, and then it was onto the main event.

Hell in a Cell Match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Triple H (w/ Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley) vs. Cactus Jack

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2000 - Mick Foley faced Triple H inside Hell in a Cell
If Cactus Jack loses, his career is over

Mick Foley's Hell in a Cell match with The Undertaker at King of the Ring 1998 may have been his career-defining moment, but this was arguably a much better match.

Building up from a basic brawl into an all-out war, both champ and challenger beat one another to a bloody pulp in a brutal, violent, and utterly captivating contest.

Inevitably, the two men ended up on the outside of the ring, where Cactus first tried to climb up the cage, only to be knocked down and sent crashing through an announce table.

Never one to stay down for long, he finally made it to the top of the cage where he set a barbed-wire-covered 2x4 on fire and smashed his opponent in the face with it.

Yet when he tried to piledrive The Game onto the evil weapon, the champion reversed it with a back body drop that sent Cactus up into the air, crashing through the cage and landing in the ring with such force that it broke the ring too.

It was a truly awesome, heart-stopping spot, but even that wasn't enough to put away the challenger.

With a never say die attitude, Cactus Jack climbed valiantly to his feet but succumbed to a pedigree and lost the match.
Your Winner and still WWF Champion: Triple H

Afterwards, a bloody and beaten Cactus Jack received a standing ovation as he refused medical treatment and walked slowly to the back as Jim Ross gave him an impassioned farewell.

It was an emotional moment and a fitting end to the career of Mick Foley.





Except, of course, that wasn't to be the end of Mick Foley's career. As we all know by now, he would be back in action just a few weeks later and would get his Wrestlemania payday moment after all.

Speaking of moments, No Way Out 2000 was full of memorable ones. From Angle becoming the Eurocontinental Champion to Terri's heel turn, The Radicalz looking awesome, Shane McMahon's return and that incredible main event, there was an awful lot to enjoy about this show.

So far, the World Wrestling Federation were having a great run of PPVs in the year 2000.



For other 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
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Thursday, 14 November 2019

PPV REVIEW: WWF Royal Rumble 2000

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - Event poster
January 23, 2000
Madison Square Garden, New York

It's interesting that while 1999 was among one of the financially successful in the World Wrestling Federation's history, it was also, from a creative standpoint, one of its absolute dirt worst.

We've just covered every WWF and WCW PPV from 1999 here on Retro Pro Wrestling and believe me when I tell you, there were times when shows from both companies were so bad that your reviewer seriously considered abandoning this blog altogether.

Still, here we are.

A new year had dawned in the World Wrestling Federation, and as the company marched headlong into a brand new millennium, there came a new sense of hope that things could get better.

With that in mind, let's head to Madison Square Garden for the Royal Rumble 2000 to see whether they actually did or not.





No remorse

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler called the action
Our show tonight began with a fantastic promo video for the upcoming Cactus Jack vs. Triple H street fight. Splicing together footage of the two at their most violent and sadistic (including shots of Cactus competing in the IWA King of Death Match 1995 tournament) with a captivating voiceover in which both men talked about how good they were and how much they were going to destroy the other, this was a great way to get you hyped up for the show.

From there, we panned the New York City faithful as Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler welcomed us to the show. The iconic Attitude Era duo talked up not only tonight's main event but also the Rumble match itself before sending us down to our opening contest.

Kurt Angle vs. Tazz

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - Tazz debuted against Kurt Angle
Heading to the ring first, Kurt Angle took to the microphone and proved why everybody says he was such a natural at pro wrestling by cutting a very entertaining heel promo that really got the crowd fired up.

Angle then made out like the man he'd be facing tonight was supposed to be a surprise by addressing his "unnamed opponent." However, at that moment, the crowd immediately began chanting "We want Tazz!"

Eventually, the former ECW star himself appeared and went to war with Angle in a short, explosive opening bout.

Trading suplexes galore, the two ensured that the WWF's first PPV of the new millennium got underway in terrific fashion with a hugely enjoyable performance that saw Angle pass out to the Tazzmission, suffering his first WWF loss.
Your Winner: Tazz

His job done, the victor simply marched off backstage as Angle sold the devastating effects of the Tazmission by being stretchered off and given an oxygen mask.

It was a brilliant way to get the newcomer over which makes it all the more of a shame that they never really did much with him.

The Hardys are Ready for Action

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - Michael Cole interviewed The Hardy Boyz w/ Terri
Out in the back, Michael Cole interviewed Terri Runnels and The Hardy Boyz about Matt & Jeff's upcoming tables match with The Dudley Boyz.

Terri was just telling Cole how they were going to go out and kick ass when Jeff interrupted, letting her know that it was too dangerous for her to be out there.

For his part, Matt told Cole that even though The Dudleys were 'the masters of putting people through tables' (as if it were a specialist skill), he and Jeff were going to win the match or die trying.

Bless 'em, the Hardys really didn't have much charisma here. This whole promo was seriously cringe-worthy, but at least the two would get better over the next two decades.

Tables Match
The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy)

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - Jeff Hardy prepares to dive at Madison Square Garden
Having dropped the whole stuttering gimmick, Bubba Ray Dudley joined his brother D-Von Dudley in getting some early heel heat by talking smack about some New York baseball star.

Being British and having no interest in sports outside of pro wrestling, your writer never has any idea what's going on when wrestlers use the local sports team for heat. What I do know, however, is that this the exact same tactic that Kurt Angle used in the first match, making The Dudleyz' tactic a little repetitive.

The match itself, however, was highly original, at least for the time.

Both teams traded some pretty innovative offence, building the match into a captivating stunt-fest in which you had to put both of your opponents through the wood in order to win.

Bubba Ray and Matt Hardy were both planted through tables, after which the match developed to a jaw-dropping finish in which Jeff Hardy hit a Swanton bomb off the balcony crashing through two tables with D-Von sandwiched in between them.

That, my friends, was a really good match.
Your Winners: The Hardy Boyz

Out in the back, a groggy and confused Kurt Angle was seen getting checked over by EMTs. As out of it as he might have been, Angle still had the wherewithal to claim that he was still technically undefeated since Tazz had choked him out.

Miss Rumble 2000 Contest
WWF Women's Champion The Kat vs. Ivory vs. Terri Runnels vs. Jacqueline vs. Barbara Bush vs. Luna Vachon vs. Mae Young

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - The King is stunned at Mae Young wanting to get naked
With Jerry Lawler on compere duties, a group of sexy young women in their twenties and thirties sauntered to ringside to judged by a panel of old men (and one old woman) which included legends Sgt. Slaughter, Tony Garea, The Fabulous Moolah, Johnny V and Classy Freddie Blassie, the latter of whom received a huge ovation from the New York crowd. Joining them on the panel was Conan O'Brien co-host Andy Richter, who was also somehow qualified for the gig.

One by one, the ladies took turns to reveal their bathing suits, with prudish heel Ivory reluctant to do so but still looking remarkably hot anyway.

Terri and Jacqueline also looked particularly stunning, while Barbara Bush was naturally a thing of beauty too. The Kat, however, wore a bathing suit made out of bubble wrap which was supposed to be sexy but which actually made her look like she was wearing a diaper and was all kinds of odd.

Luna Vachon refused to participate at all, which was just as well as they needed the extra time for Mae Young. Young arrived on the scene as a last-minute surprise and claimed that everybody wanted to see her puppies, much to the shock and horror of just about everyone.

She then began to strip to her bathing suit and strut around the place, which was pretty funny until she literally exposed her bare breasts to Madison Square Garden at which point, the joke had clearly been pushed too far. With the producers doing their best to censor the saggy boobs, Mark Henry came in to protect her modesty.

Finally, Young was declared the winner, bringing to an end a segment that started off sexy, got funny, and ended with more cringe than that earlier Hardy Boyz promo.
Your Winner: Mae Young

Cutting across to the company's new 'entertainment complex' WWF New York, newcomer The Coach made his WWF PPV debut getting mobbed by a bunch of rabid fans while saying nothing of note other than letting us know that WWF New York existed.

Chris Jericho is not a Gentleman

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - Co-intercontinental Champions Chris Jericho & Chyna
Meanwhile, back in the arena, co-Intercontinental Champions Chris Jericho and Chyna were seen arguing over which one of them got to wear the belt to the ring for their upcoming match.

Chyna, whose theme song literally started with the words "don't treat me like a woman," claimed that Jericho should be chivalrous and let her wear it.

"Chivalrous?" exclaimed Jericho. "What do you think this is, the middle ages?"

Before the argument could get any more heated, Dave Hebner came and snatched the title from them, claiming he'd be the one to take it to ringside.

Amusingly, Jericho first referred Dave as Earl before correcting himself.

Triple Threat match for the World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
Co-WWF Intercontinental Champion Chyna vs. Co-WWF Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho vs. Hardcore Holly

Though you might question why Hardcore Holly needed to be involved in this one, it was nonetheless a solid mid-card triple threat match that entertained from bell-to-bell.

Prior to the match, Chris Jericho took to the microphone to promise that the celebration after he won would be the biggest thing ever. He then proceeded to deliver a perfectly acceptable performance against Chyna and Holly before making good on his word and picking up the three thanks to an Asai Moonsault.
Your Winner and New Undisputed Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho

I say 'true to his word,' his post-match celebration was really nothing special.

Finally...The Rock has come back to New York City

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - Michael Cole interviews The Rock
Out in the back, Michael Cole asked The Rock if there were any superstars he was worried about facing in tonight's Royal Rumble match.

Hilariously, The Great One told us that he had his concerns about Crash Holly and Headbanger Mosh, but that if he could get past them, he might have a chance of winning.

Cole, of course, was thinking that The Rock might have a bigger problem with The Big Show, to which Rocky responded by sending Cole away to fix himself a glass of Shut Up Juice then laying the verbal smackdown on Paul Wight.

Finally, The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment wrapped up this awesome promo by guaran-damn-teeing that he would win tonight's Royal Rumble and go on to become our new WWF Champion at Wrestlemania 16.

Though it should go without saying, this was amazing stuff from The People's Champion.

We got two words for ya...

Prior to our final undercard match of the evening, we were reminded that The Acolytes had earned a tag team title shot tonight by winning a battle royal back at Armageddon 1999.

Farooq and Bradshaw had then spent the rest of the past few weeks feuding with Road Dogg and Billy Gunn, with both teams beating the heck out of each other on multiple occasions, and if you weren't down with that, Farooq had two words for ya...

...Ass Kicking.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn) vs. The Acolytes (Farooq & Bradshaw)

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - The New Age Outlaws faced The Acolytes for the Tag Team TitlesThis was the worst match on the card, but that's not to say that it was actually bad.

It was a short and sweet affair in which The Acolytes used their brute power to just absolutely demolish the New Age Outlaws.

A minute or two in, Farooq looked to get the win on Road Dogg, only for Billy Gunn to yank the referee out of the ring, only for Bradshaw to charge at him, knocking both Gunn and the referee flying.

That presented an opportunity for X-Pac to run in, and in the resulting confusion, Billy was able to hit Bradshaw with a Fame Asser for the fall.
Your Winners and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws

Up next, we got another look back at the intense rivalry between Triple H and Cactus Jack.

Street Fight for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Triple H (w/ Stephanie McMahon) vs. Cactus Jack

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 -  Cactus Jack and Triple H went to war
We'd seen Hunter and Mick Foley have enjoyable matches before, such as their brawl at Canadian Stampede: In Your House 16, their cage match at Summerslam 1997 and, to a lesser extent, their opening bout at One Night Only 1997 in England.

Yet none of those matches could hold a candle to the sheer brutality of this no-holds-barred street fight.

Though it may not be quite as memorable as Foley's show-stealing performance against The Rock at Royal Rumble 1999, this was still nonetheless a fantastic title match that got better and better the longer it went.

Despite a slow start, both champ and challenger worked hard to turn this into a violent, bloody massacre of a match. They used fists, they used steel chairs, they used 2x4s wrapped in barbed wire and they absolutely destroyed not only each other but everything in their path.

Google usually gives me grief for posting shots of wrestlers sporting the crimson mask, so here's a link to the shot of a bloody and broken Triple H.

Yet The Game wasn't the only one to take a beating. In a callback to the aforementioned Mankind/Rock I Quit match, Cactus Jack had his hands handcuffed behind his back and had the crap kicked out of him all the way to the entrance way.

Undeterred, Jack begged for more, but before Hunter could strike, The Rock arrived and smashed his old nemesis with a steel chair, after which a New York City cop unhandcuffed the challenger.

The two then brawled back to the ring where Foley took a vicious back body drop and a pedigree onto some thumbtacks to end the match.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Triple H


All told, including entrances, that whole match lasted over half an hour and you know what? I enjoyed every minute of it.

Afterwards, a battered and bloody champion was stretchered off while the defeated Cactus, being the Hardcore Legend that he was, simply got up and dragged Triple H back for another ass whooping.

To be honest, one of the best parts of the post-match antics was seeing JR & King at their announce table, which had been destroyed and was covered in the spilt blood of Triple H.

Talk about a warzone.

A Word with the CEO

Prior to our main event, we went back to WWF New York where Jonathan Coachman tried to interview a sour-faced Linda McMahon about her daughter Stephanie's nefarious heel turn.

Linda refused to comment on Steph's actions but promised that things would be handled 'The McMahon Way' from there on in.

2000 Royal Rumble Match
Featuring: The Rock, Big Show, D'Lo Brown, Grandmaster Sexay, Scotty 2 Hotty, Edge, Christian, Val Venis, Big Boss Man, Chris Jericho, Chyna, X-Pac, Kane, The Godfather, Rikishi, Bob Backlund and more

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 -  The Rock won the Rumble match
And so the Royal Rumble match got underway with a somewhat uninspired effort between entrants 1 & 2, D'Lo Brown and Grandmaster Sexay. Entrant number three was The Rock's worse nightmare, Headbanger Mosh, who sported some rather interested fur cones on his chest. That was the most interesting thing that happened for a few minutes until Rikishi came in at the number five spot (Christian was number four).

The big man cleaned house, eliminating everyone in the ring and even taking out his Too Cool buddies Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty Too Hotty, though not without the obligatory dance break.

'Kishi stayed on a roll, further eliminating Steve Blackman and Viscera before Big Boss Man and Test arrived, at which point the match settled into a fairly basic yet still pretty entertaining Rumble.

Other highlights included:

  • Bob Backlund appearing as a surprise entrant
  • Mean Street Posse running into attack Farooq and later Bradshaw for seemingly no reason
  • Kai En Tai hilariously making multiple run-ins, only to be immediately thrown over the top. At one point, Taka Michinoku got injured, so Funaki continued to do run-ins on his own for the rest of the match, it was pretty funny.

In the end, it all came down to X-Pac, Kane, Big Show and The Rock. X-Pac got eliminated but the referee didn't see it, so he was able to come back and hang out for a while before taking Kane out of the mix. Naturally, 'Pac was the next man to go, leaving the predictable showdown between Rock and Big Show.

After an enjoyable bit of back-and-forth, both men toppled over the top, but Rock was able to hold on while Big Show crashed to the outside.

Not the best Rumble match in history then, but still decent enough.
Your Winner: The Rock

Afterwards, The Rock took to the microphone to declare that he was on his way to Wrestlemania, only for The Big Show to return and beat him up. The two had an intense staredown and trash-talked each other as Royal Rumble 2000 went off the air.





While the actual Rumble match may not have been the greatest in history, it's fair to say that this was the most fun I've had writing a Retro Pro Wrestling review for a long time.

After the long, hard slog of crash-course TV and sub-par matches that was 1999, Royal Rumble 2000 made for a refreshing change.

There really wasn't a bad match on the card and, overall, this one was a lot of fun from start to finish.

One I do recommend checking out.




For more Royal Rumble reviews see:

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.