WWF Raw Is War 1.01.2001
WWF RAW IS WAR
Monday, January 1st, 2001
Taped (12/29) from the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TX
List of WWF Champions at the time:
● WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Kurt Angle (10/22/2000)
● WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Benoit (12/10/2000)
● WWF World Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian (12/21/2000)
● WWF European Champion: William Regal (12/04/2000)
● WWF Hardcore Champion: Raven (12/25/2000)
● WWF Women’s Champion: Ivory (11/02/2000)
● WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Dean Malenko (4/27/2000)
~ This New Year’s Night edition of Raw comes on the air with highlights of Stephanie McMahon’s rampage on Smackdown. We then get a shot of Steve Austin arriving at the building (on time for once, even!) when Earl Hebner runs up to him saying that Stephanie wants to speak with him in her office. Austin says it’d better be about his title shot.
~ We then go to the intro with Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler welcoming us to the show. Tonight we’re having a mini-tournament for a title shot as The Rock faces Kane and Undertaker faces Rikishi with the winners of each match to meet on Smackdown. And the winner of the match on Thursday gets a shot at Kurt Angle and the WWF Championship on next week’s Raw.
- The Undertaker vs. Rikishi – #1 Contender’s Qualifying Match
As mentioned earier this is the first of three matches to decide Kurt Angle’s challenger next week. Rikishi did get that upset win over Taker last month but does anyone think he’s going to get two wins over him? Especially since Taker is a little mad at Rikishi taking him out after the main event on Smackdown? Taker rides out to the ring first and Rikishi comes out next but seems somewhat hesitant to get in the ring with Taker and just hangs out on the stage. Eventually Taker gets tired of waiting for him so he hops back on his bike and rides up the ramp to the stage as Rikishi tries to head to the back. Taker brings Rikishi back out and punches him toward the edge of the stage then winds up for one more shot but Rikishi blocks it and fights back. Both guys brawl down the ramp when Taker rams Rikishi into the steps before throwing him in the ring and the bell finally sounds to start this match. Taker whips Rikishi and hits a boot as we get a shot of The Rock watching the happenings from the lockerroom. Taker works Rikishi over in a corner then whips him into the opposite corner and connects with a clothesline. Rikishi rolls out to the floor to try and regroup but Taker goes after him and rams him into the announce table. Taker rolls Rikishi back in the ring but Rikishi legdrops him as he climbs in and finally gets in some offense. Taker tries to fight back but Rikishi regains control as we see Kane also watching backstage with great interest. Rikishi whips Taker when Taker comes back and grabs the throat but Rikishi headbutts out of the chokeslam. Rikishi superkicks Taker in the chest and Taker is reeling, still feeing the sit-down splash from last Thuusday. (I know, Taker actually selling something?) Rikishi stomps Taker down in a corner and Taker tries to rally then whips Rikishi and clotheslines him down. Rikishi is able to regain the advantage with a shot to Taker’s chest and follows it up with a belly-to-belly suplex. Rikishi then goes for the running butt splash in a corner but Taker sidesteps it and nails him with a clothesline. Taker decides to attempt the Last Ride and sets Rikishi up but can’t seem to get him up because of his sore ribs. Rikishi clothslines Taker and follows up with the massile legdrop to the chest. Rikishi whips Taker but lowers the head and Taker drills him with a DDT that somehow gets him the three! (4:58) So Taker does get his win back after all and moves on to meet the Rock/Kane winner on Smackdown. The match actually wasn’t that bad but the ending was a little sudden. Plus it’s surprising that a DDT would finish Rikishi off since Samoans are supposed to have hard heads. *½
~ Backstage Steve Austin barges into Stephanie’s office and assumes that she wants to talk about his title shot but Stephanie tells Austin he has to earn a shot like everyone else. Stephanie mentions what Austin said about loving to drink beer on Smackdown and that she has job for him as she pulls back a screen to reveal a table full of beer and a hot dog vendor. Stephanie tells Austin he’s going to be taking the vendor’s job tonight and has to sell all the beer as well as hot dogs. Stephanie reminds Austin he’s under WWF contract and if he doesn’t sell every ounce he’ll never get his title shot and walks off. Austin is less than thrilled while the vendor happily hands over his tray, vest and hat to him then wishes him luck. However the vendor taps him in the chest and of course that’s a mistake as Austin beats him down.
~ Back from break we get a replay of the previous segment in almost in its entirety beacuse we need more Stephanie.
~ We then see Kurt Angle arriving with Edge & Christian when Johnathan Coachman walks up for a quick interview and tells Angle about the two big matches tonight and Thrusday’s match to decide his challenger for next week. Angle is less than thrilled and once Coach mentions that Taker already won his match Angle gets even more worried. Edge tries to assure Angle that he can take anyone on since he’s like a superhero and Angle starts to lighten up. However that changes when Coach informs of them that they have the Dudleys and Chris Jericho in a tables match and all three of them are not happy.
- “The One” Billy Gunn & The Acolytes (w/Jacquelyn) vs. Val Venis, Bull Buchanan & The Goodfather (w/Steven Richards & Ivory)
Yes, Billy is still trying to get revenge for the Right To Censor putting Chyna on the shelf three weeks ago, especailly after the RTC parodied the Cyna interview on Smackdown. All six men go at it to start and Faarooq tosses Goodfather out of the ring and Billy stomps Val out as well. The others head out while Bradshaw whips Buchanan and hits a boot followed by a suplex for a two count. Bradshaw chops Buchanan and whips him into a corner but Buchanan runs up the buckles and hits a clothesline. Buchanan hits a backbreaker followed by a running legdrop that gets a two count. Buchanan whips Bradshaw into a corner and goes for a crossbody but Bradshaw catches him and hits the fallaway slam. Faarooq tags in and helps Bradshaw hit a double neckbreaker and covers for a near fall. Faarooq whips Buchanan into a corner and charges but eats a boot and Buchanan comes out with a boot. Goodfather tags in and chokes Faarooq with his boot then whips him and hits an elbow and an elbowdrop. Goodfather whips Faarooq again but Faarooq kicks the face. Billy tags in and demands Val face him and Val does tag in and Billy wails on him. Billy goes for a whip, Val reverses but Billy leapfrogs and hits a dropkick. Billy works Val over and whips him into a corner then charges but eats a boot and Val clotheslines him down. Val slams Billy then hops to the middle rope and goes for an elbowdrop but misses it. Billy rallies again and whips Val into a backdrop then hits a tilt-o-whirl slam and covers but the RTC’ers make the save. The Acolytes come in and clear Buchanan and Goodfather from the ring then head out and battle on the floor. Billy goes for a whip, Val reverses it but Billy comes back with a cobra clutch slam and grabs the pin. (4:16) Snore-inducing match. After the bell Billy sets Val up to finally hit that piledriver but Richards distracts him allowing Val to escape. And thus this feud continues. DUD
~ Backstage Steve Austin is checking out the hot dogs when Stepahnie walks up accusing him of eating his profits. Austin claims he’s having a problem with his mustard bottle before squirting mustard all over Stephanie’s fancy shirt. Stephanie runs into her office screaming while Austin asks if she wants onions with that as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break we get a replay of Stephanie’s mustard bath. We don’t need that much Stephanie, guys. We then find Austin sampling the beer in his tray as JR claims he’s performing quality control like a professional.
~ Elsewhere Stephanie is ranting to Vince McMahon over a speakerphone about Austin ruining her silk blouse and Vince tells her not to let Austin get under her skin like that, reminding her she’s a McMahon above all else. There’s a knock on the door and Trish comes in wanting to talk with Stephanie. Trish then greets Vince over the phone and the two share a conversation about how their holdiays went when Stephanie asks to please get back on track. Vince annoucnes that he wants Chris Benoit to defend the Intercontinential Title against Test. Stephanie isn’t happy and demands an explanation for this match but Vince claims he’s going through a tunnel and the call breaks off. Stephanie then tells Trish she hates her plastic smile and mentions the rumors of her being at a certain soup kitchen. Stephanie tells Trish that she may have her father wrapped around her finger but her tactics won’t work with her. Stephanie warns Trish there’s room for only one dominant female in the McMahon family and sends her on her way.
~ Again elsewhere Michael Cole interviews the Dudleys about the six-man table match against Kurt Angle, Edge & Chrsitian. D’von rants to Cole about it being time to bow down to the man and bodies laying in a pile of proken wood tonight. D’Von then points out a table Bubba has been working on that has ‘Edge’, ‘Christian’ and ‘Kurt’ spray painted on it. Bubba then says Angle and his pals have made this match personal and the Dudleys head out with the table in hand.
- WWF HARDCORE TITLE: Raven © vs. Tazz
Raven is out first with his shopping cart of plunder and pours some of it in the ring then gets on the mic declaring today the first day of the Year of the Raven. Raven says the fans will bear witness to the Raven Effect but gets interupted when Tazz comes out. Raven waffles Tazz with a trash can lid on the apron then goes out and slips a rope with a noose around Tazz’s neck and tosses him over the barrier into the crowd. Raven hits Tazz with the lid again as they make their way to the back and Tazz slaps on the Tazzmission but Raven escapes with a kick below the belt. Tazz slips the rope off his neck and hits Raven with a trash can. Raven crawls into the women’s restroom but Tazz pounds on him then gives Raven a swirlie in a filled toilet. Both men head out of the restroom when Tazz goes for a whip but Raven sends him into a nearby drink stand. Raven throws Tazz into a room and rams him into a beam. The Hollys suddenly swarm in with a pair or referees and Hardcore chucks a monitor at Raven who ducks it. The Hollys double-team both guys as Molly cheers on. Hardcore rams Raven through a door and into a wall when Steve Blackman appears and clocks Raven with a lid. Hardcore pounds on Blackman into another room when Molly tries to cover Raven but Crash pulls her off. Crash asks Molly what’s up when Tazz swings a chair at him but Crash ducks it and rams Tazz into the wall. Crash then covers Tazz (huh?) and the referee counts (what?!) but Raven sprays them with a fire extinguisher. Can someone tell me how Crash pinning Tazz (who isn’t the champion) would have won him the title? Even with this whole 24/7 rule wouldn’t the competitors still have the pin the actual champion to win? Raven breaks a 2×4 on Crash head then covers him and gets the three, even though Crash isn’t his opponent. (2:27) Dumb match made even dumber by some whacked booking with this 24/7 thing. DUD
Raven grabs his belt and tries to run away but Hardcore and Blackman are right behind him up the steps. However Hardcore and Blackman then start fighting each other allowing Raven to escape with his belt intact.
~ We then see Steve Austin is down to one can of beer and starts heading to the ring as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break Austin heads to the ring with the empty beer tray in hand and looks to take some time on the mic. Austin rants about Stephanie’s New Year’s resolutions last week while his resolution is to be WWF Champion again. Austin claims he sold all the beer and the hot dogs so he demands Stephanie come out and grant him his title shot now. Stephanie comes out in a new shirt and grabs a mic asking Austin who he thinks he’s talking to then gets an answer. Stephanie scoffs at Austin’s skills as a saleman feeling he couldn’t possibly have sold all the beer and the hot dogs then accuses him of either giving them away or maybe eating and drinking them all himself. Austin begs to differ as he shows the Acolytes and Jequeline on the TitanTron enjoying the hot dogs and beer they bought from him. Austin feels he won’t need the tray anymore but wants to see how Stephanie looks with it and hangs it over her neck before demanding his title shot. Stephanie responds by telling Austin he won’t embarass her like he did Vince but does ackwnoledge that Austin did do his job by selling the beer and claims to be a woman of her word. Stephanie promises to put Austin in the mix by having him face William Regal and Austin isn’t too happy with that until Stephanie mentions the winner will be added to what is now a three-way #1 contender’s match on Smackdown. Stephanie also tells Austin to not be surprised after he loses tonight to find his next job on Thursday is scrubing toilets. Austin warns Stephanie that he won’t be playing games with her and threatens to make 2001 the worst year of her life. Stephanie demands Austin take the tray off her and Austin pulls the tray away … ripping Stephanie’s top off with it. Stephanie flees the ring while covering herself up while Austin makes a joke about foam as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break we get a replay of the previous segment. I feel like someone’s ego is at work here with all these replays of the talking segments. Especially since they have one person in common.
- The Dudley Boyz & Chris Jericho vs. Kurt Angle, Edge & Christian – Tables Match
I could have sworn we had this match just last week but I guess tables are included to make it feel different. Anyway both Jericho and Bubba Ray suffered greatly at the hands of their three opponents on Smackdown so here’s their shot at revenge. Jericho is out first but decides to take some time on the mic and tell Stephanie she shouldn’t be really emabrassed since much of the lockerroom has already seen her undressed. The Dudleys are out with their table followed by Team ECK come out next but Angle gets on the mic and asks Bubba how his back is after he put him through a table. Edge takes the mic and asks Jericho about Stephanie slapping him in the face which Christian calls “slaptastic”. Jericho responds in his usual way before Angle and his pals rush the ring and it’s on.
All six men duke it out when Jericho tosses Christian through the ropes and Bubba tosses Angle out as well. Those guys spill out to the floor while in the ring Edge whips D’Von but D’Von comes back with a clothesline. D’Von rams Edge into Bubba’s boot then catches Christian with a right but Edge comes back with a clothesline. Edge gets in some stomps then tags Angle in and once again I’ll never understand why tables matches need tags. Angle hits a back suplex then tags Christian back in and Christian whips D’Von and hits a Russian legsweep. Edge tags in and hits an elbowdrop followed by a snap suplex then Angle tags in but D’Von starts to fight back. D’Von whips Angle into a corner and charges but eats a boot and Angle elbows him in the back of the head. Christian tags in and whips D’Von but D’von comes back with a hangman neckbreaker and both men are down. D’Von crawls to his corner and tags in Jericho and Jericho clotehslines Christian then decks Angle and Edge. Christian comes back and whips Jericho but Jericho comes back with a flying forearm and tees off on him. Angle and Edge head in but so does the Dudleys and everyone’s going at it before spilling out to the floor again. Angle and Bubba are in the ring when Angle whips Bubba into a corner and charges but Bubba sidesteps him. Bubba slams Angle and sets him up while D’Von climbs to the top rope and hits the “Wassup” headbutt. Bubba sends D’Von out and D’Von slides their tagged table in the ring but Edge whips D’Von into the barrier. Angle nails Bubba from behind and goes for a German suplex through the table but can’t seem to get Bubba up. Bubba reverses positions and goes to suplex Angle through the table but Christian moves it out of the way. Christian sets Bubba up for a suplex through the table but Bubba blocks it then tosses Christian over the ropes. Angle grabs Bubba for a belly-to-belly suplex through the table but Jericho is back in and he moves the table. Jericho whips Angle looking to bulldog him through the table but Angle cuts him down and pounds away on him. Angle then goes for an Olympic Slam through the table but Jericho lands on his feet then takes Angle down. Jericho puts Angle in the Walls of Jericho and Angle is tapping out even though submissions won’t do it here. Edge is in and makes the save for Angle but the Dudleys nail him with a 3D through the table for the win! (5:13) Wow, the Dudleys actually win a tables match for once! And they do it against the tag team champs as well! The Dudleys and Jericho celebrate while Christian tends to Edge who’s isn’t moving in the table wreckage. **
~ Backstage Test is getting ready for his match when Trish Stratus comes in but he’s not terribly happy to see her and tellsher to go back to her sugar daddy. Trish claims the rumors about her and Vince are just that, rumors, and insists that she was home for the holidays. Trish feels Test should appreciate her getting him his title shot tonight but Test responds by telling her he wants a match with Albert and if she can’t arrange it then she needs to just leave. Trish tries to convince Test that she had nothing to do with Vince or Albert and wants to see his career blossom. Trish asks Test to forget about Albert and focus on winning the Intercontinential Title, even offering to raise his hand once he wins. Test seems convinced and heads out with Trish but I think we can all see where this is going.
~ Back from break JR and Lawler announces tickets will be on sale this Saturday for the first XFL game which is just a month away.
~ We then get footage of William Regal leaving Stephanie’s office during the break with a smile on his face. I wonder what he’s so happy about. Unless…
- WWF INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE: Chris Benoit © vs. Test (w/Trish Stratus)
Test is flying solo after Albert ended their partnership on Smackdown but Trish apparently decided to stay with Test. Benoit pounces on Test to start and whips him but Test kicks the face and hits him with the Full Nelson slam. Test goes for a whip, Benoit reverses into a corner but eats an elbow and Test hits a gutwrench powerbomb. Benoit grabs Test’s arm trying to go for the Crossface but Test fights it off. Test goes for the pump-handle slam when Benoit floats over him and gets him down for the Crossface but can’t lock it in as Test grabs the bottom rope. Benoit refuses to release the hold but does break it before the count and hits a back suplex for a near fall. Benoit throws Test shoulder-first into the post and follows up with a legdrop then hits him with a backbreaker. Test starts to fight back when Benoit kicks away at him then comes off the ropes but runs into a big boot. Test climbs to the top rope but then sees Albert coming out so he dives off the ropes with a clothesline on him. Test pounds on Albert and throws him into the steps then heads back in the ring but Benoit chops away on him. Benoit goes for a whip when Test reverses it and plants him with a tilt-o-whirl slam but only gets a two count. Test hits the pump-handle slam then climbs to the top again but Trish goes over and shoves Test off to the mat. Test is down as Benoit quickly covers him and grabs the three to retain. (4:42) I guess Trish isn’t staying with Test after all. Benoit made this match watchable. *½
Trish tries to check on Albert when Test stares daggers at her to Trish decides to flee up the ramp instead. Test starts to chase after her but Albert is up and the two of them duke it out as referees try to break it up. So not only did they break up this team nobody cared out we now have to watch them feud. How is that better?
~ Backstage William Regal meets with Lt. Commissioner Debra and first asks her to cover up her distracting chest. Regal then says he just spoke to Stephanie and has some good news he wants Debra to pass along to Steve Austin, that there’ll be a surprise guest referee in their match to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Debra asks who this surprise referee is but Regal just says if he told her it wouldn’t be a surprise then heads out. Gee, I wonder who this guest referee can possibly be. I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.
~ Back from break we get a replay of Regal announcing a special guest referee for the main event tonight. The funny thing is Nitro wasn’t even on this week so there was really no need for all these replays.
~ Out in the arena Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn and Terri come out and join the commentary for the next match. Acutally Malenko is the one talking on the headset while Saturn and Terri just cuddle nearby on a single chair.
- The Hardy Boyz (w/Lita) vs. Kaientai
The Hardys and Lita are out first and glare out at Malenko who suggests Matt is a little smitten with Lita. Malenko says he’s shown he can beat Matt in the ring and if he wants to fight for Lita’s affection, so be it. JR asks Malenko why he’s lusting after Lita when he’s married but Malenko says his wife is married, not him. The Kaientai guys then get on the mic about the Hardys and the shackles of defeat with Funaki saying “Indeed”. Matt glares at Malenko again but that allows Taka Michinoku to attack him from behind and get in the first shots. Matt fights back and rams Taka into all four corners and Jeff adds in a clothesline from the apron. Jeff tags in and helps Matt hit a wheelbarrow suplex then covers Funaki comes in to save it. Matt pulls Funaki out of the ring and holds him up while Jeff runs across the barrier and hits a clothesline. Matt and Jeff pick Funaki up but Taka is on the apron and connects with an Asai moonsault on the whole pile. Taka tosses Jeff back in the ring and tags Fuanki in before he whips Jeff and trips him with a drop toehold. Fuanki puts Jeff in a camel clutch while Taka dropkicks Jeff’s face then takes over. Funaki hammers Jeff in a corner but stops to jump for joy and that allows Jeff to throw him into the corner and get in his offense. Jeff whips Fuanki into the opposite corner and charges but Fuanki sidesteps him and follows up with a bulldog. Taka tags in and slams Jeff then climbs to the top rope and goes for a splash but Jeff gets his feet up to block it. Taka grabs Jeff by the hair but Jeff comes back with a jawbreaker then reaches his corner and tags in Matt. Fuanki also gets the tag but Matt takes it to both guys then tosses Taka over the ropes. Matt slams Funaki then hops to the middle rope and connects with the guillotine legdrop. Matt sets Funaki for the Twist of Fate but Taka nails Matt with a Mafia kick to break it up and Funaki covers for the upset but only gets a two. Jeff works Taka over then whips him into a corner and the Hardys whip Funaki into Taka who dives to avoid it. Matt drops to the mat and Jeff goes for Poetry in Motion and Funaki ducks but Jeff lands on his feet on the rope. Jeff tries to dive at Taka on the floor but slips and straddles the buckle then flips forward onto the floor! Ouch! And Taka even falls down, trying to sell the move as if Jeff actually hit him. Anyway Matt nails Funaki with the Twist of Fate while Jeff has recovered enough to climb to the top rope to hit the Swanton Bomb for the pin. (3:36) Fun match though not the most crisp bout. **
After the match Lita gets Malenko’s attention and lures him from his seat when Matt punks him from behind. Saturn pounces on Matt in response when Jeff dives through the ropes taking Saturn out with a pescado. Lita even throws Terri to the floor for good measure and she and the Hardys leave the Radicals laying.
~ Kane and The Rock are both shown heading to the ring for their big confrontation as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break we get a replay of The Undertaker’s win over Rikishi earlier to reach Thursday’s contender’s match. We still have Rock vs. Kane next and Steve Austin vs. William Regal later to decide who meets Taker on Smackdown.
- The Rock vs. Kane – #1 Contender’s Qualifying Match
Rock also has a score to settle from Smackdown after Kane chokeslammed him following the main event. Rock rushes the ring and goes right to work on Kane then goes for a whip and hits a flying forearm. However Kane pops right back up and Rock comes off the ropes but Kane catches him with a sidewalk slam. Kane kicks away at Rock who’s showing that he’s also still hurt from taking Rikishi’s sit-down splash on Smackdown. Rock tries to fight back and goes for a whip when Kane reverses it but Rock rams him face-first into the mat as we then get a shot of Undertaker watching the match from the back. Kane scoops Rock onto his shoulder but Rock slips out and shoves Kane away then tosses him over the ropes. Rock goes after Kane on the floor but Kane rams Rock back-first into the barrier then uppercuts him over the barrier into the crowd. Rock tries to recover among the fans but Kane goes over and slams him onto the concrete. Earl Hebner tries to get Kane back in the ring while Rock crawls on the floor srtuggling to get back to his feet. Rock is up and reaches the barrier but Kane grabs him by the neck and brings him back to ringside. Kane tosses Rock in the ring then climbs to the top rope and hits the flying clothesline but only gets a near fall! Kane pummels Rock in a corner and goes for a whip, Rock reverses him into the other corner but eats an elbow. Rock tries to rally and comes off the ropes but runs into a powerslam and Kane kicks away at his hurting back. Rock comes back and whips Kane then hits a Samoan Drop but is too hurt to cover and both men are down. Both men get to their feet and Rock gets in his shots then drills Kane with a DDT but only gets a two count. Kane uppercuts Rock and goes for a whip but Rock counters into a belly-to-belly suplex for another near fall. Rock then comes off the ropes but runs into a big boot as we see Kurt Angle making his way down the ramp. Kane clotheslines Rock over the ropes and Angle moves in for a shot but Rock cuts him off with a Rock Bottom onto the floor! Rock heads back in the ring and Kane goes for a whip but Rock reverses it and plants him with a spinebuster. Rock goes for the People’s Elbow when Kane pops up and grabs him but Rock fights out of the chokeslam then knocks him over the ropes with the Smackdown. Rock goes out and clotheslines Kane on the ramp then throws him back in the ring but Angle is back up and waffles Rock from behind with the WWF title belt. Angle rolls Rock back in and Kane finishes him with the chokeslam and gets the three! Kane beats The Rock! (9:09) Kane gets the upset victory and advances to meet Undertaker and the Austin/Regal winner this Thursday after Angle made sure that whoever challenges him for the title next week, it won’t be The Rock. *½
~ Back from break we get footage of Kurt Angle running to a getaway car that Edge & Christian have ready for him. We also get a replay of Angle costing Rock is chance at the contender’s match which I guess hastened his departure. JR they hypes that Angle will meet either Undetaker, Kane, Steve Austin or William Regal for the title next week.
~ Speaking of which William Regal makes his way out for the last match but first decides to share some words on the mic. Regal says Austin has to go through him to continue his quest and as the Goodwill Ambassador he can’t let it happen. Regal says Austin douses himself in beer making himself a glutenous slob in front of the fans and he won’t tolerate it. Regal adds Austin is out of control and can’t play by the rules and promises not to let him besmirch anyone ever again. Regal then introduces the special referee and not surprisingly it’s Stephanie who comes out wearing the stripes. JR is already crying that Austin has a stacked deck against him as we go to commercial.
~ Today’s Royal Rumble replay is Mankind, Cactus Jake and Dude Love all appearing in the 1998 Rumble.
- Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. William Regal © – #1 Contender’s Qualifying Match
This match will decide the third and final participant in the main event on Smackdown. Last week Regal actually got a DQ win over Austin so let’s see if Austin gets his win back. Austin comes out and gets right in Stephanie’s face then catches Regal with a clothesline to start us off. Austin whips Regal and hits the Thesz Press then wails on him with rights and rams him repeatedly into a buckle. Austin whips Regal and connects with a knee to the chest then grabs the legs and stomps him in the chest. Austin chokes Regal on the mat as Stephanie makes the count but Austin stops at four then chokes Regal again. Austin whips Regal but lowers the head and Regal kicks the face and finally starts getting in some offense. Regal goes for a whip but Austin reverses it and tosses Regal over the ropes. Austin goes after Regal on the floor and rams him into the steps and into the announce table then unloads on him with right hands on the table. Austin tosses Regal in the ring when Stephanie tells him to keep it in the ring so Austin pulls Regal back out and drops him onto the barricade. Austin clotheslines Regal then tosses him back in the ring a second time as Stephanie tells Austin to keep it in the ring. Austin responds by tossing Regal over the ropes and flipping Stephanie the bird. Austin goes out and rams Regal into the steps then tosses Regal back in before Stephanie can count them out. Austin hits a snap suplex but pulls Regal up and hits a second snap suplex then hits him with a third snap suplex. Austin covers Regal and Stephanie counts 1..2..but stops before three and claims she has something in her eye. Austin gets to his feet and responds by booting Stephanie in her rear and sending her out through the ropes! Hoever Regal is back up and hammers away at Austin in a corner but Austin reverses positions for his offense. Earl Hebner runs in to take over officiating as Austin stomps Regal down but decides to check on Stephanie, allwoing Regal to nail Austin below the belt. Austin is down as Regal knocks Hebner through the ropes then helps Stephanie back in the ring. Austin fights back again then whips Regal and hits a spinebuster and covers but Stephanie still acts like she has an eye problem. Austin grabs Stephanie by the hair when Regal rolls Austin up and grabs the tights as Stephanie makes a fast 1.2.3! Regal beats Austin again! (5:25) Regal goes 2-0 over Austin and advances to the contender’s match with Undertaker and Kane on Smackdown. Disappointing main event that was mainly there to further the Austin/Stephanie angle. These two probably could have had a much better match given more than five minutes. *½
Austin is furious as Stephanie runs up the ramp and grabs the mic declaring Regal the winner and Austin the loser. However JR feels Stephanie just made a big mistake in crossing the Rattlesnake as the show goes off the air.
Conclusion: I’d have to call this an okay show to start off 2001 though many of the issues at the end of 2000 still carried over (not surprisng since it was taped the last week of 2000). The first hour was rather forgettable with only featured three unmemorable matches and a lot of talking. Things got slightly better in the second hour with some better matches but the whole show was still dominated by Stephanie as well as her feud with Austin. And you’re left with the feeling that the WWF mainly used this show to build up Smackdown and the following Raw in an attempt to stop the falling ratings. Still some building blocks were laid down for future angles and much of the show was entertaining for the most part so we’ll go thumbs in the middle.