WWF King of the Ring 2001
WWF KING OF THE RING
Sunday, June 24th, 2001
Live from the Continential Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, NJ
List of WWF Champions at the time:
● WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
● WWF Intercontinental Champion: Kane (5/20/2001)
● WWF World Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz (6/21/2001)
● WWF European Champion: Matt Hardy (4/26/2001)
● WWF Hardcore Champion: Test (6/21/2001)
● WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Jeff Hardy (6/14/2001)
~ King of the Ring comes on the air with an intro video hyping the big matches and events set for tonight. Jim Ross and Paul Heyman welcome us to the show and talk about it being an eventful day already. I’m sure they’ll elaborate more on this later.
~ Things kick off with Diamond Dallas Page coming out of the crowd … and he has music and a TitanTron video?! I mean, DDP is supposed to be working for another company and supposedly bought a ticket to be here. How does he get music? Anyway DDP climbs in the ring and takes Howard Finkel’s mic to first let Undertaker know that he has arrived. DDP asks why Taker was so mad at him on Smackdown when the footage he’s shown of Sara was the PG stuff, while he has a personal collection of Sara footage which gets more than a thumbs up from him. DDP brings up being at the top of Taker’s list, promising to go into his house and kick the dog all over his yard before he becomes the first WCW wrestler to step foot in Madison Square Garden tomorrow night on Raw. DDP finishes by telling Taker that he won’t be hard to find because he has a ticket for the front row waiting for him. DDP even shows a sign he made that reads “Make Me Famous” and begs Taker to come out and make him famous, just like the sign says.
~ JR and Heyman comment on DDP before announcing a Tag Team Title match was added to the card earler on Heat, with the Dudleys defending against Spike Dudley and a partner that he’s recruited, but they don’t know who it is. JR and Heyman then mention a rumor circulating that Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho have been negotiating with WCW, that if either man wins the WWF Championship tonight, they’re going to jump to WCW with the title. Heyman even suggests that defection could take place tomorrow night on Raw in Madison Square Garden. While they tried to act intrigue to the main event, this would have worked out better with more than one hour of buildup.
- Kurt Angle vs. Christian – King of the Ring Semifinal Match
This is the first of three potential matches for Angle, who wants to get that KOTR repeat before his street fight with Shane McMahon later on. Yeah, I’m sure the bookers realized they bit off more than they could chew with that idea. Christian goes right to work and stomps Angle down in a corner but Angle comes back with a takedown and gets in his offense. Angle stomps away at Christian in a corner then whips him into the opposite corner but Christian sidesteps him and hits a neckbreaker for a two count. Christian chokes Angle on the mat and goes for a whip and Angle reverses it. Christian goes for a Sunset Flip, Angle rolls out of it and goes for the Anklelock but Christian kicks him away. Christian hammers Angle with forearms and goes for a whip, Angle counters and goes for a belly-to-belly suplex but Christian fights out of it. Christian comers off the ropes but Angle grabs him again and this time is able to hit the belly-to-belly suplex. Christian rolls out to the apron but Angle bumps him off then goes out and works him over on the floor. Angle rams Christian into the announce table but Christian rams Angle into the steps and rolls him in the ring. Christian then climbs to the top rope but Angle shoves him off, sending him flying face first into the barricade. Angle brings Christian back in the ring and covers him but only gets a two count then hits a gutwrench suplex. Angle hits a suplex for a near fall then Christian fights back but Angle stops that with a knee to the chest. Angle hits a snap suplex for a two and goes for another suplex but Christian rolls him up and gets a near fall. Angle hits a another suplex for yet another two count when Christian again rallies but Angle rakes the face. Angle goes for a whip but Christian reverses it and nails him with a spinning heel kick and both men are down. Angle is up first as we see Shane coming down the aisle, no doubt waiting to get involved somehow. Angle clotheslines Christian before finally noticing Shane watching from ringside and having words with him. Angle climbs to the top rope and goes for the moonsault but misses and Christian rolls him up but only gets two! Christian hits the Slop Drop on the knee for a near fall but Angle rakes his face to regain the advantage. Angle goes for a German suplex, Christian blocks it and goes for the Unprettier but Angle trips him by the leg. Angle then slaps on the Anklelock but Chrisitan uses the referee to reach the bottom rope and force a break. Angle pulls Christian away and goes into the Olympic Slam but Christian coutners and hits the Unprettier! Christian covers Angle and the referee count 1…2.. when Shane pulls Christian out to the floor? Everyone is wondering why Shane just helped Angle as Christian climbs on the apron looking back at him. However Angle pulls Christian back in the ring with the Olympic Slam and gets the three to reach the final. (8:17) Solid enough opener there even with a few lulls. Shane helping Angle doesn’t make sense at first, until you realize Shane has forced Angle to wrestle an extra match, trying to wear him out before the street fight. **
~ Backstage Steve Austin is with Debra when Johnathan Coachman comes in asking for his thoughts on the triple threat. Austin asks if he’s seen Vince McMahon and Coach reminds him Vince said he wasn’t going to be here tonight but Austin feels Vince was just kidding on Thursday and wouldn’t let him down by not showing up at the pay-per-view. Coach then mentions the rumor of Benoit and Jericho jumping to WCW with the title and Austin is in stunned silence.
~ A video package is shown recapping the Undertaker/stalker angle which led to Diamond Dallas Page being here. Heyman then interviews DDP in the front row, reminding him he’s in a WWF event with WWF wrestlers and WWF fans. Heyman feels DDP’s actions are a bit brazen but DDP feels that it takes guts to go after Taker in his own backyard. However we suddenly get a clip of DDP in a restaurant reading a newspaper and ordering something from a waitress. I guess somone is stalking DDP now and DDP isn’t thrilled to have his privacy invaded. Oh, the irony just slays me! Anyway DDP continues to beg Taker to come out and make him famous.
- Edge vs. Rhyno – King of the Ring Semifinal Match
I don’t have to tell you who’s waiting for the winner of this match in the final. Edge and Rhyno stand face to face when Rhyno spits gum at him, prompting Edge to go right to work on him. Rhyno fights back and hits a chop then goes for a whip but Edge reverses it and hits a spinning heel kick. Edge pounds on Rhyno and whips him into a corner but eats an elbow. Rhyno responds with a hard chop then whips Edge, Edge fakes him out and backdrops him over the ropes. Rhyno lands on his feet but Edge rams him into the buckles and dropkicks him off the apron. Edge goes out and continues his offense when Rhyno rams him into the barricade and sets him up for a powerbomb but Edge crotches Rhyno on the barrier. Edge clotheslines Rhyno off the barricade and throws him into it but Rhyno hot shots Edge onto the guardrail. Rhyno throws Edge into the barricade then rolls in the ring and undoes a turnbuckle pad to expose the bolt. Rhyno brings Edge in the ring and whips him chest-first into the bolt then hammers away at his ribs in a corner. Rhyno whips Edge into the other corner and shoulderblock him then follows up with a running boot to the head. Rhyno whips Edge and belts him right in his injured chest then snapmares him and slaps on a body scissors, rolling him onto hi shoulders for a near fall. Edge fights out of it but Rhyno hits a knee to the chest followed by a powerslam. Rhyno climbs to the top rope (!) and hits a flying splash on Edge’s ribs … but gets two! Rhyno chokes Edge on the middle rope and whips him into a corner and charges at him but this time eats a boot. Edge hot shots Rhyno on the top rope then hits an Atomic drop followed by a clothesline and a neckbreaker. Edge’s ribs are really hurting him as he climbs to the top rope but Rhyno cuts him off. Rhyno goes up looking for a superplex when Edge blocks it then hits a Sunset Flip from the top rope but only gets two. Edge goes for a whip but Rhyno reverses and plants him with a spinebuster. Rhyno goes for the Gore but Edge charges back at him with the spear and they collide and are both wiped out! Rhyno drapes an arm over Edge but only gets two then scoops him up but Edge counters into a rollup for a two. Rhyno goes for the Gore again but Edge sidesteps it and Rhyno charges right into the exposed bolt. Edge follows up with the Impailer and gets the three, setting up Angle vs. Edge in the final. (8:52) Another solid match that was slightly hampered by Rhyno having to be a wrestler instead of a brawler, plus Edge hadn’t quite gotten confortable without his tag team partner. **
~ We now get footage of Lillian Garcia intreviewing Spike Dudley and Molly Holly earlier tonight on Heat, with Spike challenging The Dudleys to a tag team title match on the pay-per-view before heading out to find a partner. JR then interviews Spike over the TitanTron with Spike announcing he has found a partner but decides to keep it a big surprise for now. The Dudleys then walk up and tells Spike that Molly couldn’t be his big surprise but she is a big dissapointmen. Just like Spike’s been since day one. The Dudleys then scoff at Spike’s “big surprise” before walking off chuckling.
~ Elsewhere Tazz interviews Chris Jericho about the rumors that he would take the title to WCW should he win tonight. Jericho first doesn’t appreciate his preparation being interupted, especially before the biggest match of his career. Jericho does say WCW wouldn’t be a bad place to wind up now that it finally has a true boss in Shane McMahon. Jericho addresses the rumors by syaing yes, he was aware of the rumors but no, he wasn’t aware that Tazz was aware. Jericho then starts to answer the question for real but stops himself and decides this interview is over. Cool segment there.
~ The Dudleys make their way to the ring with their newly won titles in hand and await their challengers. Spike then comes out but he’s not alone as the familiar pyro goes off and he’s joined by…
- WWF WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES: The Dudley Boyz © vs. Spike Dudley & Kane
I guess Kane had nothing else to do since they couldn’t get an Intercontinental Title defense set up for him. Spike rushes the ring and gets double-teamed by the Dudleys who whip him but Kane clotheslines both guys. Kane pops D’Von through the ropes while Spike goes after Bubba and hits the count-along punches in a corner followed by a huricanrana. Kane follows up with a clothesline then Spike unloads on Bubba with right hands. Spike goes for a whip but Bubba reverses it and presses him up then tosses him over to Kane who catches him. Kane then tosses Spike back over to Bubba, kocking him over with Spike falling on top and getting a two count. Kane nails Bubba with a boot and Spike covers him for another near fall and Bubba backs away to his corner. D’Von tags in but Spike trips him with a drop toehold then works him over in his corner when Kane tags in. D’Von tries to fight back but Kane shurgs them off so D’Von comes off the ropes and runs into a powerslam. Kane follows up with an elbowdrop for a near fall then pummels him in his corner when Spike tags himself in. Spike goes for a whip, D’Von reverses it and leapfrogs over him … then clutches his knee as if he’s injured it. The referee tries to keep Spike back but Buhba gets his attention allowing D’Von to pull him down by the hair. D’Von lays the boots to Spike then tags Bubbba in and Bubba pummels Spike and chokes him with his knee. Bubba tags D’Von whips Spike into a corner and D’Von hits a clothesline while Bubba hits a sidewalk slam. D’Von hops to the middle rope and conencts with a legdrop then covers Spike but Kane comes in to save it. Bubba tags in and whips Spike hitting a backdrop then Spike tries to fight back by going for a Sunset Flip. Bubba goes for a sitdown splash but Spike dodges it then comes off the ropes but Bubba hits a monkey flip. Bubba applies a chinlock, Spike fights out of it and goes for a huricanrana but Bubba powerbombs him for two. D’Von tags in and wails on Spike hen slams him and climbs to the middle rope but misses a flying headbutt. Spike makes the tag to Kane while Bubba also gets his tag but Kane greets him with a series of right hands. Kene whips Bubba and hits a backdrop then decks D’Von and whips Bubba into a corner and hits a clothesline. Kane hits Bubba with a neckbreaker then hiptosses D’Von and plants Bubba with a sidewalk slam for a near fall. Kane tosses D’Von over the ropes then plants Bubba with a powerslam and covers… and the referee stops the count at two, even though Bubba’s shoulders are still down and D’Von didn’t make it back in time to save it. Seriously, Bubba did not kick out in time but JR claims he barely got to the shoulder up, even though it’s clear it should have been three and the fans are letting the referee have it. Anyway D’Von helps Bubba double-team Kane but Kane knocks both Dudleys out through the ropes in succession. Kane tags Spike then press slams him over the ropes and Spike nails both Dudleys with a flying crossbody. Spike tosses Bubba back in then ring as Kane climbs to the top rope and connects with the flying clothesline. Spike covers Bubba … but only gets two as D’Von comes back in. Kane pulls D’Von back out to the floor while Spike manages to drill Bubba with the Dudley Dawg and cover him but D’Von barely makes it back in to save it. Kane comes in and grabs D’Von by the throat but Bubba kicks his knee and the Dudleys hit a double suplex. Bubba sets Kane up while D’von climbs to the top rope and hits the “Wassup” headbutt, only with no “Wassup”. Spike climbs to the top rope and nails both Dudleys with a dropkick then sets D’Von up for the Dudley Dawg. D’Von blocks it and Spike flips out of it but the Dudleys plant him with the 3D to retain. (8:32) Not the worst filler match, in fact it was actually decent and had its moments, but that botched count does cost it a few points. The Dudleys decide they’re not done just yet as D’Von slides a table in the ring and sets it up for Spike. However Kane is back in and powerbombs D’Von then grabs Bubba and chokeslams him through the table to satisfy the crowd. **
~ Backstage Chrsitian meets with Edge, who feels he’s going to complain about being robbed in his match by Shane. Instead Christian wishes Edge luck and that he hope he wins and Edg seems a little surprised by that.
~ We then see Diamond Dallas Page still in the front row anixously awaiting for Undertaker to come out and face him. However some more footage of DDP pops on the screen, this time climbing into a car in a parking lot and driving off. DDP starts getting irritated by his private life being exposed like that and demands that Taker finally come out.
~ We cut over to WWF New York and find Billy Gunn there as JR asks for his thoughts on this year’s KOTR final. Billy complains he was the 1999 KOTR yet he’s stuck at WWF NY and wasn’t even invited to this year’s tournament. Billy says he could care less who wins the final because he only cares about himself then storms off. Whatever, loser.
- Kurt Angle vs. Edge – King of the Ring Final Match
Wow, the KOTR final already and we’re only in the middle of the card. That makes the tournament (which this pay-per-view is named after) seem real special and important (end sarcasm). Anyway this is the closest we’ve come to having a repeat KOTR winner since the 1993 supercard; Ken Shamrock was the only KOTR winner to participate in the following year’s tournament and he only lasted to the quarterfinals. Both men make thier way to the ring with Edge still signs of his battle with Rhyno earlier when Angle gets on the mic telling Edge he doesn’t want anything to come between their friendship and the two shake hands. Angle then mentions he still has his street fight nd since Edge doesn’t have a chance to be him, he asks Edge to forfeit the match to spare himself the humiliation so Angle can be fresh for Shane later. Angle even tells Edge “I think I know you.” Instead Edge answers with a right hand and goes right to work on Angle then whips him and hits a flapjack. Edge stomps Angle down in a corner but Angle reverses positions and gets in his shots. Edge fights back, whips Angle and connects with a spinning heelkick. Edge whips Angle again but lowers the head. Angle kicks the face then tosses Edge over the ropes with a belly-to-belly suplex and Edge is hurting on the floor. Angle goes out and lays the boots to Edge then whips him in the steps, hurting Edge’s already injured ribs. Angle rams Edge into the barricade and stomps away at his ribs then tosses him in the ring and hits a suplex. Angle hits another suplex for a two count then slaps on a chinlock when Edge fighs out but Angle stops that. Angle sets Edge on the top rope but Edge fights him off then rolls down and rolls Angle up for a two count. Edge goes for a whip but Angle counters with a belly-to-belly suplex for a two count then hits a snapmare. Angle slaps on another chinlock and Edge tries to hold on but begins to fade as the referee checks the arm. The arm drops once, it drops twice, but Edge is able to keep it up on the third time and fights out of the hold. Angle tosses Edge over the ropes then goes out and suplexes him onto the barricade before tossing him back in. Angle climbs to the top rope but Edge cuts him off with a dropkick causing Angle to straddle the turnbuckle. Edge goes up and hits a huricanrana but is too hurt to make the immediate cover and only gets a two count. Both men exchange shots and Angle gets the advantage but Edge nails him with clotheslines and a backdrop. Edge goes for a whip when Angle reverses him into a corner and goes for a dropkick but Edge fakes him out. Edge then catapults Angle head-first into the turnbuckles and rolls him up but that only gets a two count. Angle goes for the Olympic Slam, Edge coutners and goes for the Impailer but Angle blocks it and trips him. Angle then goes for the Anklock when Edge counters it and rolls Angle up but still can’t get the three count. Edge hits an Edge-o-matic and covers Angle …when Christian runs out and accidentally (?) distracts the referee. Edge asks Christian what he’s doing out there when Angle gets him with an O’Connor roll but only gets a two. Angle whips Edge into a corner, Edge comes out with a clotheslone but misses Angle and nails the referee. Angle kicks Edge down and slaps on the Ankelock and Edge starts tapping out but the referee is still out of it. Angle tries to revive the referee when Shane McMahon appears in the ring and spears Angle then heads out. Both men get to their feet but Edge drills Angle with the Impailer and gets the 1..2..3 to take the crown. No repeat winner this year. (10:21) Solid match and nice work from both guys but it just didn’t feel like a final of a supposedly prestigous tournament. It was obvious the bookers painted themseleves in a corner with Angle’s two storylines as they couldn’t have the street fight before the KOTR final. As a result the final’s placement in the middle of the card made it feel like it was merely setting up the street fight later, making the whole tournament feel somewhat meaningless in the process. In hindsight Christian should have gone over Angle earlier so Angle could recover his energy for the street fight while giving us what would have been an interesting Edge vs. Christian final. Not to mention Edge doesn’t even get a coronation ceremony as he just leaves the ring. **½
~ Backstage Tazz interviews Chris Benoit if he’s taking the title to WCW should he be victorious tonight. Benoit yells at Tazz for asking that question but admits it is a good question and walks off without an answer.
~ Elsewhere Johnathan Coachman interviews Edge on his KOTR victory which Edge says reeks of “royalty”. Christian comes in and congradulates Edge then assures him that he was only out at ringside trying to help him. Edge is like “of course you were” and Christian heads out to prepare a celebration. I sense foreshadowing at work.
~ Still elsewhere Angle yells at security for Shane’s meddling and ruining his chance to be two-time King of the Ring. Angle wants to make Shane pay in their match then warns security that he’ll have their jobs if any WCW guys interfere.
~ JR plugs the next month’s pay-per-view, Fully Loaded, which will be on July 22nd from Cleveland. Apparently the publicity guys forgot to tell JR as flyers advertising the next supercard under a different name were already sent out.
- WWF LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE: Jeff Hardy © vs. X-Pac
Wow, a Light Heavyweight Title match on pay-per-view. You’d think then WWF actually cared about this belt. Both men lockup to start when X-Pac hits an armdrag then applies a headlock and goes into a hammerlock. X-Pac trips Jeff by the legs then rides him around and slaps away at his head before capping off with a pose. Both men lockup again and X-Pac gets another headlock, Jeff shoves him away but X-Pac hits a shoulderblock. X-Pac comes off the ropes but Jeff leafrogs over him and hits him with an armdrag then slaps on an armbar. Jeff goes for a whip, X-Pac reverses it but Jeff comes back with a headsicssors and X-Pac bails to the floor. X-Pac tries to regroup when Jeff runs along the barricade and hits a flying clothesline then throws him back in. Jeff goes for a whip, X-Pac reverses him into a corner, Jeff runs up the buckle but misses Whisper in the Wind. X-Pac pounds away on Jeff then puts him in an Abdominal Stretch and even grabs the top rope for leverage. Eventually the referee sees it and forces X-Pac to let go, allowing Jeff to counter into his own Abdominal Stretch. X-Pac hiptosses Jeff over the ropes then springboards over the ropes and connects with a flying crossbody. X-Pac hears back in the ring when Jeff hits a shoulderblock through the ropes then rolls over X-Pac back in. Jeff comes off the ropes but X-Pac nails him with the spinkick that gets a near fall then slaps on a chinlock. Jeff fights out of it and goes for a whip but X-Pac reverses it and conencts with a heel kick for a two count. X-Pac kicks Jeff down in a corner then goes for the Bronco Buster but misses and stradles the turnbuckle. Jeff comes off the ropes with a dropkick and follows it up with a takedown clothesline then goes for a whip. X-Pac reverses it and goes for a dropkick but Jeff fakes him out then hits the double legdrop to the chest. Jeff whips X-Pac and charges when X-Pac leaps up … and they end up colliding and crumbling to the mat(?). X-Pac whips Jeff into a corner but Jeff runs up the turnbuckles again and this time hits the Whisper in the Wind. Jeff climbs to the top rope and conencts with a crossbody but X-Pac rolls through it and gets a near fall. Jeff hits the count-along punches in a corner when X-Pac rakes his face then drills him with the X-Factor. X-Pac covers Jeff as the referee counts 1..2..3 but sees Jeff’s foot on the bottom rope and waves the pin off. X-Pac whips Jeff into a corner and goes for the X-Factor again but Jeff counters it with the jawbreaker. Jeff climbs to the top rope but X-Pac bumps the ropes to cut him off then goes up looking for a superplex. Jeff fights X-Pac down to the mat then connects with the Swanton Bomb and gets the pin to retain. (7:11) Okayish match even with the blown sequence but it would become moot the following night. After all what usually happens when X-Pac does a job on pay-per-view? **
~ Backstage William Regal is talking with Tajiri when Steve Austin barges in while trying to use his cell phone. Regal offers Austin the use of his phone so Austin dials a number and apparently reaches Vince McMahon. Austin tells Vince of the rumor about Benoit and Jericho possibly defecting to WCW and asks Regal to back him up. Austin tells Vince he needs him to come down to the pay-per-view as humanily possible and that he’ll see him soon.
~ Out in the arena Diamond Dallas Page is still in the front row but is getting impatient for Undertaker as more stalker footage of DDP pops up on the TitanTron, this time showing him arriving at the building earlier. DDP finally has enough of this and jumps back in the ring then gets on the mic saying Taker’s mindgames won’t work. DDP demands Taker come out when DDP’s mystery videographer is revealed as … Sara. Wow, what a shock. (Not!) Sara tells DDP it’s time for him to become famous as The Undertaker finally makes his way to the ring on foot. Once Taker steps in the ring DDP quickly gets in the first shots but Taker takes contron and wails away on him. Taker stomps DDP down in a corner but DDP comes back with shot below the belt then tries to get his own shots in. However that advantage doesn’t last very long as Taker peppers DDP with jabs then pops him through the ropes. Taker heads out to continue hit assault as Sara comes out with a protable camera to document DDP’s punishment. Taker rams DDP into the steps and caps off with a right hand … and you can see the crowd quickly losing interest. Taker throws DDP into the timekeeper’s table but DDP manages to grab a chair and jab Taker in the chest with it. DDP whacks Taker in the back and readies another shot but Taker spears him and they go over the announce table. Taker is back on the offensive against DDP and I have yet to see him get in any sustained advantage in this brawl. Taker throws DDP in the ring and continues assaulting him while the crowd is still pretty much sitting on their hands. Taker kicks DDP out to the floor then throws him back in the ring and DDP begs off but Taker boots him back out. DDP finally has enough of this and retreats through the crowd leaving Taker and Sara to both stand tall in the ring. Ladies and gentlemen, the whole Invasion in a nutsheel. Taker completely destroyed DDP and wouldn’t give him anything back in return, setting the table for their “feud” and making one of WCW’s biggest stars look like a chump right out of the gate.
~ Backstage we find Austin in the garage anxiously waiting for Vince to arrive, instead of preparing for his match. Austin asks some backstage worker how long it take to get here from Greenwich and the guy says around 90 minutes. Austin says he’s expecting Vince to arrive anytime and tells the guy to direct Vince to his dressing room when he does.
- Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon – Street Fight
Angle takes Shane down right away and slams him several times then Shane tries to fight him off and manages to grab the ropes. Angle continues pounding on Shane then hits a suplex and lays the boots to him. Angle whips Shane and hits him with a knee to the chest then does it again. Shane finally comes back with a series of jabs and a legwhip followed by an armdrag then trips him by the leg. Shane rides all over Angle then bails out to the floor and Angle is not happy at behing shown up like that and we also see that Angle is busted open above the eye, possibly from a potato shot. Angle demands Shane come back in and face him, even offering to be in the mount position to give him an edge. Shane climbs back in and moves in but Angle easily rolls over him and pounds on his back with forearms. Angle caps off with a gutwrench suplex then whips Shane and hits him with a pair of a belly-to-belly suplexes. Angle hits some crossface shots then rolls Shane all around the ring and continues riding all over him. Angle trash talks Shane then offers the mount position again, only this time Shane kicks him hard in the ribs. Shane whips Angle and hits a jumping elbow followed by a clothesline but Angle stops that with a takedown. Shane flings Angle through the ropes and Angle climbs back in but ends up chasing Shane around the ring. Shane springs off the barricade and hits a bodyblock then climbs up the barricade behind the announce table andleaps over the annoucers, nailing Angle with a flying bodyblock. Shane pulls out a kendo stick and works Angle over but Angle comes back and rams Shane into the apron. Shane rams Angle into the post in return then clotheslines him over the barricade and tries to catch his breath. Angle grabs Shane but Shane snapmares him over the barricade then tees off on him and rams him into the apron. Shane repeatedly hiptosses Angle into the barrier then rams him into the steps and spears him into the steps. Shane throws Angle in the ring and covers him but Angle bridges out of the pin then does it a second time. Shane breaks Angle’s bridge with an elbowdrop then goes out and starts throwing more plunder in the ring. Shane whacks Angle with a road sign then whips him and hits a flying road sign shot to the head for a near fall. Angle fights back and hits more knees to the chest but misses an enzuigiri and Shane goes into an Anklelock. Angle kicks Shane away and charges but Shane sidesteps it and hits a DDT then slaps on the Sharpshooter. Angle tries to hold on and inches toward the ropes then grabs them but Shane pulls him away to the center. Angle grabs a kendo stick and beats Shane off him but misses several swings and Shane peppers him with jabs. Shane shuffles around the ring and connects with a right hook for a two then hammers Angle with a trash can. Shane climbs to the top rope and goes for the Shooting Star Press but Angle dodges it and Shane hits the can! Angle drapes an arm over Shane but only gets two so he hits a Fireman’s carry then dumps him over the ropes. Angle goes after Shane up the aisle then goes for a suplex but Shane counters with his own suplex on the floor. Angle rams Shane into the entrance set then goes for a belly-to-belly suplex through the plexiglass sign … but the glass doesn’t break and Shane lands on his head!! Shane has to be lucky not to be dead or paralyzed. So Angle sets up for another belly-to-belly suplex and this time does send Shane through the plexiglass sign! Shane’s face is bloodied from the glass while Angle’s arms are also all cut up as he goes after him inside the set. Angle goes to suplex Shane back through the set … but it doesn’t break and Shane lands on his head again! Angle tries the suplex again and it still doesn’t break but this time he stops Shane from landing on the concrete. Angle finally has enough of this and this time he just throws Shane face-first right through the glass! Somebody needs to please stop this match because Shane has to be dead by now!
Angle covers the blooddied Shane on the floor but the referee reminds him this is not falls-count-anywhere. Angle tries to drag Shane back to the ring but can’t move him so he drapes Shane’s corpse on an anvil case and rolls him back to the ring. Angle rolsl Shane in and covers him … but only gets a two count!! Angle is shocked that Shane is still alive and grabs a trash lid but Shane stops him with a desperation low blow. Shane grabs the lid and works Angle over with it then hits his own Olympic Slam but only gets a near fall. Angle catapults Shane into the ringpost then sets him on the top rope and hammers him with a sheet of wood. Angle sets the wood on the top rope then goes up and tosses Shane down to the mat with the Olympic Slam! Both men are down but Angle manages to drape an arm over Shane for the 1..2..3 and it’s finally over! (26:00) Both men have to be helped to the back and get a great ovation, though Shane tries to refuse the help. This match got rave reviews at the time, although mainly do to the memorable spots through the plexiglass. While it is a fun sick brawl with the usual good bumping from Shane, it took time to really get going and there were a number of botches, including those spots. Still a good, brutal match to check out. ***
~ Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit are both shown backstage getting ready for the main event which is moments away. We also see Steve Austin still waiting in the parking garage for Vince to arrive and getting anxious by the minute as The Brooklyn Brawler comes out to inform him he needs to get to the ring because his match is up next. Austin tells the backstage guy to send Vince out to the ring the moment he arrives and heads out to the ring.
- WWF WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE: Stone Cold Steve Austin © vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho
Neither Benoit nor Jericho were able to best Austin in singles matches, so will it take both of them to possibly be on Austin’s level? Plus Benoit’s mounting neck injuries from the past weeks were beginning to catch up to him but he’s giving it his best anyway. Benoit and Jericho are out first followed by Austin who keeps looking back over his shoulder hoping for Vince. Eventually Benoit and Jericho take advantage of the distracted Austin and jump him in the aisle to get us started. Benoit and Jericho then throw Austin in the ring … but Austin rolls back out and tries to flee into the crowd. Benoit and Jericho chase Austin down and try to bring him to ringside but Austin heads back among the fans. Ausitn backdrops Jericho over the barricade but Benoit tosses Austin over and tosses him back in the ring. Ausitn greets Benoit with an elbow and lays the boots to him then works him over with chops in a corner. Jericho makes it back in then ring and helps Benoit double-team Austin with chops and stomps in a corner. The Chrises whip Austin when Austin kicks Benoit’s face then whips Jericho but Jericho hits a flying forearm. Jericho covers Ausitn but Benoti pulls him off and the two stare at each other when Austin nails both guys. Austin pounds on Jericho then whips him and clubs him from behind with a forearm then goes for a suplex. Jericho flips out of it and he and Benoit take turns hitting Austin with right hands then whip him into a corner. Jericho goes to hit Austin with a spinning heelkick but Austin ducks it and Benoit ends up taking the hit instead. Jericho tries to help Benoit to his feet only to start kicking at him in a corner and I guess that alliance is over with. Austin undoes a turnbuckle pad then helps Jericho double-team Benoit and they kick Benoit out under the ropes. Austin then turns on Jericho and whips him looking for the Thesz Press but Jericho catches him by the legs. Jericho puts Austin in the Walls of Jericho but Benoit comes in to save it then suplexes Jericho over the ropes. Jericho is down on the floor while Benoit stomps Austin down in a corner then whips him into the other corner. Benoit charges and eats a boot then tries to get Austin down in the Crossface but Austin quickly grabs the rope. Benoit hits a snap suplex followed by some chops and kicks then whips Austin and hits an elbow for a near fall. Benoit goes for a whip but Austin reverses and tosses Benoit over the ropes then goes after him on the floor. Austin rams Benoit into the steps then taunts him with the title belt before ramming him into the steps again. Austin tosses Benoit back in then grabs the legs and stomps the chest while Jericho is still down on the floor. Austin chops Benoit down and hits a kneedrop to the chest for a near fall then unloads on him with right hands. Benoit counters into a rollup for a near fall but Austin grinds his elbow into Benoit’s face for a two count. Jericho tries to climb on the apron but Austin throws Benoit into him, knocking him back off to the floor. Austin chokes Benoit on the middle rope then hits the straddle and uses the ropes to stomp him in the chest. Austin flips Benoit off and goes for the Stunner but Benoit shoves him away, sending him into Earl Hebner. Benoit hits Ausitn with his own Stunner and covers him but Hebner is still groggy and only gets a two count. Hebner tries to recover while Benoit goes out and brings the belt in the ring then clocks Austin in the head. Benoit covers Austin again as Hebner counts 1…2..but Jericho makes it back in the ring and barely saves it!
Jericho tosses Benoit out through the ropes then goes after him and the two of them duke it out on the floor. Jericho flapjacks Benoit into the post then goes back in and covers Austin (who’s still down) but only gets two. Jericho goes for a whip, Austin reverses it and takes him down then goes for his own Walls of Jericho. Jericho powers out of it then puts Austin in the Walls of Jericho but Austin manages to grab the bottom rope. Jericho hits a suplex for a two count then goes for a whip but Ausitn reverses it and his a spinebuster. Austin kicks Jericho in the ribs and grinds his kneepad in the face then hits a Russian legsweep for a near fall. Austin whips Jericho and slaps on a sleeperhold and Jericho tries to hold on then counters it with a suplex. Jericho exchanges chops with Ausitn and gets the advantage then whips him into a corner and hits a clothesline. Benoit tries to climbs on the apron but Jericho knocks him back to the floor with the springboard dropkick. Jericho whips Austin and hits the bulldog then goes for the Lionsault but Austin gets the knees up to block it. Austin goes for the Stunner again when Jericho shoves him away but Austin comes back with the Thesz Press. Ausitn wails on Jericho with the rights when Benoit brings a chair in the ring depsite this not being no-DQ. Regarless Benoit swings the chair at Austin but Austin ducks it and Jericho ends up taking the shot instead. Austin nails Benoit with the Stunner and Benoit rolls out while Austin covers Jericho … and only gets two! Austin sets Jericho on the top rope then climbs up and plants him with a superplex … and that only gets two! Ausitn sets Jericho back on the top rope a second time then hits another superplex and still can’t get three. Austin sets Jericho on the top rope a third time but Benoit comes back in and hits Austin with a German suplex. Benoit holds on and hits a second German then holds on again and hits a third German and a fourth German. Benoit hits a fifth German suplex then goes for a sixth but Austin stops that with a mule kick below the belt. All three men are down as Hebner counts but Jericho is back to up first and puts Austin in the Walls of Jericho. Austin tries not to submit when Benoit adds in the Crossface and Austin starts tapping out! However Hebner waves it off and forces a break telling Benoit and Jericho that only one of them can win. Logically Austin should have been eliminated leaving the Chrises to fight it out for the belt.
Benoit and Jericho can’t believe it when Jericho charges at Benoit but Benoit catches him with the Crossface. Jericho escapes the hold and goes for the Walls of Jericho but Benoit kicks him away and hits a snap suplex. Benoit gets a two as Austin is on the floor grabbing a chair but Benoit kicks it in his face with a baseball slide. Jericho whips Benoit when Benoit comes back with a facelock but Jericho manages to toss him over the ropes. Suddenly … Booker T jumps the rail and attacks Austin then caps off with the axe kick!! Booker then tosses Austin through the Spanish announce table before security chases him back into the crowd. Interestingly enough Ausitn would suffer a broken hand due to that spot. Back in the ring Benoit plants Jericho with a German suplex then holds on and hits a second German suplex. Benoit goes for a third German suplex but Jericho rolls through it and puts Benoit in the Walls of Jericho! Benoit grabs the bottom rope so Jericho goes for a whip but Benoit throws him shoulder-first into the ringpost. Benoit goes for a suplex, Jericho flips out of it and Benoit gets him in a waistlock but Jericho elbows him away. Benoit slams Jericho then climbs to the top rope but Jericho cuts him off and throws him down to the mat. Jericho hits the bulldog and follows up with a sloppy Lionsault (that barely makes contact) and gets a near fall. Jericho hits some chops and whips Benoit who fakes him out but Jericho clotheslines them both over the ropes. Jericho grabs a piece of the announce table and jabs Austin with it before throwing him back in the ring. Jericho climbs to the top rope and connects with a moonsault and covers but Benoit is in and pulls him off. Benoit kicks Jericho out to the floor then climbs to the top rope and nails Austin with the diving headbutt. Benoit covers Austin but Jericho pulls the referee out of the ring and Benoit whips him into a corner. Benoit sets Jericho on the top rope then climbs up and plants him with a superplex. All three men are down again when Austin crawls over and covers Benoit … and gets the three to retain? (27:52) And eveyone’s like “That’s it?!” Good main event but not as great as it could have been, at least not as good as many thought it was back then, as it seemed sluggish at times, plus the mostly dead crowd didn’t help either. And this was pretty much the end of the Canadians’ “pushes”; Benoit would finally be forced on the shelf for a year, while Jericho would be stuck back in the midcard during the following months. And why even have Booker T do a run-in when his interference had very little effect on the outcome and it never led to an immediate feud with Austin. Seems like a wasted debut to me. ***½
Conclusion: At the time many called this an excellent pay-per-view, but looking at it now it’s merely an okay to good show. There were no real bad matches and the effort was there from everyone involved, it’s just time and perspective haven’t really been kind to it, especially after looking at what followed for the WWF. The tournament itself ended up nearly being meaningless as Edge wouldn’t really become a big singles star until the following year, and it would take several more years before he really became a top man in the WWE. The last two matches were good but again their flaws are so apparent now and they don’t really save the show, especially the main event with its puzzling booking. Not to mention WCW had a chance to really make an impact to get the Invasion going, but DDP and Booker’s efforts were rendered moot almost instantly which pretty much set the table for the following months. There’s some good action here but overall I’m going to have to go thumbs in the middle, leaning slightly up.