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, 12 November 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Insurrextion 2001

May 5, 2001 
Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England.

When WWE first started promoting their controversial shows in Saudi Arabia, many fans dismissed events like The Greatest Royal Rumble as being 'glorified house shows' as if that in itself was an absolutely terrible thing.

This wasn't the first time in history that the company's overseas events had been written off by American audiences. When the company promoted their UK-exclusive PPVs from the late-90s to the early 2000s, fans back then dismissed those as "basically house shows" as well.

What's interesting is that this was (and still is) meant as a criticism, as if being a 'glorified house show' is a bad thing and that pro wrestling shouldn't exist unless something majorly important happened.

What events like Insurrextion 2001 proved, is that sure, they may technically be glorified house shows, but that in itself doesn't mean that they were bad or not worth watching.







Sure, nothing majorly important ever happened at these events, and sure, it was always obvious that the wrestlers themselves were only performing at 75% of what they were capable of, but to write them off is to overlook the very point of pro wrestling in the first place - to entertain.

These events provided entertainment for the sake of entertainment and for this writer, that's a good enough reason to head back to Earls Court, London in the spring of 2001.

You with me? Let's do this.

Sometimes Change is Good

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Linda McMahon confronts Vince in William Regal's office
We began tonight’s show not with the usual pyro but with a shot of WWF Commissioner William Regal talking to Kurt Angle on the phone in a low budget backstage office.

Regal was busy informing Angle that his match tonight had been changed when an angry Vince McMahon stormed in, demanding to know why Regal had changed almost every match on the card tonight.

Regal insisted that he hadn’t, but that Vince’s wife Linda McMahon had. That was Linda’s cue to stroll into the office and display some personality for the first time in her on-screen career as she insisted that everything but the main event had been changed to give the fans ‘the very best the WWF has to offer.

Sure, this was just a clever way of telling us that the card we’d been sold had been completely rewritten, but it was really entertaining all the same, especially when it ended with Vince recoiling in disgust at the news of the then-current foot-and-mouth disease, referred to by the chairman as ‘foot-in-mouth disease.’

We were then welcomed to the arena by our announcers Michael Cole and Paul Heyman as the Insurrextion theme, a knock off of Machinehead by Bush, played throughout the arena.

With that done, it was onto our opening contest.

Grandmaster Sexay vs. Eddie Guerrero

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Grandmaster Sexay faced Eddie Guerrero
As random and seemingly thrown together as this might have been, this was a very entertaining opening contest, even if it did only last seven minutes.

Though we all probably didn’t appreciate it at the time, Grandmaster Sexay was great in his role as an opening match act.

In his run with Scotty 2 Hotty throughout 2000/early 2001, every time Too Cool opened a show the results were always enjoyable.

Combine that with the fact that Eddie Guerrero couldn’t be less than excellent if he tried and what you got here was a fun way to get the crowd invested in tonight’s show.

After a short match, we got a confusing bit of kerfuffle at the finish that resulted in Latino Heat putting his legs on the ropes to secure a pinfall victory.
Your Winner: Eddie Guerrero

Backstage, Triple H wore his Motörhead t-shirt as he told Stephanie McMahon that he has absolutely nothing to worry about when it came to his match tonight, a two-vs-one handicap match putting himself and Stone Cold Steve Austin against The Undertaker.

The Radicalz (Perry Saturn & Dean Malenko) vs. The Hollys (Hardcore & Crash Holly w/ Molly Holly)


WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Terri and whatever the heck Perry Saturn was supposed to be
This was originally billed as a six-person match but then Terri took to the microphone to declare that she hadn’t been able to buy any wrestling gear in London and was thus dropping out.

What we were left with was a solid team match that did plenty to keep the fans -and this writer- perfectly happy.

Terri and Molly Holly got involved anyway toward the finish and, in the resulting chaos, a bizarre-looking Perry Saturn managed to hit Bob Holly with the moss-covered three-handled family gradunza.

Somewhere backstage, Y2J looked on approvingly.
Your Winners: The Radicalz

Up next, we were shown a highlight package from William Regal’s recent press tour of the UK, culminating in a sold-out autograph session where the Commissioner was hugely over with the crowd.

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - William Regal polishes The Queen's CupBack live in the arena, Regal spoke to an unknown person on the phone, telling them that there was no way his upcoming opponent Chris Jericho would get a better ovation than him because he -Regal- was the only sporting hero the UK had left.

Much as he had done back at Rebellion 2000, Regal once again insisted that he was more popular and successful than boxers Prince Nadeem and Lennox Lewis.

As he did so, Regal polished the Queen’s Cup that would be up for grabs in his match with Regal. I’m not convinced,  but I do believe the Queen’s Cup looked an awful lot like the Royal Samovar Trophy.

Test Failed

Speaking of Rebellion, Cole and Heyman shilled that for a bit before showing us a clip of Big Show destroying Test on Smackdown. That meant the advertised Test vs. Show match was off, but the big guy came and called out Test anyway.

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Welllllllllllllllllllllllllllll, well it's the Big Show!
After being called a ‘yellow-bellied coward’ for the 100th time, Test saved us all the bother of listening to Big Show repeating the same insult over and over again by hobbling down to ringside, holding the ribs that Show damaged on Smackdown.

Yes, we were supposed to believe that Test had been so badly injured in the United States that he could barely walk straight but had still flown all the way over to England anyway, all just to hang out backstage at a show he had no way of competing on.

Anyway, Show demolished Test a second time, called him a yellow-bellied coward fifty more times and finally issued an open challenge to anyone on the roster.

Bradshaw answered because yay fun.

Bradshaw vs. Big Show

There really wasn’t a lot to this. You can close your eyes, imagine what a Bradshaw vs. Big Show match would look like, and you’d be pretty much spot on.

After a few minutes of fairly uninspired brawling, Test made a miraculous comeback and kicked a chair into Big Show’s face. Show hit the Clothesline from Hell and that was pretty much that.
Your Winner: Bradshaw

Post-match, Show stood around looking angry.

How Stupid is The Undertaker?

Backstage, Stone Cold Steve Austin gave a fired-up interview to Jonathan Coachman.

After demanding that Coach tell him how stupid The Undertaker was, a p’d off Texas Rattlesnake vowed that he and Triple H would end The American Bad Ass’s Decade of Destruction here tonight.

Austin spotted some gnarly scars above his eye from his recent battles.

Four Team Elimination Match
The X-Factor (X-Pac & Justin Credible w/ X-Pac) vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley) vs. The Hardy Boyz (WWF European Champion Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy)

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - The Dudley Boyz
This was an excellent match and easily the best thing on the show so far.

Unsurprisingly, X-Pac and Justin Credible were the first to go, followed not long after by The Hardy Boyz.

While their contributions were fun, it was the remainder of the bout between Edge, Christian and The Dudleyz that really made This what it was.

After a really good quality performance from all concerned, Rhyno ran in and gored the living hell out of Bubba Ray to give his buddies Edge and Christian the fall.
Your Winners: Edge and Christian

Up next, we were taken to the previous evening’s charity event where  WWF merchandise was auctioned off to raise funds for the Make a Wish foundation.

The highlight of the evening appeared to be Stephanie McMahon slapping Michael Cole.

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - GMTV's Eamon Holmes was in the crowd
Back live in the arena, we entered some kind of bizarro-world where names British fans would never expect to see on WWF programming were shown in the audience.

Eamon Holmes, Chris Tarrant and Gianfranco Zola were all show gurning for the camera in what was a very surreal moment for this fan.

Angle Wants His Medals Back

Backstage, Kurt Angle took umbrage at Jonathan Coachman’s suggestion that he had ‘lost’ his gold medals, instead insisting that they had been stolen.

No matter, The Olympic Hero vowed to reclaim his gold by defeating Chris Benoit in their upcoming two-out-of-three-falls match.

Two-out-of-Three-Falls
Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Chris Benoit puts Kurt Angle in the crossface
The previous week, at Backlash 2001, Kurt Angle had Chris Benoit beat toward the finish of their Ultimate Submission iron man match. The Olympic Gold Medalist made his opponent tap but, since it was after the bell it didn’t count.

Benoit went on to not only win that match in sudden death extra time but also to steal Angle’s medals on Raw.

Before tonight’s two-out-of-three falls match, the Crippler revealed that he’d been keeping those medals ‘somewhere safe and warm.’

If you didn’t immediately realize that meant they were down his pants then you’re clearly far too innocent for your own good.

Alas, we wouldn’t get to see Chris Benoit pull gold from his crotch (another sentence I never thought I’d write), at least not yet anyway.

The match got started and though neither man gave it their all (no WWF star ever did on a UK show), it was still a damn good effort.

Let’s be honest:

Even Benoit vs. Angle at their worst was better than many people’s best. So yes, it was still a quality performance, albeit one that ended too quickly and left you hungry for more.

Breaking from the normal two-out-of-three-falls formula, The Rabid Wolverine beat his opponent by two straight falls.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit

Post-match, Benoit made his way up to the stage where he grabbed a microphone and revealed that, yes, he had indeed wrestled the entire match with gold medals in his pants. He then proceeded to put the medals -ball sweat and all- around his neck before sauntering backstage, laughing at an irate Kurt Angle.

Debra is Not an Errand-Girl

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Debra stands up to Stone Cold Steve Austin
Backstage, Stone Cold Steve Austin demanded water from his wife, Debora while he, HHH and Steph went over the plans for their match tonight.

After the McMahon-Helmsleys also asked from drinks, Debrah rightly told them where to go, insisting that they should be focusing on beating The Undertaker rather than sending her on errands.

This was followed by a look back at the recent rivalry been Chris Jericho and William Regal, including their Dutchess of Queensberry rules, match at Backlash.

Tonight, the two would have another such match, this time with the totally-not-made-up Queen’s Cup on the line.

Duchess of Queensberry Rules Match for the Queen’s Cup
William Regal vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - William Regal puts a hurting on Chris Jericho
Ignore the Duchess of Queensberry stuff here. Though it was billed as one, there was really no such match type and this was a basic straight singles match one of the shenanigans that made up their Backlash encounter.

If you ask this fan, avoiding such silliness only made this one even better.

Sure, there was a stretch in the middle when Regal kept his opponent grounded in multiple rest holds, but even they made sense in the context of the match and added to the sense of drama.

Besides, when the two got back to their feet, they really went for it, delivering a match which, dare I say it, surpassed even Benoit/Angle.

Despite dominating the bulk of the contest in front of his fellow countrymen, Regal eventually tapped to Chris Jericho’s Wall of Jericho, putting an end to a fine contest indeed.
Your Winner: Chris Jericho

Predictably, Regal picked up the Queen’s Cup after the bell and destroyed his rival with it.

Handicap Match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Two-Man Power Trip (WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin & WWF Intercontinental Champion Triple H w/ Stephanie McMahon) vs. The Undertaker

According to Lillian Garcia, ‘Taker had to pin Steve Austin to win the title.

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - The Undertaker faced Steve Austin and Triple H in a handicap match
This was important as he would actually win the match, planting HHH with a chokeslam after Vince McMahon ran in and accidentally blasted his son-in-law with a steel chair.

Before that, we got a fun, by-the-numbers main event.

We started with brawling in the ring and up and down the aisle before things settled down into a standard match with Austin and The Game actually bothering to tag in and out.

It was entertaining enough, but this was the kind of match these three seasoned main eventers could sleep-wall through, and that’s pretty much what they did.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

With blood dripping from his ear, The Undertaker chokeslammed everyone in his sight then rode off into the sunset...

...well, into the grey and gloomy skies of England, anyway.







Though the WWF’s UK-exclusive cards were never going to win any ‘show of the year’ awards, this one did at least entertain and was probably the best WWF show in British soil since Summerslam 1992.

Only the Big Show/Bradshaw match was outright poor, while the four-team tag match and the Angle/Benoit encounter are definitely worth checking out.

Everything else was enjoyable, though nothing you haven’t seen before.




Thursday, 29 October 2020

Movie Review: See No Evil (2006)

See No Evil (2006) movie poster | Glenn Jacobs (Kane)
If you were ever going to cast a pro wrestler in a movie about a psychopathic monster who towers over everybody he comes across, Glenn ‘Kane’ Jacobs would naturally be the perfect fit.

And if you were ever going to review that movie, Halloween would naturally be the perfect time to do it.

So, here we find ourselves, gorging on popcorn as we watch The Big Red Machine stomp about a dilapidated and abandoned hotel as Jacob Goodnight, a murderous monster of a man with mommy issues and a penchant for ripping people’s eyeballs out.

Like The Shining meets Friday the 13th, nothing about See No Evil is particularly original. It’s every horror movie you’ve ever seen in which a group of good-looking young people with attitudes go to a creepy place and get hacked off one by one by an unhinged maniac.

The only difference is that this unhinged maniac carries a chain and hook rather than a machete, oh and that the kids are all juvenile delinquents forced to go to the creepy place to clean it up and get time off their prison sentence rather than to hang out, get drunk, and have sexy times.




To be fair, they drink and have sexy times anyway, but that’s only because See No Evil seems so desperate to cram every horror movie cliche you’ve ever known into one 90-minute gorefest.

Still, having said all that, it’s worth pointing out that See No Evil isn’t an entirely terrible movie.

OK, so it’s certainly not a *good* movie, but it does have some redeemable qualities.

The kills are both creative and satisfyingly gruesome. Despite never having been particularly squeamish, even this long-time horror fan found himself wincing at some of the more innovative violence on display.

Speaking of display, that’s perhaps the movie’s best quality.
Visually, this is one great-looking piece of cinema with a fantastic aesthetic that really deserved to be utilised by a better script.

If only the creators had taken these features and used them to do something that was truly their own, they might have been onto a winner. Instead, they take a stunning horror aesthetic and a stunning brand of gore and underutilise it by using it to tell the same hackeyned murder-by-numbers horror film you’ve seen countless times before.

Honestly, it’s amazing that they came out with a sequel for this, but maybe we’ll save that one until next Halloween.






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Thursday, 22 October 2020

Movie Review: Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1998) Movie Review | Poster | Rowdy Roddy Piper
It's the end of the twentieth century and mankind has blown its wad...

If you only do one good thing for yourself today, watching the trailer to the 1988 sci-fi caper Hell Comes to Frogtown should definitely be it.

Directed by Donald G. Jackson and written by Jackson and written by Randall Frakes, this goofy b-movie may not be a cinematic masterpiece but the trailer, my goodness, the trailer may be the greatest thing of all time.

I mean seriously, it’s just about the most gloriously over-the-top slice of 1980s awesomeness that you’ve ever seen in your whole natural life.

Even if you lived through the 80s, nothing you’ll have experienced in that decade will have been as epic or as fun as the trailer for this movie.

Don't just take my word for it though. Just look at it:


What does any of this have to do with retro pro wrestling?

Simple:

It stars none other than pro wrestling legend, the late, great Rowdy Roddy Piper.

It's also nearly Halloween, which is the time of year when we usually post these kinds of offbeat reviews.

OK, so Hell Comes to Frogtown might be neither as good nor as memorable as Piper’s turn in cult classic They Live, but it’s certainly better than the hokey horror/unintentional comedy that was Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies.

In that film, Hot Rod had to team up with Shane Douglas to fight some zombies while Matt Hardy shagged his missus in the background.

In this one, it’s Piper that’s doing all the shagging, and saving humanity in the process.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is a film in which Roddy Piper must prevent human extinction by getting laid as often as possible.

He does this under the watchful eye of an armed guard and a doctor, both or whom just so happen to be smoking hot women who Piper also gets to shag.

So far, so bizarre, right? But there is a point to all this...sort of.

Hell Comes to Frogtown finds us in a post-apocalyptic world in which repopulating the species Is top priority for the remaining humans.




To help with this of badass, sexy nurse warrior type women track down Sam Hell (good name), who has apparently been wandering the barren wastelands and shagging everything in sight.

Chosen for his magnum dong and renowned sexual prowess, the warrior nurses simply want Hell (Piper) to impregnate a bunch of women. However, it then it turns out that the woman have been captured by a race of mutant amphibian people and taken to their base (the titular Frogtown) so that the mutants can breed them to become the new superior race.

Joined by a sexy armed guard (Cec Verrell) and about equally as sexy Doctor (Sandahl Bergman), Piper’s new mission is to rescue the kidnapped women, return them to safety, and promptly give them one.

Yes, it really is as dumb as sounds.

No, it really isn’t the greatest movie ever made.

At times it’s cheesy. At times it’s absolutely ludicrous. At times it’s just badly acted and poorly written.

But at other times it’s hilarious, goofy, and -if you’re into the sight of Sandahl Bergman in her undies- even kinda sexy.

Even if it was none of those things, Hell Comes to Frogtown gave us the greatest movie trailer of all time, and for that alone it's worth all the praise in the world.






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Thursday, 15 October 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Backlash 2001

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Event Poster
April 29, 2001,
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois

A month prior to Backlash 2001, the World Wrestling Federation had presented Wrestlemania X-Seven, an event that would go down in history as arguably the greatest Wrestlemania event of all time. 

That incredible show was the peak of a tremendous run of great shows for the company, with the quality of their in-ring product as good as it had ever been.

Still, a lot had changed in the few weeks since 'Mania.

Once sworn rivals hell-bent on homicide, Steve Austin and Triple H were now on the same page, a whole host of ECW stars were integrating themselves into the roster, and the creative clusterf**k that was The Invasion was drawing ever closer.

With all that going on, could the WWF keep up their hot streak and deliver a show every bit as awesome as Wrestlemania 17?

Let's head down to the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois to find out.







No Power. No Gold. Know Power. No Gold

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Paul Heyman and Jim Ross called the event
Once upon a time, Triple H had arranged for Stone Cold Steve Austin to be run over by a car at Survivor Series 1999.

A year later, Austin got his revenge by carrying out the attempted murder of The Game at Survivor Series 2000.

Now, the two were a tag team because that’s how pro wrestling logic works.

Tonight, as our compelling opening video told us, the two would take on The Undertaker and Kane.

This was a pretty good video that played up the Two Man Power Trip aspect of the whole story while glossing over the whole part about Austin and HHH literally trying to kill each other prior to teaming up.

Then, after the obligatory pyro, crowd shots and a greeting from announcers Jim Ross and Paul Heyman, it was on with the show.

The Dudley Boyz (D-Von Dudley, Bubba Ray Dudley, and Spike Dudley) vs. The X-Factor (X-Pac, Albert and Justin Credible)

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - The Dudleyz faced The X-Factor
Throughout tonight’s opening contest, JR constantly tried to get ‘the wizards of the wicked wood,’ over as a new nickname for The Dudleyz. It sounded ridiculous and it’s no surprise that name didn’t stick.

When he wasn’t coming up with goofy names, Ross joined Heyman in calling what was a pretty decent match.

Were this any other bunch of wrestlers, this may not have gone down so well, but The Dudley Boyz were so insanely over that everything they did elicited a huge response from the live audience.

Combine that with the fact that all six men turned up motivated and ready for action and what you had here was a solid opener that came to a close with a win for The X-Factor.
Your Winners: The X-Factor

Post-match, The Dudleyz got their revenge by putting X-Pac through a table.

Speaking of which, here’s something that I’ve noticed on the last several PPVs:

Every time Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley did the whole ‘D-Von! Get the tables!!’ bit, the tables were never actually got. The other team always stopped them from either setting up the table or putting somebody through it. As such, the table either never came into play at all or else did so only in the post-match shenanigans.

Speaking of shenanigans:

Meanwhile, Backstage...

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - William Regal greets The Duchess of Queensbury backstage
‘The Duchess of Queensbury’ (a woman in a pompadour) arrived in a limousine with two close protection officers. William Regal was delighted to see her.

Across the arena, Kurt Angle told Lillian Garcia that he owned Chris Benoit and would take him out in their upcoming Ultimate Submission match.

Back in the arena, the announcers told us that Jerry Lynn had defeated Crash Holly for the Light Heavyweight Championship earlier on Heat.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion Rhyno vs. Raven

Taking the WWF Hardcore division to another level, Rhyno and Raven gave us an awesome brawl that was way better than expected.

In one sense, this was every hardcore match you’ve seen from this time period; the two littered the ring with garbage weapons and proceeded to beat the crap out each other with them.

Yet they did so with such an intensity and with such stiffness that it made the whole thing an exciting match to watch.

After the better part of ten minutes, Rhyno murdered babyface Raven with a gore to retain his belt.
Your Winner and Still Hardcore Champion: Rhyno

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Michael Cole tries to interview Shane 'The Pain' McMahon
Up next, we were taken back to Smackdown where Shane McMahon read an awesome fairytale called ‘Shane & The Beanstalk’ about his rivalry with his dad and, more specifically, his Dad’s hired goon, The Big Show.

Live in the arena, Michael Cole tried to get an interview with Shane but Stephanie McMahon interrupted and tried to get Shane to call off his Last Man Standing match with Show.

Naturally, Shane O’ Mac refused.

More Backstage Buffoonery

Kevin Kelly had better luck than Michael Cole in getting an interview. He interrupted WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin who was strong-arming Debra as they made their way into the arena.

Given the accusations of Austin’s real-life domestic abuse against Debra, that looked pretty uncomfortable.

Anyway, The Texas Rattlesnake told Kelly that there was no way he was losing the WWF title tonight as long as HHH did his part.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Coachman tried to ask the Duchess of Queensberry what the rules were to the match named after her.

Before she could answer, however, William Regal interrupted, thus keeping up the long-standing joke in wrestling that the rules for such a match don’t actually exist.

Duchess of Queensberry Rules Match
William Regal vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - The Duchess of Motherflippin' Queensbury
These two had met in a decent match at Wrestlemania 17. Since then, Chris Jericho besmirched Regal by peeing in his tea, leading to this match.

Needless to say, this was a quality match even if the whole Duchess of Queensberry stuff did get a little silly.

With Her Majesty herself looking on (even though Her Royal Highness would have been the correct title) Jericho and Regal put on a wrestling clinic for the first half of the match until Y2J looked to get the win with the Lionsault.

Before he could make the cover, however, the Duchess declared that the time had expired on Round 1.

Jericho then made Regal tap to the Walls of Jericho, but she declared that you couldn’t win by submission. Next, Regal blasted his opponent with the Duchess’s scepter, causing her to make it a No DQ match.

Having finally had enough, Jericho threw Her Ladyship into the ring and put the Walls on her, but Commissioner Regal came in, destroyed him with a chair and that was that.

Again, the whole ‘making up the rules on the fly’ stuff got a bit much, but this was otherwise a very good performance.
Your Winner: William Regal

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Vince McMahon orders Big Show to destroy Shane
Backstage, Vince McMahon made Big Show promise that he’d hold nothing back against Shane McMahon. Show promised and the two shook hands, both laughing maniacally as this somewhat awkward and slightly cringe-inducing segment came to an end.

We then got a video package featuring shots of Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle making most of the roster tap out, followed by a quick shot of Krispin Wah himself warming up backstage.

He and Angle would go head to head next.

30-Minute Ultimate Submission Match
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Kurt Angle faced Chris Benoit in an Ultimate Submission iron man match
In case you’re unsure, an Ultimate Submission match was basically a submission-based iron man match.

Before the bell, Angle got himself some heat by insulting Chicago’s most famous figures and promising to make Benoit squeal like a pig.

The match eventually got underway and turned out to be every bit as good as you probably expected.

Regardless of whatever happened away from the ring, Benoit and Angle were two masters of their craft. Here, they proved it by delivering a masterclass of professional wrestling that remained captivating from start to finish.

The two held nothing back as they wrestled each other to a 3-3 draw in the allotted half hour.

Harkening back to Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 12, the match then went into overtime with sudden death rules applying.

A few more minutes of action followed before Benoit slapped Angle in the crossface to take home the 4-3 victory.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit

Backstage, HHH and Stephanie McMahon were watching Undertaker and Kane have a heated discussion on a television monitor.

The Game thought that The Brothers of Destruction were trying to come up with an excuse for losing to him and Austin, but Steph was more concerned with insisting that her brother Shane was living in a fairytale.

Last Man Standing Match
The Big Show vs. Shane McMahon

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Big Show faced Shane McMahon in a Last Man Standing match
If the last match has been as good as expected, this one was certainly better than expected.

Shane and Show had last met on PPV in a street fight back at Judgement Day 2000. That had been OK but a little underwhelming.

This was much better.

Early on, Shane knocked Show out with chloroform, only for Vince to run in and destroy his own son with a chair.

The match continued to the point that Big Show was just toying with Shane O’Mac, letting the referee count him up to right before picking up the WCW owner and chokeslamming him again.

It was at this point that Test put in an appearance, and this is where things got really good.

(I bet that sentence has never been written before).

Test and Show brawled to the entrance. Shane followed and ended up climbing to the top of the structure around the entrance while Test planted Big Show.

Then, in typical Shane McMahon fashion, he plummeted fifty feet to his doom, crash landing on his opponent.

Test helped his former almost-brother-in-law to his feet and this utterly enthralling bit of entertainment was done.
Your Winner: Shane McMahon

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Grandmaster Sexay gets weird on Steve Blackman
Backstage, Vince wrote off Shane and declared that Triple H was his only son.

Meanwhile, over at WWF New York, Steve Blackman started to tell Jim Ross that despite having issues with Shane in the past, he hoped he was OK after that match.

‘I never thought I’d see him do something like that,’ said Blackman, referring to McMahon’s epic leap of faith. That’s funny because Shane pulled an almost identical stunt in their match at Summerslam 2000.

Before he could get much further, Grandmaster Sexay turned up and had a seizure in Blackman’s face.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship Triple Threat Match
WWF European Champion Matt Hardy vs. Christian vs. Eddie Guerrero

Although this kind of felt like filler, it was at least pretty entertaining filler.

All three men worked hard to deliver a fast-paced stormer of a match, but who knows how much better it could have been if they’d been given more time to shine.

Edge ran in towards the finish to try and help Christian win, but Jeff Hardy then put in an appearance to even the score.

That allowed Matt Hardy to hit Eddie Guerrero with the match-winning Twist of Fate.
Your Winner and Still European Champion: Matt Hardy

Afterward, we got the eight-thousandth replay of Shane’s big fall.

All Titles on the Line
WWF Intercontinental Champion Triple H (w/ Stephanie McMahon) & WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin WWF Tag Team Champions Kane & The Undertaker

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Steve Austin pleads with The Undertaker
The last time all the titles were on the line was back at In Your House 3: Triple Header when Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels and WWF Champion Diesel faced WWF Tag Team Champion Yokozuna and British Bulldog, with the Bulldog standing in for Owen Hart.

Speaking of Michaels, Jim Ross reminded us that if The Game won tonight, he’d be only the second man in history besides HBK to win the WWF title, European Championship, Intercontinental title, and tag team titles.

There were times when it felt as though this really long match was never going to end and there were times when it was so good that you didn’t really want it to end.

At one point, Kane played face-in-peril for six years and it really started to drag, but then just like that the whole thing picked up again and the match got utterly compelling.

Towards the finish, Undertaker and Austin went for a walk through the crowd. Stephanie McMahon tried to help her man but got Kane’s foot in her face.

That brought out Vince McMahon and a sledgehammer. Hunter used it and one three count later we had new tag team champions.
Your Winners and NEW tag team champions: Triple H & Stone Cold Steve Austin

Afterward, the new champions celebrated their hard-fought victory as Backlash 2001 came to a close.







I may be wrong, but I’m willing to state that Backlash was a fairly flawless show.

Every match was good in its own way, with the Benoit/Angle submission match really standing out as match of the night.

Coming on the back of one of the best Wrestlemanias ever, this was a great time to be a fan.




Other reviews of 2001 pro wrestling events: 
More Backlash Reviews:
Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

PPV REVIEW: WRESTLEMANIA 17

April 1, 2001 
Reliant Astrodome, Houston, Texas

Before we begin today, I want to point out that, having watched all of the previous sixteen Wrestlemanias, this is the first event that truly felt like a modern 'Mania.

You know how Wrestlemania has the huge entranceway, the massive ramp, and the general sense that this is an event beyond any normal pro wrestling event?

Wrestlemania 17 was really the first event that had all of that and was the first event which truly felt like the spectacle of all spectacles.

Don't believe me?

Let's head on down to the Houston Astrodome for an event many consider to be one of the best Wrestlemania's of all time.







Welcome to the Showcase of The Immortals

Our opening video package was melodramatic in the best sense of the world.

It showed us a whole different bunch of people, from farmers somewhere in middle America to street food vendors in Asia all finding a way to huddle round a television - proving that no matter what their circumstances, they had always found a way to watch past moments like Mike Tyson knocking out Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 14 and Yokozuna enjoying his short-lived title reign at Wrestlemania 9.

Credit where it's due, this was a well-done intro.

Then, as Limp Bizkit's My Way blasted out, we got a quick opening credits package featuring tonight's main stars followed by a deliberately dramatic greeting from lead announcer Jim Ross.

Ross' broadcast colleague for the evening was Paul Heyman, who was insanely excited about making his first Wrestlemania appearance.

If you're wondering where Jerry 'The King' Lawler was, he had recently walked out of the World Wrestling Federation after his real-life wife, The Kat, had been fired for apparently being a bit of a spoiled diva.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho vs. William Regal

This all came about because Chris Jericho besmirched Commissioner William Regal. Regal retaliated by booking Jericho in a match against half the world, but Y2J then got his own back by peeing in Regal's tea and dressing up as Doink to beat him up.

Tonight, they looked to settle the score in a fun opening contest that really could have been even better had they given it five more minutes.

As it was, Regal/Jericho was a fine opener but then given the talent of both men, it was probably always going to be good.

The story going in was that Jericho's shoulder was injured and Regal spent the majority of the match going after it. This wasn't enough to secure a victory, however, as Y2J hit the lion sault to retain his title.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho

Out in the back, Shane McMahon arrived in a limousine bearing the license plate 'WCW 1.'

Elsewhere in the arena, The APA smoked stonking-big cigars with Jacqueline. Texas native Bradshaw was super excited about being in the Astrodome and proceeded to recall every major event that had happened in the arena.

He and Farooq were in action next.

Six-Man Tag Team Match
The Right to Censor (Bull Buchanan, The Goodfather, and Val Venis w/ Steven Richards) vs. Tazz and The APA (Farooq & Bradshaw w/ Jacqueline)

This started as your standard six-man but soon disintegrated into a free-for-all and a pretty decent one at that.

Ok, so this was never going to win Match of the Night honours, but it served a purpose and, as short little brawls go, was pretty good fun.

After a few minutes of hard-hitting offence, Bradshaw hit the Clothesline from Hell on The Goodfather and won the match for his team.
Your Winners: The APA & Tazz

Backstage, Trish Stratus wheeled an apparently catatonic Linda McMahon in her wheelchair. Stephanie McMahon approached and ordered Trish to hand crush some ice ready to celebrate her pops beating Shane McMahon later on.

This was during the time that Vince had committed Linda to an institution, had an affair with Trish, and then turned on Trish and started treating her like trash for no reason.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship Triple Threat Match
WWF Hardcore Champion Raven vs. Kane vs. The Big Show

This was very entertaining.

Most of the match was fought backstage, with people being slammed through windows, doors and tables, riding around on golf carts and generally beating the crap out of each other.

The main story of the match was The Big Show and Kane colliding while Raven was kind of lucky to be there, but even he played his part well and contributed to an enjoyable garbage brawl.

Eventually, all three men made their way back to the stage where Show lifted Raven up to throw him off the stage. Kane kicked them both off then jumped on top of Show and pinned him for the three.
Your Winner and NEW Hardcore Champion: Kane

Backstage, Edge and Christian wanted to know if Kurt Angle wanted to go and celebrate with them after they all won their matches tonight, but The Olympic Gold Medalist was too concerned with watching a video of Chris Benoit making him tap.

"If your hand taps the mat but there's no official referee and no official bell and it wasn't an official match, then officially you didn't tap," said Angle, mesmerised by the video on the screen.

Meanwhile, at WWF New York, Superfly Jimmy Snuka stood around posing.

The Champ is Here

Out in the crowd, Jonathan Coachman interviewed a fan who had travelled all the way from Brisbane, Australia for Wrestlemania.

Meanwhile, WWF Champion The Rock arrived at the arena, hung up his title belt and jacket, and wandered off again.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion Test vs. Eddie Guerrero (w/ Perry Saturn)

Whenever people talk about the greatest Wrestlemania matches of all time, nobody in history has ever mentioned Test vs. Eddie Guerrero for the European title at Wrestlemania 17.

And that's OK.

Not every match has to be an absolute showstopper. Some of them can just be a fun way to fill a few minutes, and that's exactly what this was.

Sure, the ever-talented Guerrero managed to get the best out of his opponent and give us a solid match, but this wasn't going to win any awards.

After a very good effort, Test took out Eddie's cornerman, Perry Saturn, only to get distracted dealing with Dean Malenko. Eddie then clocked the champion with the title belt to claim it for himself.
Your Winner and NEW European Champion: Eddie Guerrero

Backstage, Michael Cole interviewed a homeless man who vaguely resembled Mick Foley.

The man told Cole that even though Vince McMahon had embarrassed and humiliated him, he was still going to be impartial when the boss took on his own son Shane later on in the show.

Elsewhere in the arena, Stone Cold Steve Austin was so over that he got a huge pop for walking into a dressing room and sitting down.

Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit

Before the match, heat-seeker Angle ripped on the Texan crowd and mocked them for being Texan.

The actual match started good, got better, became great, and then kind of went out on a whimper.

Forget your sports entertainment, this was proper professional wrestling. At one point, somebody breathed hard in the referee's general direction, causing the official to collapse to the mat and go into a coma.

While that was going, Angle tapped to the Crippler Crossface but, as he said earlier since there was no official and no bell, it didn't count.

More excellent action continued, then after several close, dramatic near falls, Angle scored the win with a sloppy-looking roll-up.

As finishes go, it was very anti-climatic, but everything that went before it was brilliant.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle

Backstage, William Regal was mortified to find Kamala standing on his desk and rubbing himself with a framed picture of Her Majesty The Queen.

Though I'd like to think this was just a call-back to Drew Carey mentioning The Ugandan Giant to Triple H back at Royal Rumble 2001, he was actually there to compete in tonight's gimmick battle royal.

Eventually, with a little help from Kimchee, the Commissioner managed to talk Angle down.

The Rabid Wolverine Attacks

Up next, a video package showed us some of the WWF superstars taking part in a Wrestlemania pep-rally with members of the armed forces.

Back in the arena, Kevin Kelly tried to interview Kurt Angle, only for Chris Benoit to appear and attack our Olympic Hero and slap him in the crossface.

A second video package followed this one highlighting the rivalry between Chyna and WWF Women's Champion Ivory.

That match was next.

World Wrestling Federation Women's Championship
WWF Women's Champion Ivory vs. Chyna

Right To Censor banned from Ringside

The story was that Chyna had been injured at the hands of Right to Censor and had to sign a waiver insisting that she wouldn't sue the WWF if she got re-injured in this match.

For what it was, this was OK, but it was basically just The Ninth Wonder of the World making short work of her much smaller opponent and destroying her in about three minutes.

This was Chyna's final Wrestlemania appearance.
Your Winner and NEW Women's Champion: Chyna

Backstage, Vince McMahon made sure that Trish Stratus knew when to bring his catatonic wife down to the ring during his match with Shane.

Michael Cole then interrupted him to discuss Shane McMahon buying WCW, but Vince wasn't interested in that.

We then got a look back at the rivalry between the McMahon boys, including Vince telling his son that he wished he'd never been born.

Nice.

Street Fight
Shane McMahon vs. Vince McMahon (w/ Stephanie McMahon)

Special Referee: Mick Foley
Shane McMahon didn't have his own Here comes the money theme yet, so came down to the same No Chance in Hell theme as his old man. Before the bell rang, Shane shouted out to his WCW boys -namely Lance Storm, Hugh Morrus, Chavo Guerrero, Shawn Stasiak and Stacy Keibler- who were watching the big event from a skybox.

Then, the bell rang, and this turned into a thoroughly enjoyable bit of storytelling.

Yes, there've been greater street fights in history from an actual wrestling perspective, but this was the perfect way to bring the months-long McMahon saga to a close.

After a few minutes of brawling, Trish Stratus wheeled the catatonic Linda McMahon to ringside but then turned on Vince and gave him a good slapping. That led to a Trish/Stephanie McMahon brawl, taking the two ladies out of action.

The evil Vince McMahon then propped his wife up in the corner of the ring so that she'd have to watch her own son get destroyed, but at the last minute, Linda stood up, revealed that she was fine, and kicked her husband straight square in the bollocks.

Shane O' Mac then debuted Coast to Coast, and that was all she wrote.
Your Winner: Shane McMahon

Earlier that weekend, at the Axxess convention, Kevin Kelly interrupted The Hardy Boyz autograph signing to ask them about TLC. Matt and Jeff were nervous but also excited.

Back in the arena, Triple H sat in his dressing room grunting while Undertaker hung out in the boiler room, shadow boxing. The two would meet later on in the show, but TLC was next.

Tables, Ladders and Chairs II
World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship TLC Match
WWF Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (D'Von & Bubba Ray Dudley) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy) vs. Edge & Christian

At Summerslam 2000, these three teams had changed the game by competing in the incredible TLC I. Personally, I think I preferred that match to this one, but don't get me wrong, TLC II was still all kinds of awesome.

The big difference this time around was that we got run-ins from former ECW Stars Spike Dudley and Rhyno. The latter was a friend of Edge & Christian while the former was, obviously, there to help out his family members. Lita got involved too, and with nine different people involved it at times got a little chaotic, but it was still several shades of epic and a joy to watch.

The highlight was the famous moment that Edge lept off a ladder and speared Jeff Hardy who was hanging from the device that suspended the title belts over the ring.

After many similar insane spots, Edge and Christian won the match just as they had done at Summerslam, this time with Christian sat atop Rhyno's shoulders while The War Machine scaled the ladder.
Your Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian

We then got another look at Axxess with both fans and superstars alike talking about how awesome the whole thing was.

Following some banter from Ross and Heyman, Howard Finkle told us that Wrestlemania X-7 had set an all-time attendance record for any event at the Houston Astrodome of 67, 925 fans.

Heenan and Okerlund Return Home

Before the Gimmick Battle Royal, Mean Gene Okerlund was introduced as our guest play-by-play announcer before Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan made his first 'Mania appearance since Wrestlemania 9 as our special guest colour analyst.

Heenan clearly forgot he wasn't on Nitro any more and immediately called Mean Gene 'Tony.'

Oops.

There was also this gem:

Heenan: "Repo Man, last week he repo'd his own car. This man is nuts."
Okerlund: "About four years ago, he got my mother-in-law's"
Heenan: "About four years ago, everybody got your mother-in-law."

Genius.

Gimmick Battle Royal
Featuring The Bushwhackers, Duke 'The Dumpster' Drosse, The Iron Sheik, Earthquake, The Goon, Doink The Clown, Kamala (w/ Kimchee & Harvey Wippleman), Repo Man, Jim Cornette, Nikolai Volkoff, Michael P.S Hayes, One Man Gang, The Gobbledegooker, Tugboat, Hillbilly Jim, Brother Love, Sgt. Slaughter

The individual entrances for the old-school performers lasted twice as long as this very brief battle royal, but that was kind of the point.

This was never about giving us a good match, it was about the nostalgia trip, and it was a lot of fun, especially with Heenan and Okerlund cracking wise the whole time.

The interesting thing was how over Doink The Clown was. He easily got the biggest pop of the whole match and there was very loud booing when he was
finally eliminated.

Eventually, The Iron Sheik won.

I say 'eventually' the whole battle royal lasted about three minutes.
Your Winner: The Iron Sheik

Post-match, Sgt. Slaughter returned to the ring and slapped Sheiky Baby in the cobra clutch.

This was supposed to create a feel-good moment, but you sort of got the impression nobody ever really cared about Slaughter as much as the WWF often thought they did.

We're Motorhead and We'll Kick Your Ass


A video package followed highlighting the rivalry between Triple H and The Undertaker. This came down to The Game bragging that he had beaten everybody there was to beat only to be reminded that he'd never beaten The American Bad Ass.

Those two would meet next, but first HHH got a Super Special Entrance in which Motorhead played a version of his theme song live.

God bless the legendary Lemmy Kilmister, but there was no hiding the fact that he forgot the lyrics to this song of the way through it.

Triple H vs. The Undertaker

This was by far The Undertaker's best Wrestlemania match up to this point and perhaps even one of his best individual matches ever - at least at this stage of the game.

They started in the ring, went for a crazy brawl through the crowd and returned to the ring again, all the while building the drama.

After an incredible battle, 'Taker sent The Game for his Last Ride to go 9-0 at Wrestlemania.

The Streak continues...
Your Winner: The Undertaker

Finally, after a look back at their epic rivalry set to Limp Bizkit's 'My way' it was time for The Rock to defend the WWF Championship against Stone Cold Steve Austin in a showdown for the ages.

No Disqualification Match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

And man, what a showdown it was.

Surpassing just about every Wrestlemania main event that had ever come before it, Rock/Austin quickly developed into an all-time classic.

It had the huge, big-match feel of Hogan/Andre, the drama and intensity of the very best Attitude Era matches, and a certain intangible quality that came as a result of Rock and Austin's unmatched star power.

Apart from an unnecessary ref' bump, everything about this match was perfect, violent, brutal perfection that was drenched in blood, and forced you onto the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Speaking of the finish, that came when Vince McMahon came down to the ring and Austin revealed that he had sold his soul to The Devil Himself, making a pact with the Chairman and turning heel in the process.

When Rock refused to die, Vince handed Austin a chair which the Texas Rattlesnake used to just bludgeon his opponent before finally securing the pinfall.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Post-match, Austin and Vince shared a beer and toasted over the prone, lifeless body of The Great One.







Wrestlemania 17 has often been described as the greatest Wrestlemania of all time, and after watching it today, it's obvious that it at least deserves to be in the running.

Rock/Austin, HHH/Taker and TLC 2 were the real highlights, but in between everything else worked well and served its purpose. Even the Gimmick Battle Royal -while not great from an in-ring perspective- was a welcome bit of nostalgia and gave us some hilarious banter between Heenan and Okerlund.

Overall, an exceptional show that is very much worth tracking down.



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.




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