Staples Centre – Los Angeles, CA – TV Rating – 4.2
We kick things off with Stone Cold Steve Austin holding court in front of the “superstars” of WCW and ECW. He’s standing on a table. He talks about the alliance that is coming together to defeat WWE. He has special thanks for his wife Debra and says that he stunned Lita on Raw for the alliance. I mean I guess it’s preferable to listening to the McMahon kids.
The APA Vs Chris Kanyon & Diamond Dallas Page – WWE Tag Team Titles
The champs are out first which seems to happen purely so a video can be run of DDP and Kanyon attacking Taker and Kane on Raw in between the challengers entrances. This is actually not too bad at all. The WCW guys look competitive in places but then we get to the same old problem. On paper a four minute win over the APA to win the WWE Tag Team Titles looks great. It gives DDP and Kanyon some momentum. But once again they cannot win without help. This time it’s Test, who comes out of the crowd and attacks Faarooq and then rushes the ring to hit Bradshaw with the belt allowing Kanyon to limply cover for the win (he was suffering the effects of a Clothesline From Hell). Test’s “heel” turn is a little underwhelming but I suppose it served a purpose.
The Rock is shown arriving and then we cut to the crowd where Arnold Schwarzenegger is in attendance. Presumably he had to show up on time/before the show.
Perry Saturn Vs Raven
A potential main event in the “Bingo Hall” days is now a one minute plus change match on Smackdown revolving around the fact that Saturn loves a mop, to the extent that he “left” Terri Runnels for it. Terri is out with Raven as a result. But it doesn’t appear to meant that she’s defected to the Alliance. She just is really upset that she’s been left for a mop. What can you do in a minute? Not much. Saturn throws a few punches, hits a suplex and then Raven goes to the top rope but Saturn casually catches him. Swinging Fisherman Suplex later and Saturn has won. But what’s this? Moppy is missing? Saturn is distraught. Terri has disappeared. So I wonder…
Test, DDP and Kanyon are chatting backstage about who the APA got exactly what they deserved. Again the Test/mole thing isn’t actually that bad an idea at all. But it was rushed through and now after ignoring it for a few weeks Test finally has defected. Anyway. William Regal interrupts and says that as Kanyon & DDP are now WWE Champs, they fall under his jurisdiction. As such, they will be defending their titles at SummerSlam against…Kane & The Undertaker…in a steel cage match.
Former WCW World Champion David Arquette is also in the crowd tonight. He and a mate playfight.
We’re then with William Regal in his office, who has Molly Holly and Spike Dudley with him. X-Pac walks in and is upset about Tajiri misting him on Raw and challenges Regal and Tajiri to a tag match with him and Albert. Spike says he knows Regal is very busy so he accepts the challenge instead.
Rob Van Dam Vs Edge – Hardcore Title
I mean if you’re not on board with what five minute TV hardcore matches in 2001 are like then you might be surprised by this one. So yes, it is the usual stuff, heightened slightly by the fact that RVD is in here. Once again on paper the fact that the “outsider” wins and retains his title is good. But again, not even the one new superstar that the Alliance has can win clean. I mean it’s a Hardcore match so he could do whatever he wants himself, but instead Lance Storm runs in and he and RVD do the Conchairto and the RVD hits the five star frog splash for the win. But where was Christian? Well we’re not getting that answer tonight seemingly.
Stone Cold and Debra are backstage when WCW Tag Team Champions Palumbo and O’Haire walk in. At least Austin recognises them and knows their names for once. They want to be leaders like Austin and assure him that they will always have his back.
Spike Dudley & Tajiri Vs X-Pac & Albert
Another dream match. Or not. It’s one of the problems with the Invasion storyline again. Mostly now we’re getting WWE Vs WCW/ECW guys in matches on TV but without any real jeopardy, just a general jostling for position. Yet we’re also getting the occasional WWE vs WWE match and it just sums up the muddle of the time. As a match this isn’t bad as Tajiri is in there and the guy is over. He puts in some trademarks kicks and virtually everything he does is over. So of course, he takes the loss and is pinned by Albert following the Baldo-bomb.
Back in Regal’s office we get Saturn looking for Moppy, but our commissioner tells him to go ask Terri. The WCW Tag Team Champions then come in and they want competition. Against any WWE team at all. And they want it tonight. Regal surmises that the Hardy’s and The APA are already booked so he’ll have to think about his options but that if they belts are on the line he will gladly sanction a match. I can’t see this ending well for Palumbo & O’Haire.
Back in the arena and it’s time for Booker T. And Shane. In lieu of anything meaty or interesting behind the Booker/Rock feud we’re just out here waffling and killing time until the Great One comes out. Shane no sells his Streetfight loss on Raw because it’s not who wins, it’s who walks away. And their post match attack means it wasn’t The Rock who walked away. Finally, the Rock interrupts and does his usual. He makes fun of Booker and the Spineroony and then does the old “lets not wait until the PPV” run in. Booker has a bit of the early going but then Rock batters him and then batter Shane, finally putting him through the announcers table. You could say ten minutes of fun. You could just say lazy booking.
Saturn is backstage, still looking for Moppy. Terri confronts him and again is upset that she’s been dumped for a Mop. She must really have loved Perry.
Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire Vs The Undertaker & Kane – WCW Tag Team Championship
Of course it wasn’t going to end well for the WCW guys. Regal has chosen Taker and Kane, even though they have a shot at the WWE Tag Titles at SummerSlam already booked in. The champs get some licks in, but not many. Any they do get are usually revolved around cheating or using chairs. Inevitably the “good guys” win and they are the new WCW Tag Champions. Which is all well and good. But AGAIN weeks worth of storylines (DDP and Kanyon chasing the WWE belts, Taker & Kane going after the WCW ones) are thrown out in the space of one show.
Chris Jericho Vs Hugh Morrus
Pre-match, Hugh had told Stephanie McMahon that he would get revenge for what Jericho did to her on Raw. I’m not sure he means it as getting revenge for one of the worst segments in quite some time. More for the “pie” in the face. For once a short (90 second) run through Morrus getting a few punches in and then Jericho slapping on the Walls of Jericho for the tap out win is all you really need. No one in the crowd cares about Morrus so it’s nothing lost in that sense. Of course the WWE never gave people a reason to care about many like him.
Post-match, Rhyno runs out and Gores Jericho. They brawl up the ramp and then in a pretty cool spot Rhyno Gores Jericho through the Smackdown set.
After a break, Stephanie runs up to Rhyno backstage and is thrilled at what he did. Rhyno wants to finish the job at SummerSlam and Steph thinks that’s a great idea.
Elsewhere, Saturn has called the cops to try and find Moppy. The cops are not amused but seem to think that humouring him is the best course of action. I’m sure that Saturn suddenly being lucid (relatively) and being able to talk to the cops “normally” in parts is a very good in-depth storyline waiting to play out. And not just a logic gap that no-one could be cared to work out.
Stone Cold Steve Austin & The Dudleys Vs Kurt Angle & The Hardy Boys – Elimination Match
There’s some fun in the early going as Austin refuses to tag in to take on Angle, who is desperate for it, and laughs as he does so. It’s a little nuance that adds a lot. This goes over thirteen minutes and is good fast action for the most part. The problem is that, presumably, we’re doing the elimination gimmick so that we get to Austin Vs Angle where Austin can’t back off. And that’s what we get. And we also get the not-at-all-foreseen non-finish when we get to that point. Angle manages to the get Ankle Lock on but D-Von returns with a chair and they work to the “chair in the ankle/jump off the turnbuckle” spot. Matt & Jeff come back and even up the odds as Angle is carted off. Austin gets cocky and taunts Angle as he follows him and then he tosses him off the gurney. Still, as he looks to the crowd he doesn’t see Angle make a recovery of sorts and he gets the Ankle Lock on. Buh Buh breaks it and as we go off air Angle is down but defiant, Austin is screaming that he’s broken Angle’s leg.
At this stage, these TV shows are what they are. At least this week we got a decent main event (until the finish – and even that at least can be excused as build up for SummerSlam) in amongst the random WWE Vs Alliance matches with nothing particularly at stake. The switching of the tag team belts seemed rushed but we’re a mere ten days away from SummerSlam and it’s clear that largely the bookers are winging it.