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

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 intact. 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 Match Triple H vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

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

Fall 1: Standard Wrestling Match

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

Fall 2: Street Fight

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

Fall 3: Steel cage match

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

The Kat Wants to be Naked

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

Be the Ultimate Fanatic

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

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

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

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

We’re Going to Put Those Boys Through Hell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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







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



Other reviews of 2001 pro wrestling events: 
    More WWF No Way Out Reviews
    Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

    Thursday, 3 September 2020

    PPV REVIEW: WCW Superbrawl: Revenge (2001)

    WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Event poster
    February 18, 2001 
    Nashville Municipal Auditorium,  Nashville, Tennessee.

    By far the most frustrating thing about World Championship Wrestling wasn't all the dumb and terrible things they'd done over the years, it was how much better the company started getting towards the end of their run.

    Sure, all of that dumb stuff had caused irrevocable harm and there was no way they could ever truly come back from all the damage that had been done, but from a creative stand point at least, WCW were starting to look good again.

    Scott Steiner's reign of terror as WCW champion made for intriguing television -if not necessarily excellent matches- as he took credit for taking out all of the company's biggest stars one by one.

    The cruiserweight division was getting a second wind with Chavo Guerrero at the top of the hierarchy, and though there was still plenty of WCWness about the whole company, a lot of their more idiotic decisions were behind them.

    So, while all of that may have been too little, too late, it did make watching the company's final months far less painful than the torturous ordeal than the task of watching their 1999/2000 efforts.







    Don't believe me? Here's what went down when the last ever Superbrawl show came live from Nashville, Tennessee.

    Revenge

    WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Tony Schiavone & Scott Hudson called the event
    Tonight’s opening video looked like something straight out of a horror trailer, with a pair of hands clinically cutting out words from a newspaper to form a ransom-style cut-and-paste note.

    This being WCW, we never saw what the note said, but as it was being made, words like ‘psycho’ and ‘ego’ flashed on the screen.

    Live in the arena, it was fireworks galore and a greeting from Tony Schiavone and Scott Hudson as the cameras panned over what was obviously a very small crowd, at least compared to WCW’s heyday.

    Animal Hates Kidman for Some Reason

    Schiavone and Hudson took us back to the Superbrawl pre-show where Road Warrior Animal inexplicably beat up Billy Kidman for no known reason.

    Six-Man, Four-Corners Elimination Match
    Evan Karagias vs. Jamie Knoble vs. Yang vs. Kaz Hayashi vs. Shannon Moore vs. Shane Helms

    WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Shane Helms won the opening match
    The backstage attack was just a way to write Kidman out of this match and replace him with Shane Helms.

    With the other five competitors in the ring, the announcers speculated who the sixth participant was going to be as if it was ever going to be anybody other than Shane Helms.

    Honestly, these six men had opened up a large number of WCW PPVs over the past six months. Sometimes it was in a ladder match such as at Starrcade 2000, other times it was a straight-up three-team tag, but it was always these same six men opening the show in some way other another.

    Most of those matches had been exciting, lightning-fast spotfests that were a thrill to watch despite not having much to them beyond lots of interesting flips.

    This was more of the same, but it fell short when compared to its predecessors because there was an insane amount of botching going on that made it look sloppy and uncoordinated.

    At one point, Yang screwed up three moves in a row and made himself look ridiculous. Fortunately, Jamie Knoble tombstoned him a few seconds later and put him out of his misery.

    The final moments came down to Yang’s partner Kaz Hayashi and Shane Helms who, to their credit, gave us the most solid and gripping part of the match.

    Helms got the win with a Vertebraker after the better part of 20 minutes, ending a contest which was still pretty good, but spoiled somewhat by all the screw-ups.
    Your Winner: Shane Helms

    Post-match, the announcers showed us some security camera footage of Chavo Guerrero approaching, and apparently striking a deal with, Road Warrior Animal and Ric Flair.

    It was suggested that maybe Animal has taken out Kidman to help Chavo, though quite why that would be nobody knew.

    The Misfits Are Over and Its No Laughing Matter

    WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Hugh Morrus cut a backstage promo on The Wall
    In some pre-recorded comments, Hugh Morrus talked about General Rection as if he was a different person.

    Morrus had nothing but hatred in his heart after Rection had taken The Wall into the Misfits In Action only for the temporarily named Sgt. AWOL to turn his back on him and join fellow defector, Chavo.

    The MIA was over and Morrus wanted revenge.

    More Backstage Stuff

    My lord, they were back to cramming a thousand ‘tween-match segments into 90 seconds again.

    WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Ric Flair consults Scott Steiner with Midajah standing by
    After the security footage and the Morrus promo, we saw a tuxedo-clad Ric Flair interrupt the shoulder massage that Scot Steiner was getting from Midajah.

    Steiner had cut some scathing, obscenity-laden promos against Flair in the past but they were now friends and Flair had an envelope that would help Steiner end Kevin Nash’s career.

    Then, Commissioner Lance Storm stopped Kronik as they entered the arena and ordered Bryan Clark to go and get checked over by a doctor before he was cleared to wrestle.

    The Wall vs. Hugh Morrus

    This started as a fairly enjoyable big-man brawl, but it didn't have enough about it to keep it engaging for very long.

    After almost ten minutes, Morrus hit the No Laughing Matter on The Wall to get the win after a mediocre contest.
    Your Winner: Hugh Morrus

    Morrus hit a second moonsualt after the bell and was surprisingly very over with the live crowd.

    Konnan Wants Revenge

    Get it? Because the show was called Superbrawl: Revenge so everyone was out for revenge, including Konnan.

    He wanted revenge on Flair and Animal for the attack on Kidman, but could only get to Animal, who despite being an all-time legend was now just Flair’s muscle.

    The Road Warrior and the K-Dog got into a brawl which was then broken up by security.

    A video package followed showing us that the Natural Born Thrillers had broken up after Shawn Stasiak & Mark Jindrak got sick of being the lesser team compared to tag champions Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire.

    There was no mention of where Mike Sanders was in all this.

    World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
    WCW World Tag Team Champions Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire vs. Shawn Stasiak & Mark Jindrak

    WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Chuck Palumbo & Sean O'Haire
    Before the bell, Stasiak got himself some cheap heat by taking to the microphone and insulting the local sports team. He followed this by saying ‘note to self,’ then adding ‘the next time we walk into this town you should all get on your knees and worship the ground we walk on.

    That was clearly a note to the audience, not himself, but fair play to the lad for trying.

    As the tag champs made their way to the ring, Jindrak revealed a microphone of his own and cut a cringe-inducing promo telling the challengers that they would be the ones to get on their knees when they kissed their asses goodbye.

    When the match got underway, it turned out to be a decent outing, albeit a little rushed.

    I’ve often thought that if WCW had never gone under and was still active today, we would have seen all four of these men pushed towards the main event eventually.

    I’m not saying that’s a good thing or that I necessarily agree with it, but from the way they were portrayed, it seemed kind of inevitable.

    Palumbo spent the majority of the match getting his ass beat, which was a bit of a stretch given the size of him, but to be fair, both teams were still relatively new and didn’t have the experience to give us anything that the basic tag team formula.

    After a long while, O’Haire got the hot tag, cleaned house and hit a Seanton Bomb on Stasiak for the win.
    Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire

    Backstage, Dustin Rhodes claimed that Ric Flair had tried to keep him out of WCW and somehow this meant that Rhodes would now challenge Rick Steiner for the US title.

    World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
    WCW World Cruiserweight Champion Chavo Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

    WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Rey Mysterio Jr. challenged Chavo Guerrero for the cruiserweight title
    No Tygress. Presumedly she was a victim of WCW’s cost-cutting measures.

    Also, it’s worth pointing out how badass Chavo’s theme music was. It was basically Eddie Guerrero’s old LWO theme albeit with an awesome lead guitar mixed in.

    The music wasn’t the only awesome thing.

    As close as you were going to get in 2001 to the great Cruiserweight classics of the mid-90s, this was the best match Rey Mysterio had been involved in for some years, at least since he lost his mask. It was also one of Chavo Guerrero’s finest performances.

    At this stage of the game, the best you could usually hope for from a WCW PPV match was that it would be decent, but this was on another level and was probably the best WCW PPV bout since the turn of the millennium, it not before that.

    After an enthralling see-saw battle, Guerrero waffled Mysterio with a chair behind the referee’s back then hit a brainbuster to retain his title.
    Your Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Chavo Guerrero

    Out in the back, Commissioner Storm warned Brian Adams that Kronik’s match was up right after our US title match. Adams didn’t want to compete without his partner but Storm didn’t care and booked it anyway.

    A video package then showed us that Dustin had got this title shot after Kevin Nash held David Flair hostage and demanded it. The video also showed us that Mike Sanders was part of Flair’s stable, so that answers my earlier question.

    World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
    WCW United States Champion Rick Steiner vs. Dustin Rhodes

    WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Rick Steiner defended the US title against Dustin Rhodes
    This was OK. Nothing more. It looked as though Dustin was trying hard, but he was in there with Rick Steiner, who hadn’t really tried hard in years.

    The good news is that this rather average match didn’t last long. The bad news is that it had almost exactly the same finish as the last match.

    In both bouts, the referee stopped the babyface from using a chair which gave the heel a chance to cheat. The only difference was that Chavo used a different chair while Steiner used an exposed turnbuckle, dropping Rhodes face-first into it to win the match.
    Your Winner and Still US Champion: Rick Steiner

    Post-match, Dustin got his Superbrawl: Revenge by propping Steiner in the corner and kicking him swiftly in the bollocks.

    Pointless Backstage Stuff

    Out in the back, Lance Storm was busy preparing for his match when Ric Flair came and told him to make sure that anybody who wasn’t in their stable was booted out of the arena after their match.

    Flair also wanted Storm to ensure that the winner of the upcoming Totally Buff/Kronik match got a tag team title shot.

    Across the arena, Storm’s scheduled opponent, Ernest Miller was getting pumped up with Diamond Dallas Page giving him a pep talk and insisting that he had to get the Comissionershio back because Flair had gotten rid of everybody else and now it was down to just the two of them.

    Totally Buff (The Total Package Lex Luger & Buff Bagwell) vs. Kronik (Brian Adams & Bryan Clarke)

    WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Lex Luger and Buff Bagwell - Totally Buff
    Before the match, Totally Buff cut a really long and largely terrible promo in which they spoke for about fifty hours without actually saying anything of note.

    The whole promo told us stuff we already knew:

    • They were part of Ric Flair’s stable
    • Bryan Clarke wasn’t cleared to compete.
    • The winners of the match got a tag title shot.

    We’d already been told all of this, so why Luger and Bagwell had to spend so long going over it again is anyone’s guess.

    Anyway, despite not being cleared to compete, Bryan Clarke seemingly came down to help his partner regardless but was immediately taken out by a Buff Bagwell chair shot.

    The rest of the match was a decent though unspectacular handicap match in which Bagwell and Luger mugged Adams until his heroic comeback. It was at that point that Bryan Clarke turned on his partner and drilled him with a German Suplex...

    ...Except he didn’t really because it was revealed that it was actually Mike Awesome doing a Bryan Clarke cosplay.

    One Buff Blockbuster later and this was over.
    Your Winners: Totally Buff

    Afterwards, the real Bryan Clarke consoled his partner.

    The two then went backstage where a Lance Storm ordered that they be thrown out of the building. Security tried to act, but Adams & Clarke destroyed them all.

    As we went back to the arena, Schiavone and Hudson told us that Kronik were being ejected and that Konnan and Dustin Rhodes had already been thrown out.

    Battle for the WCW Commissionership
    WCW Commissioner Lance Storm vs. Ernest Miller (w/ Miss Jones)

    WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Lance Storm 'If I can be serious for a minute"
    It seriously feels as though Ernest Miller spent every single PPV since the turn of the millennium winning and losing the role of WCW Commissioner.

    It was only back at WCW Sin that he regained the role for the nine millionth time after beating Mike Sanders but he’d since lost it again to Lance Storm and now had to try and get it back once more.

    Before the bell, Lance Storm called himself the greatest technical wrestler in the sport which was surely a dig at Chris Benoit, who the WWF were calling the best technical wrestler.

    Before he got to have his Canadian National Anthem played, however, The Cat interrupted him and called him a Power Ranger, which for some reason always makes this fan laugh out loud. The crowd were firmly behind Miller, who was amazingly really over in WCW’s final months.

    He was also starting to get better as a wrestler and had perhaps the best PPV match of his career here against Storm. OK, so the bar wasn’t set terribly high to begin with, but this was still a fun little match.

    Towards the end, Mike Sanders came out for no reason but got clocked by the ever-lovely Miss Jones.

    That reminds me: No Major Gunns here, which is sad for obvious reasons.

    While Jones beat up Sanders, Cat cracked Storm with the Feliner and regained the Commissioner role for the second time in as many PPVs.
    Your Winner: Ernest Miller

    Cat and Miss Jones celebrated after the match with their weird dancing.

    After a video for our next match, Schiavone told us that Cat only resumed power at midnight so Ric Flair had him ejected from the building.

    Diamond Dallas Page vs. Kanyon

    Of note, DDP was no longer using his Smells Like Teen Spirit theme and had Generic Jobber Theme #5579 instead.

    WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Jeff Jarrett puts Diamond Dallas Page to sleepHe was supposed to face Jeff Jarrett, but since he’d challenger Kanyon to a match ‘anywhere, any time,’ Jarrett and Kanyon had decided that the place was here and the time was now.

    What followed was a really enjoyable match with lots of unique spots from Innovator of Offence Kanyon and a nasty blade job from Page.

    After a very fun contest, Jarrett’s interference helped Kanyon get the win via Flatliner.
    Your Winner: Kanyon

    Kanyon then took to the microphone to serve as ring announcer and reveal that Jarrett vs. Page would still go ahead.

    Diamond Dallas Page vs. Jeff Jarrett

    Though it was neither as fast nor as furious as the last match, this was still a very good effort.

    The end saw more interference, this time from Kanyon. It backfired, however, and resulted in Jarrett inadvertently blasting Kanyon with a guitar.

    A Diamond Cutter later and Page was your victor.
    Your Winner:  Diamond Dallas Page

    Before the main event, CEO Ric Flair came out to join the commentary team.

    World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
    WCW World Heavyweight Champion Scott Steiner (w/ Midajah) vs. Kevin Nash

    WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Ric Flair presents WCW Champion Scott Steiner & Midajah
    It’s amazing that WCW had lost so much money and were cutting costs left and right but still paid Michael Buffer to do the main event announcements. Either that, or he was paid directly by Time Warner.

    As part of Steiner’s entrance, Buffer declared that Steiner was responsible for ending the careers of Sting, Booker T, and Sid Vicious,  none of whom had been seen since facing Big Poppa Pump.

    Of course, Sid was gone because he horrifically broke his leg in a freak accident, but oh well.

    Scotty didn’t appreciate being put over by Buffer and ordered him out of the ring so that he could talk about ending those men’s careers for himself.

    Steiner then had the production crew play a clip of Sid breaking his leg over and over again. It was crass and tasteless and had this writer looking away from the screen until it was over.

    I have no desire to ever look at that sickening sight.

    WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Kevin Nash got no sympy from Scott Steiner
    Ric Flair then entered the ring and told us that not only was the title on the line, but the loser would be forced to leave WCW.

    Finally, after being attacked by the heels on Nitro, Kevin Nash was pushed to the ring in a wheelchair by two women dressed as sexy nurses.

    “Kevin Nash, you come out here trying to get the sympy of the people,” said Steiner, noticing the leg cast Nash was wearing. “But you don’t get my sympy at all.”

    From his wheelchair, Nash just looked at Steiner with a confused look on his face as if to ask ‘dude, WTF is sympy?’

    Nash then revealed he wasn’t hurt at all (obviously), hit Steiner with the belt and won the title.

    At least he appeared to until dastardly heel Flair made it two out of three falls.

    On the outside, Steiner murdered Nash with a lead pipe but despite being a generic freak couldn’t lift Big Sexy snd get him back in the ring. To help him out, Flair then made it falls count anywhere and announced that Nash’s first fall didn’t count.

    The actual wrestling part of the match was OK but there’d been so much overbooking and interference from Flair and Midajah the whole thing just came off as garbage.

    Steiner eventually won by making Nash pass out to the Steiner Recliner, but the damage was done.
    Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Scott Steiner

    This was probably the worst WCW PPV main event since Hogan/Warrior or maybe that First Blood fiasco between Flair and Hogan.

    It was beyond awful and really ruined what was otherwise a decent show.







    I mean that sincerely, despite a few blips, Superbrawl: Revenge had a lot of bright spots.

    OK, so it was nowhere near as good as Starrcade 2000 or January’s Sin Show, but the Chavo/Mysterio match was a thing of beauty, the opening few matches were good and Page/Kanyon was a blast.

    But that main event, man was it ever bad.

    I started this review saying the most frustrating thing about WCW was that they started getting much better toward the end but I take that back. The most frustrating thing was sitting through that abomination of a main event.

    Watching that and knowing WCW would soon be out of business, I have no sympy for them at all.



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    Thursday, 27 August 2020

    PPV REVIEW: WWF Royal Rumble 2001

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

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


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

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

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







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

    The First Step Towards Immortality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Honestly, that’s what he said.

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

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

    Always Poundin’ Ass

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

    Seriously, who thought that was a good idea?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Yep, that was happening.

    Don’t Worry About Chyna

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

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

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

    Ladies and Gentlemen, Your New Intercontinental Champion

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

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

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

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

    Then the finish came, and it was really underwhelming.

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

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

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

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

    I’ll Touch You, Trish

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

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

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

    Ahem.

    Drew Carey is a Big Deal

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Who Will Win the Championship?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Why only mostly?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Guess who won that exchange?

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

    In other highlights.

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

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

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

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

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

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







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

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

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

    A show well worth tracking down.

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