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

Friday, 12 February 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF No Mercy 2001

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Event poster
October 21, 2001, 
Savvis Center, St. Louis, Missouri

By the time WWF No Mercy 2001 came around, the WWF vs. WCW/ECW Invasion was nearing its conclusion.

A few weeks after this PPV, the "Winner Take All" match at Survivor Series would put paid to the whole thing once and for all, finally bringing to an end months of bizarre creative decisions and ill-fated ideas.

Yet as rough as The Invasion may have been in many respects, there was at least one really good thing about it:

The Rise of Rob Van Dam.

From the very beginning, The Whole F'N Show had consistently proven himself to be one of -if not the- most popular member of The Alliance.

Tonight, all of that would pay off as he stepped into the main event to take on his fellow Alliance cohort Steve Austin and future Alliance member Kurt Angle in our main event.






Here's what went down when No Mercy came live from St. Louis, Missouri.

What Motivates a Man?

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Paul Heyman and Jim Ross called the event
Tonight’s show began with one of the most compelling opening videos the World Wrestling Federation had used in a while.

Focussing exclusively on our triple threat main event, the video dissected the motivations of our three competitors, WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin and his challengers, Kurt Angle and Rob Van Dam.

If you ever want proof that this company could tell great stories when they wanted to, look no further than this video.

Anyway, with that out of the way, the nu-metal tones of Saliva’s Click Click Boom brought us into the arena where pyro aplenty exploded and Jim Ross welcomed us to tonight’s show.

As was customary for this time, we also got a look at the hot crowd at WWF New York before Ross and broadcast colleague Paul Heyman took us to tonight’s opening match.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Team Champions The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy w/ Lita) vs. Lance Storm & WWF European Champion The Hurricane (w/ Ivory Molly Holly)

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - The Hurricane
So, The Hardyz had been holding the WCW tag team titles for a few weeks while Lance Storm and The Hurricane had formed a pretty solid tag team since we last saw them at Unforgiven 2001.

The Hurricane was still getting large babyface reactions but judging by the story we were told by JR and Heyman, we were supposed to believe that he was a heel.

Speaking of the announcers, you have to give them credit for bringing up Hurricane Helms’ real-life history with The Hardyz in their Omega promotion.

That aside, this was a tremendous opening contest that whipped the crowd into a frenzy very early on and only got better as it built towards a gripping climax.

That came when all three women got involved in the match causing a big mid-ring kerfuffle. That led to Jeff Hardy landing a Swanton bomb and brother Matt picking up the three count.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: The Hardy Boyz

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - William Regal confronts Rob Van Dam
Backstage, Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam arrived at the arena and was immediately confronted by William Regal. Since the last PPV, Regal had defected from the World Wrestling Federation and joined The Alliance, helping his old WCW buddy Steve Austin recapture the title from Kirt Angle.

Tonight, Regal scolded RVD for hitting Austin with a frog splash on Smackdown and for having words with Vince McMahon. Van Dam was, after all, still technically an Alliance member.

Ever the cool character, RVD blew off Regal and strolled on into the arena.

Elsewhere in the arena, Vince McMahon just so happened to arrive in a limousine moments after his name had been mentioned. Honestly, you’d think this whole wrestling thing was scripted or something.

Anyway, McMahon refused to answer any of Michael Cole’s questions but did promise that he’d get all the answers he wanted -one way or another- over the course of tonight’s show.

Test vs. Kane

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Test pins Kane
As Kane made his way to the ring, Jim Ross reminded us that this was the very same arena where The Big Red Machine made his debut back at Badd Blood: In Your House 18 way back in October 1997.

Back then, he was The Undertaker’s sworn enemy. Tonight, he was on his brother’s good side and joining him in a feud against Booker T and Test which saw him go one on one with the latter.

The match was better than you probably imagined it being. Honestly, this fan was ready to dismiss it right from the get-go, but it turned into a pretty solid big man brawl.

Don’t get me wrong, this was never going to make it onto any ‘All-Time Must Watch Matches’ list, but both men brought their working boots (Test more than Kane) and gave us a decent contest despite a few moments of blatant sloppiness.

With heel referee Nick Patrick hamming it up as only he could and siding with his Alliance teammate wherever he could, Test eventually picked up the win after putting on a solid performance.
Your Winner: Test

Post-match, Kane gave Nick Patrick a couple of chokeslams and a powerbomb in revenge fun the referee’s various nefarious doings in the match.

Stone Cold Has No Time For Interviews

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Debra stops Coach interviewing Steve Austin
Out in the back, Jonathan Coachman knocked on Steve Austin’s dressing room door in the hopes of gaining an interview.

Instead, Debra answered the door and insisted that her husband didn’t want to talk to Coach. Austin would, however, talk to his wife and could clearly be heard giving her messages which she then relayed back to Coach.

It was -you have to believe me- much funnier than I’m making it sound. So funny in fact that Coach couldn’t keep a straight face. I honestly don’t think that was part of the show. Send for the man indeed.

Matt Hardy’s Close Call

Across the way, Stacy Kiebler made her way through the backstage area in readiness for her lingerie match with Tori Wilson. En route, she bumped into Matt Hardy and gave him an exclusive peek at her outfit.

Hardy was momentarily dumbfounded and started off after her until his girlfriend Lita arrived on the scene.

Acting as nothing happened, Matt cuddled and kissed Lita tight while, over her shoulder, expressing a sigh of relief that she hadn’t caught him ogling Stacy.

Lingerie Match
Stacy Kiebler vs. Torrie Wilson

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Stacy Kiebler faced Torrie Wilson in a lingerie match
For what it’s worth, Kiebler had theme music that sounded like a demo version of Sable’s old theme.

As for the match, well, it was the typical two-women-rolling-around-in-their-knickers deal that was so popular back in the day.

That’s no knock on Stacy and Torrie. The girls did their best with what they had without wearing anything more revealing than what your typical female performer wears today.

It was alright, but neither as sexy nor as funny as the company wanted you to believe.

Torrie Wilson won by rolling up Stacy and giving her a good ol’ slap on the bum for good measure.
Your Winner: Torrie Wilson

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Vince McMahon wishes Kurt Angle luck
Backstage, Vince McMahon interrupted Kurt Angle’s interview with Michael Cole to wish him luck in tonight’s main event.

Angle tentatively accepted the Chairman’s handshake but insisted that he didn’t need luck because tonight he was going to whoop everybody’s ass and reclaim his title.

In another room, Lillian Garcia interviewed Intercontinental Champion Christian about his rematch with brother Edge.

The future Captain Charisma has scored a somewhat surprising win over Edge at Unforgiven, capturing the IC title in the process. Tonight, he promised to do the same again in a ladder match, though not before rounding off his promo with the first thing you learn at How to Be A Heel School:

Insulting the local sports team.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Christian vs. Edge

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Edge faced Christian in an Intercontinental title ladder match
Prior to the bell, we got a look back to the moment on Raw when Christian tricked Edge into thinking their mom had been into an accident, only to lure him into a beat down at the hands of Mike Awesome and -if I recall correctly- Hugh Morrus.

Paul Heyman had then revealed that Christian was now a member of The Alliance, the only logic behind that move being that the Intercontinental Champion was a heel.

The bell then rang and this slowly but steadily built up into a terrific ladder match where each spot got progressively more dramatic and jaw-dropping over the course of 20+ minutes.

It’s difficult to watch a ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship and not think of Shawn and Razor at Wrestlemania 10 and Summerslam 1995

Edge vs. Christian at No Mercy 2001 isn’t really talked about with the same reverence as those two classics, but I think that’s only because of the context. Had this taken place in a time period when we weren’t bombarded with excellent matches week in, week out, then this too would be talked about as a classic.

Ok, so you could argue that, as the match wore on, there was too much dead space between each increasingly-elaborate spot. I’ll be honest, even though I knew both champ and challenger had to sell as they’d just almost murdered one another, the fact that they just played dead for a while then got up and walked straight into the next clearly orchestrated spot was a little off-putting.

Still, those spots were so breathtakingly brutal that it was always worth the wait.

After a lengthy battle, Edge hit his brother with a Con-Chair-To on top of two ladders. As Christian toppled to the floor, the challenger reached and reclaimed his gold to win the match.
Your Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Edge

For those keeping score, Edge was now a three-time IC Champion.

Spike is a Ladies’ Man

Over at WWF New York, little Spike Dudley was seen nursing a beer. The diminutive Dudley had been through a rough time lately. First, his girlfriend Molly Holly left him for The Hurricane, then he got elevated about a thousand feet in the air by Bubba Ray and D’Von and crashed through a table on Smackdown in an awesome spot that I recommend you check out.

It was because of the latter that he wasn’t competing with his usual partner, The Big Show, tonight,

In kayfabe at least, said table spot had temporarily put Spike out of commission, meaning he was left to root on Show and his temporary stand-in, Tajiri, from the WWF New York bar.

Not that Spoke seemed to upset. He was soon approached by an attractive woman and basically ignored Paul Heyman's questions because we were now supposed to believe that Spike was a bonafide ladies' man.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D'Von) vs. The Big Show & Tajiri

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Bubba Ray Dudley is ready for action
Despite the odd-couple pairing of Show and Tajiri, this was a surprisingly very entertaining match.

Both teams provided a change of pace from the drama and intensity of the earlier ladder match and yet still worked hard to ensure the fans got their money's worth from this show.

As the match neared its end, Big Show looked to be in complete control only for Rhyno to appear, nail him with a Gore, and take him out of action. That allowed The Dudleyz to plant Tajiri with the 3D and retain their gold.

Honestly, on paper, this shouldn't have been up to much, but it was definitely a solid match and a surprise highlight of the show.
Your WInners: The Dudleyz

Out in the back, recent Alliance recruit William Regal congratulated Rhyno on taking initiative. Rhyno responded by saying that he'd done it because the Alliance was becoming a joke to people and if he had to stop that by himself, he would. Unfortunately for Rhyno, The Alliance was well beyond saving as the next match would prove.

Elsewhere in the arena, Shane McMahon and Test got Booker T psyched about his upcoming match with The Undertaker.

Booker T vs. The Undertaker

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - The Undertaker ready to strike Booker T
While the last match may not have looked great on paper but ended up delivering the goods, this one was the opposite. To be honest, I was looking forward to this and thought it could be a unique match between two stalwarts of their respective organizations.

Instead, it seemed to be a lot of armbars, a brawl through the crowd, and a bunch of nothing. I'm sure this match had its fans, but I think sometimes a match can have all the right ingredients and still not connect. 

This was one of those matches. It was by no means awful, but it just didn't do it for this fan.

Undertaker put Booker away with the Last Ride for the three count.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

Backstage, Chris Jericho told Jonathan Coachman that tonight, he was finally going to win the big one. Although it was an obvious thing for anyone to say when challenging for a title, it made more sense than most here as the whole storyline going into Jericho's match with The Rock was that The Great One had reminded him over and over again that Jericho had never been able to win a world title.

Indeed, even when Y2J hit the ring, Jim Ross had to tell us that this was Jericho's first WCW title shot despite wrestling in that company from 1996 - 1999.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Rock vs. Chris Jericho 

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Chris Jericho beat The Rock for the WCW title
I'm just going to say it - this was a damn fine match.

Things started hot, with The Rock getting the better of his opponent at every turn until the challenger was finally able to get some sort of offense going and begin to dominate.

Back and forth they went, with every twist and turn to add more drama to what was fast becoming a compelling story.

At one point, the action spilled to the outside where the champion killed his opponent dead with a rock bottom through the Spanish announce table, but even that wasn't enough to seal the deal. 

Jericho fought back and locked Rocky in a Walls of Jericho only for Stephanie McMahon to head to ringside brandishing a steel chair. Though it looked as though she was aiming to assist Rock, the champion hurled the ECW owner into the ring and hit her with a rock bottom. The distraction allowed Jericho to slam Rock's face into the chair on the canvas, make the pin, and finally win the WCW title after what was a very good match indeed.
Your Winner and New WCW Champion: Chris Jericho

Afterward, Jericho gloated to Steph about his big win before being confronted by The Rock. The Great One was clearly pissed off as he thrust the offending chair in the new champion's face.

Backstage, we got an ominous look at Mr. McMahon's dressing room before a final video package for tonight's main event.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. WWF Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam vs. Kurt Angle

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - RVD lets Steve Austin know exactly who he is
Was the first time a reigning hardcore champion had headlined a PPV? I can't be sure, and to be honest, I'm not going to spend too much time researching it, but I honestly do think so. 

Of course, the hardcore title wasn't actually on the line tonight. It was all about Austin's WWF title in a match that tried really hard to outmatch the earlier Rock/Jericho encounter and almost - almost managed it.

Indeed, this was a very good effort, even if the tried and tested two-guys-fight-while-the-other-takes-a-nap-then-breaks-up-the-fall routine did come across as a little messy at times.

There was also involvement from Vince and Shane McMahon, with the former drilling Austin with a chair and the latter preventing Angle from getting the pin on RVD, all of which felt rather unnecessary, but otherwise, this was a very enjoyable main event with plenty of big-time moves.

Austin won by taking out RVD with a stunner, but before that, there was a lot to like about this match, and about the show as a whole.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Afterward, a bloody and battered champion staggered up the entrance way as Vince McMahon looked on, furious.







WWF No Mercy 2001 was not a perfect show. The Undertaker/Booker T match was underwhelming, and despite their best efforts, Edge and Christian got the pacing of their ladder match all wrong.

That said, there was a lot to like. The opening tag team match pitting the Hardys against Lance Storm and Hurricane was fun. Torrie and Stacy did the best they could with what they had in their lingerie match. The Dudleyz vs. Big Show/Tajiri was a surprise highlight and the main event was delivered, but really, it was Jericho vs. The Rock that stole the show and is definitely a match that deserves repeat viewing.

Thursday, 4 February 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF Unforgiven 2001

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2001 - Event Poster
September 23, 2001
Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

WWF Unforgiven 2001 was the first World Wrestling Federation Pay Per View to be held in the wake of 9/11.

Unsurprisingly, and for good reason, this meant that the company were flying their star-spangled banner high, with a certain sense of American patriotism underlying their recent programming. 

It also meant that their own All-American Hero Kurt Angle -already serving as the #2 babyface behind The Rock at this point in time- was now perhaps more popular than he'd ever been, serving as the red, white, and blue hero that fans could truly get behind in this time of national healing.

So it was entirely fitting that it would be Angle who tonight would take on an outside threat - not the terrorists- but the leader of the invading Alliance group, WWF Champion, Stone Cold Steve Austin.

It was also fitting that this should all happen in Angle's own home state.

Would goodwill -and a tight ankle lock- prevail? Or would this be one instance where the evil outside force triumphed?

Let's find out by heading down to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the last Unforgiven show to be promoted under the WWF banner before the company changed its name to WWE.





WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2001 - Jennifer Holiday sang America The Beautiful

Please Rise for America the Beautiful

With the World Wrestling Federation still in full-blown patriot mode in the wake of 9/11, tonight’s show began with a stirring rendition of America the Beautiful courtesy of two-time Grammy-winner, Jennifer Holiday.

Credit where it’s due, Holiday not only had an awesome voice, she was pretty badass at working the crowd and looked genuinely touched by the applause she received.

From that touching moment, it was on to the violence and chaos of Unforgiven 2001.

Now I Dub Thee Unforgiven

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2001 - Paul Heyman & Jim Ross called the event
Things got underway properly with a short promo reminding us of the heated rivalry between Kurt Angle and Stone Cold Steve Austin and, to a lesser extent, the ongoing rivalry between Booker T and The Rock.

We’d see all four men in action later in the show, but first, we got our usual greeting from Jim Ross and Paul Heyman.

Ladies and gentleman, Unforgiven was underway.

Four-Team Elimination Match for the World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley) The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy) vs. WWF European Champion The Hurricane & Lance Storm vs. The Big Show & Spike Dudley

Having only just recently beaten Kane & The Undertaker for the tag team titles, Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley our them online in a very fun opening match in which everyone played their roles perfectly.

The early going saw a lot of fast-paced action between The Hardy Boyz, Lance Storm, Hurricane and Spike Dudley, all of which delighted an audience who were so loud you’d be forgiven for thinking you were watching a Rock ‘n’ Roll Express match back in the 80s.

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2001 - Lance Storm and The Hurricane teamed up in the opening match
Hurricane was especially popular which was interesting, partly because he’d only been doing the gimmick for a few weeks, but mostly because he was an Alliance member and thus technically a heel.

Even Big Show played his part well, sitting on the sidelines before coming in for some crowd-popping clobbering time and letting Little Spike jump off his shoulders to the outside, flattening everyone else in the match.

Show even got the first elimination, catching Lance Storm coming off the top and chokeslamming him into oblivion before Matt Hardy put Spike away to eliminate that team also.

With the two makeshift teams out of the way, that left us with the two established duos to go at it and give us everything you’d expect from a Dudleyz/Hardyz battle.

After an enjoyable effort, the champs hit the 3D on Matt Hardy only for Jeff to break it up with a last-minute Swanton.

Alas, it wasn’t enough, as Jeff and Bubba fell to the outside, a beaten up D’Von draped an arm over Matt to retain the gold.
Your Winners and Still WWF Champions: The Dudley Boyz

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2001 - Stephanie McMahon flirts with Rob Van Dam
Out in the back, Stephanie McMahon let Hardcore Champion Rob Van Damn know that if there was anything she could do -you know, anything- to help him beat Chris Jericho, then she was more than happy to.

Of course, being The Whole Damn Show, RVD didn’t need anyone’s help, though he did get Steph’s permission to claim the biggest dressing room in the arena for himself.

Back in the arena, Michael Cole interviewed Kurt Angle’s mom and brother about the homestate hero’s championship match against Steve Austin.

Honestly, it was only slightly less awkward than the time Todd Pettingill interviewed The Steiner Brothers’ family back at Summerslam 1993.

Raven (w/ Terri) vs. Perry Saturn

These two had a memorable bout back at WCW Fall Brawl 1998 when they feuded over Saturn trying to free The Flock.

Three years later, they were at war again, this time because Saturn had fallen in love with a mop and dumped the ever-gorgeous Terri in favor of the cleaning appliance, prompting the former Marlena to align herself with Raven and put Moppy through a wood chipper.

The story was so dumb that Jim Ross and Paul Heyman decided to spend more time talking about their history in WCW and the aforementioned freeing of The Flock. It was a smart move.

The actual match was OK, but nobody really seemed to care and even the best spots of the match were played out to almost total silence.

In the end, Saturn got the win and the crowd popped for the first time in the whole match.
Your Winner: Saturn

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2001 - Lilian Garcia interviews Christian about his match with Edge
Since King of the Ring, Christian had become increasingly jealous of his brother Edge, eventually turning on him in front of their hometown audience in Toronto on Raw.

It had been a well-done story so far and was about to come to a head with Christian challenging Edge for the Intercontinental Championship.

First, however, the future Captain Charisma stopped by the backstage area to cut a decent promo, telling Lillian Garcia that turning his back on Edge was worth it if it meant him becoming our new IC champion.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Edge vs. Christian

Christian! Christian! At last, you’re on your own!

What a theme that was!

Speaking of themes, this was the first WWF PPV in which Edge used Never Gonna Stop by Rob Zombie as his theme.

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2001 - Intercontinental Championship match: Christian vs. Edge
As for the actual match, while I doubt anyone would consider it an all-time classic (and certainly not an instant one), it was still a very good contest.

After a fired up Edge got his revenge on Christian by beating him from pillar to post, the match turned into a story of the two brothers and tag team partners who knew each other so well that they would constantly trade the advantage and counter each other’s moves.

Things got more heated and more violent until Christian brought in a couple of chairs ready to hit the Con-Chair-to on his brother.

Instead, Edge made a comeback and looked to hit the same move only for the referee to grab the chair out of his hand.

As the champion argued with the official, Christian grabbed the second chair, whacked his opponent in the goolies with it and became -at least for the time being- our new champion.
Your Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Christian

You know, it’s only at this stage that I realised Paul Heyman was wearing an ECW Anarchy Rulz laminate. I wonder if they let him in the arena with that acting as his backstage pass?

Stevie Richards Gets Kronik

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2001 - Jonathan Coachman interviews Kane & Undertaker about their match with Kronik
I noticed this as Heyman and JR introduced us to a video package introducing our next match.

Stevie Richards had recently attacked The Undertaker in retribution for the American Bad Ass breaking up Right to Censor months back.

The two met on Smackdown, only for Brian Adams and Brian Clarke to appear and attack ‘Taker. That, ladies and gentleman, would lead us to tonight’s Ill-fated WCW tag team title match, but not before the champions, Taker and Kane, stopped by for a few words with Jonathan Coachman.

In a solid interview, Undertaker told Coach he had no problem getting beaten up by Kronik but was more than a little miffed at Richards reminding everyone about the RTC when that was the one thing most people wanted to forget about.

Tonight, he swore that he and Kane would drop Adams & Clarke on their heads.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions Kane & The Undertaker vs. Kronik (Brian Adams & Bryan Clarke w/ Steven Richards)

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2001 - Steven Richards leads Kronik into battle
OK, so before we get into this legendarily awful match, here’s some fun facts.

This was Kronik’s first PPV appearance since WCW Superbrawl Revenge in February of that year.

It was Brian Adam’s first WWF PPV appearance since Survivor Series ‘97 and Bryan Clark’s first WWF PPV since Wrestlemania 10 when he lost to Earthquake in a mere 35 seconds. Of course, that’s not including the Adam Bomb vs. Kwang match that served as a dark match for Summerslam ‘95.

Speaking of Bryan Clark, did you see his mugshot after he got arrested last year? I could barely tell it was the same guy.

Now, onto one of the most famous bad matches of all time.

Was it really all that terrible? And was it really all Kronik’s fault?

I mean, not really.

Sure, it was certainly bad, and sure, Adams & Clark weren’t exactly five-star caliber performers, but at least they were in shape.

Undertaker and Kane (especially Kane) both looked heavy and sluggish, while Kane was visibly hampered by his recent staph infection.

All four men moved at snail's pace. Basic moves like a neck breaker looked like they were being performed by a kid on his first day at wrestling school rather than by veteran performers, and Adams even managed to mess up his shoulder breaker on Kane even though it was one of only five or so moves he had in his repertoire and had done it countless times.

Even worse though, was The Undertaker, who couldn’t even be bothered to make his moves look like they connected. Punches and a knee lift, in particular, landed in the next state over and looked dumb.

So yes, it was bad, but it wasn’t the worse thing you’ve ever seen.

Long-time readers of Retro Pro Wrestling will know that all bad matches are compared to the worst match of all time, Adrian Adonis vs. Uncle Elmer at Wrestlemania 2, and it certainly wasn’t that bad.

I’m also inclined to agree with RD at Wrestlecrap who quite rightly noted that this was nowhere near as awful as ‘Taker’s Wrestlemania 9 match with Giant Gonzales, but yeah, it was still pretty terrible all the same.

In the end, Kane and Taker won and Kronik would never be seen on WWF television ever again.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: Kane & Undertaker

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2001 - Tazz speaks to Booker T and Shane McMahon
Backstage, Tazz annoyed his Alliance cohorts Shane McMahon and Booker T by telling them that it would be pretty embarrassing if they couldn’t beat The Rock in tonight’s two-on-one handicap match.

Across the arena, Stephanie McMahon hung around outside RVD’s dressing room, flirting with him through the door and insisting that if he beat Jericho it would be a great birthday present for her and, in return, she’d make his time in the Alliance very -ahem- pleasurable.

Little did Steph know that Jericho was stood behind her. Y2J mocked Steph and her recent boob job then headed to the ring for our next match.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho

Make no mistake about it, Rob Van Dam had come into his own as a true superstar during the Invasion angle and was by far the most popular member of The Alliance.

Before, I mentioned how The Hurricane was receiving large pops despite his Alliance membership making him a heel by default. The reception Shane Helms got however was nothing compared to the kind of ovation that greeted RVD on every show throughout the invasion.

His popularity could be partly explained by his cooler-than-cool character, and partly because every time he stepped foot in the ring he had awesome matches like this one with Chris Jericho.

Like the E/C match from earlier, this one may not be in anyone’s top five matches of all time, but it was still incredibly good and utterly compelling from start to finish.

Exactly what you’d imagine a match between these two to be like, albeit even better thanks to the freedom afforded to them by hardcore rules, this was easily the best match on the show so far.

However, like all good things, this one had to come to an end, and did so when Stephanie McMahon distracted her nemesis Y2J, giving RVD the chance to plant his opponent and flatten him with a match-winning frog splash.
Your Winner and Still Hardcore Champion: Rob Van Dam

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2001 - The Rock faced Booker T for the WCW title
No one gets as high as Rob Van Dam,” said Paul Heyman as we watched the replay of the five-star frog splash. 

Heyman absolutely knew what he was doing with that line.

Out in the back, Shane O’ Mac reminded Booker T that the most important thing was simply bringing the WCW title back to the Alliance regardless of who won. Clearly, we’d see some dissension in the ranks tonight.

Prior to that match, we got another video package that featured Rey Mysterio’s old WCW theme music as the soundtrack.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship Handicap Match
WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Rock vs. Booker T and Shane McMahon

Sadly, this one was pretty disappointing.

Sure, it had its flashes of excitement and the crowd certainly appreciated the big moments such as The Rock popping up to his feet and stopping Shane in his tracks just as he was about to land a ‘Shane-O Elbow,’ but between those moments were long -and I mean *long* periods were very little of note happened.

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2001 - The Rock faced Booker T for the WCW title
Things picked up as the match went into the finish, but by that point, the whole thing had dragged on for what felt like an eternity so it was almost impossible to give a crap.

In the end, The Rock won this mediocre contest with a rock bottom. That was bad news for Booker T. Despite having an extra man on his team, a clearly biased referee (Nick Patrick) working in his favor and a run-in from Test, he still wasn’t able to win the match, making him look like a chump.
Your Winner and Still WCW Champion: The Rock

Backstage, we were reminded of the bizarre storyline in which we were supposed to believe Torrie Wilson had it bad for US Champ and William Regal’s assistant, Tajiri.

In Regal’s office, The Commissioner declared that he’d been thinking of banning anyone from being at ringside during Tajriri’s match with Rhyno in order to prevent shenanigans.

Understandably upset, Tajiri and Torrie tugged on Regal’s heartstrings until he gave the WCW beauty permission to accompany her man to ringside.

Speaking of WCW beauties, over at WWF New York, we were supposed to believe that WWF had simply allowed Alliance member Stacy Kiebler to saunter into the venue and occupy the stage despite the two factions being at war.

The former Miss Hancock showed us a video of her shaving her legs in the bath which was set to Sunny’s old theme music. Paul Heyman nearly had a heart attack at the very sight, acting as if Stacy was, I don’t know, visibility masturbating rather than just tending to her personal grooming routine.

Look, I’m not saying Stacy wasn’t stunning, but I’m not sure if a woman shaving her legs is really as hot as Paul E. made it out to be.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW U.S. Champion Tajiri (w/ Torrie Wilson) vs. Rhyno

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2001 - Rhyno faced Tajiri for the US title
So, here we had two men who (at the time) were best known as ECW stars fighting for a WCW title on a WWF PPV.

Though the match was clearly designed to provide a little breathing room between the two main events, it actually proved to be a fun match in its own right.

Relatively short and to the point, this enjoyable little battle came to an end when Rhyno gored Tajiri into oblivion to claim the gold.
Your Winner and NEW US Champion: Rhyno

Finally; after one last hype video, it was onto our main event.

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

The outcome of this match was always a foregone conclusion.

Kurt Angle was the All-American babyface competing in his home state just weeks after 9/11 with his family sitting in the front row, so there was no way he was losing tonight.

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2001 - Steve Austin defended the US title against Kurt Angle

Thankfully, Angle and Austin made us forget about that for a while by telling a compelling story centered around both men’s previous neck injuries.

From a technical standpoint, this wasn’t as great as it could have been, but the story and psychology more than made up for it.

After a good effort, Angle made Austin tap to the ankle lock and won the match. However, Stone Cold visibility had his hand under the bottom rope.

No doubt this would be brought up the following night on raw.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Kurt Angle

Post-match, a short-haired Karen Angle led the Angle clan into the ring to celebrate with the new champion. 

Then, The Rock led the entire WWF roster to the ring to congratulate Angle.

It was a surprisingly emotional ending to the show.






And so, the All-American Hero had prevailed against the leader of the evil, outside invading force in a move that should not have surprised anybody.

Sure, the outcome of tonight's show may have been a forgone conclusion, and there wasn't much in the way of game-changing moments, but that doesn't make WWF Unforgiven 2001 a bad show.

You could argue that the underwhelming Rock/Booker T match, the Kronik disaster and nothing matches like Saturn vs. Raven made it a bad show, but that would perhaps be a bit overly harsh.

The main event, the hardcore title match, Edge vs. Christian, and even the opening multi-man tag match were all enjoyable enough to save Unforgiven from being a complete waste of time.

Not the best show in the world then, but certainly not the worst. 

Friday, 29 January 2021

PPV REVIEW: NWA - The Great American Bash 1988 (The Price of Freedom)

NWA The Great American Bash 1988 (The Price of Freedom) - Event Poster
July 10, 1988
Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland

Over the years, The Great American Bash would go on to become one of World Championship Wrestling's flagship Pay Per Views, a mainstay of their events calendar that was held every single year until their demise in 2001.

It would also prove to be a show with an interesting history.

Though the 1988 Great American Bash wasn't the first event of its kind, it was significant in other ways, being the last National Wrestling Alliance PPV as well as the last NWA event presented by Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP). 

In 1988, JCP was on the verge of bankruptcy and was purchased by Ted Turner. Thus, World Championship Wrestling was born and the next PPV, Starrcade 1988 was produced by WCW though still considered to be an NWA event. 

Anyway, that brief history lesson aside, let's head to Baltimore, Maryland to see what went down at The Great American Bash 1988.







The Price of Freedom

NWA The Great American Bash 1988 (The Price of Freedom) - Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone called the action
Tonight's show began with a simple, old-school opening which presented us with the marquee matches over some typically 80s music.

We then cut direct to the arena where tag team champions Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard awaited their opponents' arrival, all without any of the usual introduction that we'd normally get from the announce team.

National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship
NWA World Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. Sting & Nikita Koloff

The most surprising thing here was that, since we last saw him at Bunkhouse Stampede back in January, Nikita Koloff had spouted a full head of hair and was now rocking a major flattop.

He and Sting made their way to the ring accompanied by a thunderous ovation to the live crowd. After the introductions, Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross finally made their presence felt, with Schiavone informing us that the crowd had literally exploded.

That must've been pretty messy.

What certainly wasn't messy was this match.

With the audience lapping up their every move, Sting and Koloff took the fight to their opponents in an intense opener that only dragged part way through when they worked Tully Blanchard's arm for half a year.

That weak spot aside, this was a fun contest with the challengers dominating far more babyfaces usually do in tag team matches.

After a figuratively explosive closing sequence, Sting locked in the Scorpion Death Lock on Tully, but the time limit expired before the champion could surrender.
Time-Limit Draw

After the bell, Nikita and Sting thought they'd won and celebrated with the title belts, only to be disappointed when Garry Michael Capetta announced the draw.

Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone then attempted to hype us up for our next match, only to be interrupted by the sight of Sting and Koloff kicking some horsemen butt.

NWA United States Tag Team Championship
NWA US Tag Team Champions The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers) vs. The Midnight Express (Beautiful Bobby Eaton & Sweet Stan Lane w/ Jim Cornette)

If The Fantastics win, Jim Cornette receives 10 lashes.

NWA The Great American Bash 1988 (The Price of Freedom) - Jim Cornette led The Midnight Express into battle against The Fantastics
Prior to the match, Jim Cornette got on the microphone to introduce his men. Sweet Stan Lane then returned the favor, letting us know that James E. was the man who sold Mike Tyson his first workout video.

OK then. 

Rather than the bell ringing and the action commencing, Cornette was next ordered into a straight jacket and forced into a shark cage that was hoisted high in the air, which was apparently the only way anyone could be sure that Jimmy wouldn't interfere in the match.

Though all this pre-match stuff went on far too long, you really have to give credit where it's due: Cornette sold the whole thing superbly and was absolutely priceless in his role.

Once the bell finally sounded, the match got underway and quickly turned into a very enjoyable tag bout. There was nothing fancy about it nothing out of the ordinary, it was just a solid wrestling match that was fast-paced for the time period and had nary a dull moment in sight.

The end came when Beautifully Bobby Eaton smacked Bobby Fulton in the mush with a chain-wrapped fist.

One three count later, new US tag team champions were crowned.
Your Winners and NEW NWA United States Tag Team Champions: The Midnight Express

Post-match, Fulton and Tommy Rogers protested, trying to convince referee Tommy Young that an international object had come into play. 

Doing his due diligence, Young searched Eaton and found nothing, only to discover that the chain was stuffed down Fulton's tights. The referee's decision stood. The Midnights were the champions, but The Fantastics were -understandably- quite PO'd about it. 

Exacting their revenge, they waited until Cornette's cage had been lowered, dragged him into the ring, and gave him a whipping with Young's belt.

The Tower of Doom is Imminent 

The Tower of Doom concept is perhaps best remembered from its ill-fated use in the main event of WCW Uncensored 1996, when Macho Man Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan from cage to cage, laying waste to everyone in sight in a dimly-lit and generally terribly presented concept.

That, however, was far from the first time it was used. 

Tonight, we'd see the triple-decker cage serve as the setting for a big eight-man clash pitting The Road Warriors, Dr. Death Steve Wiliams, and the Brothers Garvin against The Varsity Club, Al Perez, The Russian Assasin, and Ivan Koloff.

Before we got to the actual match, however, we first had to wait while the cage was put into place.

In the modern age, this would be the point at which we'd be distracted with some backstage promos or video packages. This being the NWA in the late 1980s, however, we instead got nothing more than a hard camera view of the cage being setup, with one briefly funny moment in which we saw security chasing after some nefarious ner-do-weller in the crowd and escorting him out of the arena. 

Tommy Young -whose job was to operate the trapdoor between the top and middle cage- then scaled to the pinnacle of the structure and spent at least four decades trying to figure out how the trapdoor contraption worked. 

Young looked terrified the entire time and would spend the entire contest clinging on for dear life.

Tower of Doom Cage Match
Ron Garvin, Jimmy Garvin, Dr. Death Steve Williams and The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal w/ Paul Ellering) vs. The Varsity Club (Kevin Sullivan & Mike Rotunda), Ivan Koloff, The Russian Assasin, and Al Perez (w/ Gary Hart and Paul Jones)

NWA The Great American Bash 1988 (The Price of Freedom) - Precious played an important role in the Tower of Doom cage match
OK, so here's how this one worked. 

Two men would start at the top of the cage while everybody else stayed on the ground. Every two minutes, a ladder would sound and a clearly petrified Tommy Young would open the trapdoor, allowing the men to escape down into the second cage while a new man from each team scaled a giant ladder and entered the cage.

The object was to escape down into the third, bottom cage around the ring. There, Precious would be waiting to open the cage, and the first team to get all five men back to the arena floor would be declared the winners. 

The match wasn't great by any stretch, but it was infinitely better than the aforementioned Uncensored '96 debacle and it was at least easy to see what was going on.

Towards the end, it all came down to Jimmy Garvin and Kevin Sullivan. 

With the cage door open, Sullivan actually pushed Garvin out of it, essentially giving his opponent's team the win. 

At first, that seemed like the most nonsensical finish to a match ever, but then the post-match happened, and suddenly everything made sense.
Your Winners: Team Garvin

You see, this whole feud was centered around Sullivan wanting Precious. So, since she'd been in the ring the whole time, he was willing to sacrifice a win to lock himself in the cage with her. 

As he did this, the other wrestlers brawled around ringside (I think fellow varsity club man Rick Steiner also got involved here) until Jimmy Garvin and Road Warrior Hawk scaled the top of the cage, worked their way down, and rescued the blonde beauty. 

As a side note, its interesting that we're almost 90 minutes into this thing and so far there's only been three matches. To be fair, about 20 of those minutes were waiting for the cage to be set up. 

National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA US Champion Barry Windham (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. Dusty Rhodes

NWA The Great American Bash 1988 (The Price of Freedom) - Barry Windham (w/ J.J Dillon) defended the US title against Dusty Rhodes
So, Dusty Rhodes had once been Barry Windham's mentor, but then Windham had turned heel and joined The Four Horsemen, leading to tonight's title match. 

Though not very high on action, this was a perfect example of less is more. The challenger received a huge ovation from the live audience for doing simple things like hitting an arm-drag, punching Windham in the face, and dropping the elbow on his head, while the champion used his strength and height advantage to eventually overpower Rhodes.

It was compelling enough to keep you emotionally invested in the match without either man having to overexert themselves.

This was especially the case when Windham clamped the claw on Dusty's head and held it there for the next 18 years. I've seen other reviewers and fans criticize this spot and, admittedly, it did go on a bit long, but personally, this writer found it very entertaining.

Windham slapped on the claw, Dusty went down and almost past out but then got a second wind and threatened to break out of it, only to nearly pass out again. He then got a third wind, a fourth, and so on, until eventually making his big triumphant comeback.

At that point, he threw Windham off the turnbuckles, knocking the referee out in the process. That allowed Ronnie Garvin to come in and turn heel, knocking Dusty's lights out so that Windham could get the cover, the count, and the match.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Barry Windham 

Post-match, Steve Williams ran in to check on Rhodes. 

Meanwhile, out in the back, James J. Dillon handed Ronnie Garvin a whole bunch of money for his role in the previous match. Garvin did his best Scrooge McDuck with the money then wandered off doing the kind of evil cackle you learn on Day 1 of Heel Wrestler School.

Garry Hart was there too and would be Garvin's manager during his heel run.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion 'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair vs. 'The Total Package' Lex Luger

NWA The Great American Bash 1988 (The Price of Freedom) - Ric Flair punishes Lex Luger with a figure four
For the most part, this was a solid main event based around the simple premise that the champion would have to use his cunning and cardiovascular conditioning to get the better of the much more powerful challenger.

Yet while Luger's strength and physical presence were certainly central to the match, he was far from as one-dimension as he'd become later in his career. Honestly, having only really known Luger from his work in the 1990s, it came as a surprise to this writer to see him throwing dropkicks around and hitting a sunset flip over the top rope.

This, combined with the fact that he dominated perhaps 2/3s of the contest made The Total Package look very impressive indeed, though alas simply being impressive wasn't enough for him to win the match, at least not when shenanigans and BS finishes are at play.

After trading the advantage between them, both men got thrown to the outside where Luger had his head introduced to the steel post on two separate occasions, first by Flair, then by Dillon. The move caused Luger to become busted open, though even that wouldn't stop him.

Back in the ring, the challenger regained control and lifted his opponent into the Torture Rack. The referee called for the bell and Luger leaped into the air in triumphant joy, celebrating what he thought was his big title win. 

Unfortunately, Tommy Young had actually called for the bell because the ringside representatives of the Maryland State Athletic Commission had decreed that Lex would have to lose the match because of the blood loss. This was Starrcade '84 all over again
Your Winner via Complete and Total Bullsh*t and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair

In the ring, Sting, Nikitta Koloff, and others who had joined Luger to celebrate now looked enraged at the stupid decision. It was stupid too. Luger may have been bleeding, but it was a minor cut compared to the proverbial crimson mask we'd seen on previous shows.







All in all then, you could say that The Great American Bash was a decent show dampened by terrible booking. The Luger/Flair main event was very entertaining for its time until the ridiculous finish. I get that it's one way to keep the title on Flair while still making Luger look strong, but there are better and more logical ways to do that.

Elsewhere, the two opening tag team matches were fun, the Rhodes/Windham match was alright for what it was, and the Tower of Doom was interesting purely for the spectacle of it.

Not a must-see show by any stretch, but certainly not one you'll regret watching.



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Friday, 22 January 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF Summerslam 2001

August 19, 2001,
Compaq Center at San Jose, San Jose, California

Finally...The Rock had come back...

...To the World Wrestling Federation.

After losing the World Wrestling Federation title to Stone Cold Steve Austin in the main event of Wrestlemania 17, The Great One had been "suspended" by Vince McMahon, allowing him to wander off and film The Scorpion King for a few months.

Then, on the July 30th edition of Monday Night Raw, The People's Champ returned to a company that was now at war with the WCW/ECW Alliance.

With both sides vying for his services, Rock had first hit Vince McMahon with a Rock Bottom, teasing an allegiance with The Alliance, only to then do the same thing to Alliance boss Shane McMahon and pledge that he was, no matter what, a WWF guy.

Tonight, he would look to prove that by taking on WCW mainstay Booker T in a match for the WCW title as the Invasion storyline continued and WWF Summerslam 2001 came live from San Jose, California. 






Here's what went down.

 Let the Bodies Hit the Floor

For the past few weeks, Stephanie McMahon and her Alliance cohorts had been using the Drowning Pool hit, Let the Bodies Hit the Floor as their theme song.


Tonight, our show opened with the music video for that nu-metal banger interspersed with footage of the biggest stars from both sides of the battle for brand supremacy.


Heading live into the arena, pyro exploded and Jim Ross told us that the fans were hanging from the rafters. Sadly, JR didn’t pay tribute to Gorilla Monsoon by using the word literally.


The announcer was joined by Alliance man Paul Heyman to call this one, and with that, it was down to ringside.


World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Lance Storm vs. Edge

WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - Lance Storm wanted to be serious for a minute before his match with Edge
As we kicked things off, Lance Storm wanted to be serious for a minute but challenger Edge wanted no part of that.


He interrupted the champion’s pre-match promo and rushed straight into a solid opening contest.


A perfect choice to kick off the show, this was a very good back-and-forth battle in which both men worked hard.


Christian came down towards the finish, but his attempt to spear Storm went awry and he drilled his own partner instead.


One superkick later, Lance got the cover only for Edge to kick out, drill his adversary with a DDT and capture his second Intercontinental Championship.

Your Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Edge


Post-match, Christian handed his brother the title. Edge wanted to talk about that rogue spear, but Christian bailed, leaving the new champion to pose with his gold.


Treacherous Test


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - Michael Cole interviews Test & The Dudley Boyz
Early in the invasion, the superstars of the WWF has suspected Test of planning to betray them and so had beaten him up even though he had no such intentions.


As a result, he had defected to the other side and was now set to team up with The Dudleyz for our next contest.


Before the three of them got there, however, they were accosted by Michael Cole. Hilariously, Test called Cole a ‘little bitch’ before telling him all about how he was loyal to The Dudley Boyz.


Across the arena, Chris Jericho was supposed to be talking about his match with Rhyno but instead spent most of his promo talking about how Stephanie McMahon was a little promiscuous.


The APA (Farooq & Bradshaw) and Spike Dudley (w/ Molly Holly) vs. Test and The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley)

Most of this match was a decent yet unremarkable brawl until it suddenly exploded into an exciting finish.


Test picked up Spike Dudley and launched him to the outside through a table in a genuinely impressive spot. Looking to get revenge for his teammate, Bradshaw attacked but, with the referee distracted, Shane McMahon was able to get involved, waffling the Acolyte with a chair.


Test made the cover and that was all she wrote.

Your Winners: Test & The Dudley Boyz


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - Debra gives Shawn Stasiak a telling off
Out in the back, Edge was busy being congratulated by his peers when Christian arrived to announce that he has a European championship match against Matt Hardy on the following night’s Raw.

He was so excited about his title shot that he called his Grandma, but Grandma Edna was only interested in talking to Edge. 


Dissension loomed large in Team E&C.

Elsewhere in the arena, Shawn Stasiak burst into Debra’s dressing room to bemoan his lack of success in impressing Stone Cold Steve Austin.


The former Meat was convinced that Austin wasn’t taking him seriously because he was wearing pink tights with the word ‘Mecca’ written on the back.


“I don’t even know what Mecca means!” exclaimed Stasiak.


Debra didn’t either, nor did she care. 


She simply wanted Stasiak gone, and ordered him to go to the ring and kick some butt.


Title Unification Match
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Tajiri vs. WCW Cruiserweight Champion X-Pac


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - X-Pac faced Tajiri with both the WWF Light Heavyweight title and WCW Cruiserweight title on the line
This was another very good match. 

Tajiri was always a joy to watch, but X-Pac was certainly no slouch, bringing out his A-game and working much harder than he had done in a long time.


A fast-paced contest with plenty of unique spots, this one came to an end when ‘Pac’s buddy Albert got involved.


Tajiri was able to see off the intruder by blowing mist in his face but the distraction was enough for his opponent to land the X-Factor and win the match.

Your Winner and NEW Light Heavyweight Champion: X-Pac


Over at WWF New York, Perry Saturn put out a public appeal for the safe return of Moppy. Apparently, somebody had kidnapped the cleaning appliance and Saturn was desperate for ‘her’ safe return because he -and I quote- missed her so much.


Meanwhile, back in the arena, Stephanie McMahon demanded that Rhyno gore Chris Jericho into oblivion. The ECW star promised Steph that he would end Y2J once and for all.


Rhyno (w/ Stephanie McMahon) vs. Chris Jericho


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - Stephanie McMahon backed Rhyno in his match with Chris Jericho
The big story here was that Jericho and Steph hated each other, so McMahon recruited Rhyno -a man Y2J had never been able to beat- to destroy him.


Alas, it wasn’t to be Stephanie’s day. Nor Rhyno’s for that matter.


Despite punishing Jericho from pillar to post, the Man Beast failed to connect with a gore,l and went crashing into the corner before being rolled up and forced to submit to the Walls of Jericho.


Before that, the whole match was a solid effort that proved to be way better than this writer had anticipated.


Sure, it might not have been the best match of either man’s career, and I’m sure nobody mentions Rhyno/Jericho in any list of all-time classic Summerslam matches, but it was still an enjoyable bout nonetheless.

Your Winner: Chris Jericho


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - The Rock confronts William Regal
Backstage, William Regal stopped The Rock to ask whether The Great One was ok to compete after being Rock Bottomed through a table by Booker T on Smackdown.

The Rock swore that despite hurting, he was ready to kick Booker’s ass and become the WCW champion.


As the two were talking, Shawn Stasiak charged at them, screaming and ready to attack. Regal and Rock merely sidestepped and Stasiak crashes into the wall without the two WWF stars even acknowledging him once.


It was such a random move that you couldn’t help but laugh.


World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship Ladder Match
WWF Hardcore Champion Jeff Hardy vs. Rob Van Damn


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - Rob Van Dam faced Jeff Hardy for the Hardcore title
Summerslam had a history of great ladder matches in the form of Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon at Summerslam 1995 and HHH vs. The Rock -a match that’s still one of this fan’s all-time favourites- at Summerslam 1998.


Meanwhile, Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy had given us one of the most entertaining matches at the previous month’s Invasion PPV, so to say expectations were high for this one would be an understatement.


This match might not have been quite as good as HBK/Razor, but it was still a damn good effort and probably the best match you’ll ever see contested for the hardcore title.


Seriously, a belt that had been treated as a bit of a joke and which is perhaps better known today as the inspiration behind the 24/7 title was fought over here like it was the world title...OK, if not that then at least the IC.


Both men lay it all on the line, using their own bodies as weapons in what proved to be the kind of match that ‘Holy Sh*t’ chants were made for.


After an intense, spot-heavy battle, RVD retrieved the belt, but not before taking it to the limit with a Valiant Jeff Hardy.

Your Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Rob Van Dam


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - Shane McMahon presents Booker T with a special gift

Backstage, Shane O’Mac gave Booker T a very special gift - a pair of bookends (geddit?) made from the actual WWF announce table that Booker had Bookended The Rock through on TV recently.


Elsewhere, WCW tag team champions The Undertaker & Kane marched through the backstage area with Sarah in tow.


This led us to a video package highlighting their rivalry with WWF tag champs Chris Kanyon & DDP.


Both teams would meet in a title unification match next.


WCW & WWF Tag Team Title Unification Cage Match
WCW Tag Team Champions Diamond Dallas Page & WCW US Champion Chris Kanyon vs. WWF Tag Team Champions The Undertaker & Kane w/ Sarah.


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - Who Better Than Kanyon?
Jim Ross kept talking about The Undertaker’s string of successes in a cage, starting with his ear against Shawn Michaels at Badd Blood ‘97, continuing with the infamous match with Mankind at King of the Ring ‘98, and finishing up with the time he threw Rikishi off the roof at Armageddon 2000.


I’d point out that they were all Hell in a Cell match and thus not technically the same thing, but I won’t be so pedantic.


The rules here allowed for the classic pinfalls, submissions and cage escape means of victory, though that’s just about the only thing that was classic.


This would have worked so much better if they’d given Kanyon and DDP any opportunity to look like credible champions.


Instead, they basically got battered from pillar to post in what was essentially a long squash match. Seriously, there were jobbers on early 90s episodes of WWF Superstars who got in more offence against their opponents than Kanyon and Page did against Kane and The Undertaker.


After this overly-long, one-sided affair, Kanyon escaped the cage and left his partner high and dry. Dallas got his ass kicked by Undertaker, was powerbombed, pinned, and had any chance of ever being seen as a credible star again killed for good.

Your Winners and NEW Unified Tag Team Champions: Kane and The Undertaker


Prior to the next match, we got a video package highlighting the rivalry between Stone Cole

Steve Austin and Kurt Angle, part of which was set to Rey Mysterio’s old theme.


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


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - Kurt Angle puts Steve Austin in the ankle lock
Speaking of theme music, Austin had yet another new theme that I’d never heard before.


As for the match itself, it was quality stuff.


Sure, both men would have better matches in their careers, that fact only speaks volumes about their respective talents.


After all, this was still very good and, had Austin and Angle been lesser workers, it may well have been their finest hour.


As it was, it was an impressive brawl which amped up the drama to 11.


Austin battered his challenger to a bloody pulp, but the resilient Angle battled back, displaying a level of emotion and intensity that was off the charts and really added a sense of realism to the whole thing.


Honestly, you’ve never seen drama in a wrestling match until you’ve seen Kurt Angle, his face awash with blood, pain, passion, and tears, trying to rip Steve Austin’s ankle off.


Sadly. It wasn’t to be Angle’s night.


The cowardly champion beat up several officials, deliberately getting himself disqualified by WCW referee Nick Patrick.

Your Winner via Disqualification: Kurt Angle (Steve Austin retains the title)


Afterwards, a distraught Angle slapped Patrick in the ankle lock. It delighted the crowd but was nowhere near enough to console the crestfallen Olympian.


World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Booker T (w/ Shane McMahon) vs. The Rock


WWE / WWF Summerslam 2001 - The Rock wins the WCW title
And so it all came down to this - another entertaining match for a championship title, this time with Booker T putting The Big Gold Belt on the line against The Rock.


The match was a solid effort, though you got the feeling that the crowd were a little burned out after Austin/Angle as some parts of the contest definitely felt flat.


A cameo from the APA in which they took out Shane McMahon certainly livened things up, as did a number of the very entertaining spots Rock and Booker put together, but alas this one simply failed to top the previous contest.


After a good outing, Booker -who had spent a large percentage of the match in charge- took a moment to prematurely celebrate with a spinarooni, only to walk straight into a Rock Bottom and lose his title.

Your Winner and NEW WCW Champion: The Rock


Post-match, The Great One celebrities with his newly won gold.







On the whole, Summerslam 2001 was a stellar show from start to finish.


The Invasion has been heavily slated over the years, but it gave us the tremendous Jeff Hardy/RVD feud, and tonight, it gave us the excellent Austin vs. Angle match and strong outings from Edge and Storm, Rock and Booker, and X-Pac/Tajiri.


Only the tag team title cage match was actually bad. Everything else ranged from OK - Awesome and made this show if not a must-see then at least recommended.





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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.