Mellon Arena – Pittsburgh, PA – TV Rating – 4.3
Clips ahoy to start tonight. Austin betraying WWE at Invasion, Austin from Raw on Monday, Angle attacking Austin, Austin costing Angle his main event match. I mean if you hadn’t ever watched a wrestling show in your life before this one at least you would know who the main star was.
After the SD intro we’re straight into a match. Blimey!
Hardy Boys Vs Billy Kidman & Hurricane Helms
He couldn’t be Shane and now he can’t be Gregory. He’s not yet the masked/caped Hurricane yet though. Again, this could hardly be said to be a “dream match” per se, but it’s one of those that has potential and is certainly a bit more looked forward to than, say, Albert versus anyone. Of course it’s WWE TV so it goes less than four minutes but at the same time it’s as crisp and exciting as you could expect in the circumstances. Good bit of back and forth (including a Lita ‘Rana on Kidman on the outside) which is wrapped up when Matt hits a Twist of Fate on Helms then Jeff climbs up for the Swanton and the three is a formality.
When was the last time that a WWE TV show opened up with two non-McMahon segments? Oh wait, it’s Billy Gunn and The Big Show backstage. Bring back Shane and Stephanie. Anyway, Show thinks they should team up as the “Show Gunns” which Billy thinks is terrible. The two then trade their terrible nicknames (Rockabilly, Mr Ass, The One with no Talent versus The Giant, The Big Slow or “A Big Pile of horsesh*t”) before Gunn tells Show that “driving through the parking lot” doesn’t count as Show working out.
Ok, so maybe don’t bring out Shane and Steph…But they are here, with Paul Heyman but none of their stars. Hammering home who the real stars are? Well maybe for once not. After some waffle they bring out all the title holders they have. O’Haire, Palumbo, RVD, Storm and Booker T. Booker relinquishes his US Title to Chris Kanyon. Again a great way to get a guy none of the WWE fans know/care about huh? Finally Stone Cold comes out. Before he can carry on too much Kurt Angle interrupts (in his hometown, nonetheless) and the two jaw back and forth. Angle challenges Austin and Austin appears to accept before swerving and saying “not tonight” and instead booking Booker T to defend HIS title against Angle.
In the Commissioner’s Office, Regal is telling Tajiri he is glad that Kurt Angle is on the WWE’s side. Chris Kanyon comes in and asks for a rematch against Chris Jericho. So we are reminded that the man who just was given the US Title without earning it lost on Raw. Regal says that if he wants the match he has to say “she sells seashells by the seashore” ten times. Of course, with his lisp Kanyon struggles, much to the amusement of Regal and Tajiri. Still, it’s not the worst time Kanyon will (allegedly) be told to accentuate his lisp. Kanyon asks why they are laughing and Regal says it’s because Tajiri speaks better English than him. Again, way to get a guy over! The upshot is a tag match pitting Jericho and Tajiri against Kanyon and RVD is booked.
The Dudley Boys Vs Billy Gunn & The Big Show
As I have noted a number of times it can be frustrating to see matches announced for WWE TV in 2001 and know that they will last less than five minutes. This is not one of those occasions. The quicker this is over the better. It’s not awful but I’m just completely disinterested in. Not least because the “in-fighting” between ShowGunns somewhat telegraphs the ending, even if it’s only an “inadvertent” clothesline from Show that fells Gunn. A 3D later and it’s over. The losers bicker. I’ve no real idea what any of this is supposed to achieve.
JR announces that The Rock will be on Raw on Monday where he will tell the world (and Vince) whether or not he’s coming back to save the WWE. There’s then a special tribute video to the Rock which reminds us all of Vince’s speech on Raw and just how effortlessly entertaining Rock could be. Booker T has been watching this backstage and doesn’t care about The Rock. Austin tells him not to worry about Rock and to focus on Kurt Angle. Austin adds that Rock may not even be coming back to WWE…he may have found a home with the Alliance. Once again weeks of angles are being thrown around and distilled into a couple of shows.
Diamond Dallas Page Vs Kane
It’s a grudge match, as Michael Cole tells us that Taker is at home with his wife tonight after he hit her with a chair on Raw. It’s you basic brawl really, although reasonably intense. For once DDP gets some offence in as well. The ending lets it down though as DDP introduces a chair into proceedings which Kane avoids. But when Kane grabs it and uses it, Nick Patrick DQ’s him. Kane isn’t happy so he corners Patrick which allows Page to smack him with the chair. Kane sits up though so DDP runs off. Of course he does. In lieu of anything else, Kane chokeslams the WCW ref.
Perry Saturn is backstage when he is approached by his opponent tonight, Lance Strom. The IC Champion doesn’t mind what Saturn does with the mop in his own time, but he doesn’t want it at ringside tonight making a mockery of his business. All Perry can say is that “underoos” are fun to wear.
Edge & Christian are looking for Kurt Angle to wish him luck for tonight but instead they find Tazz. They mock his old “thug life” catchphrases. Tazz is annoyed. That’s that.
Chris Jericho & Tajiri Vs Kanyon & Rob Van Dam
Again, a match that on paper has some merit but we know will go less than five minutes. It’s good for what it is, as it should be given who is in there. There’s some good moves that pop the crowd before Tajiri appears to have things going WWE’s way when he locks the Tarantula on RVD. However Kanyon grabs his newly acquired US Title belt and smashes Tajiri with it. A Five Star Frog Splash from Van Dam later and that’s another one in the bag.
Backstage Perry Saturn is desperately looking for Moppy. Turns out that Terri has it and wants a chat. Perry has to make a decision. It’s either her or the mop. Perry angrily grabs the mop which answers that question I guess.
Lance Storm Vs Perry Saturn – Intercontinental Title
Oh dear. You just know there will be mop related shenanigans here don’t you. Perry runs around the ring with his mop before placing on the turnbuckles, which gives Storm the opening to attack. They trade some punches before Perry builds up some steam with a clothesline and suplex. Storm fights back, Saturn fights back, Storm fights back. Perry slingshots Storm into the mop. Lance wipes his arse with the mop which causes Perry to nail Storm with the mop for the DQ. If you have to tell the Perry/Moppy story does it really need to be against Lance Storm for the IC title?
Backstage Shane has a videotape that will remind The Rock of just what kind of a man Vince McMahon is. Oh joy. Anther Shane in-ring promo coming up then… He waffles on in the ring and then introduces his video which shows all kinds of times when Vince has attacked or done the dirty on Rock. Back to Shane who says that it’s the Rock’s choice on whether to come back to Vince and that we’ll all find out on Monday. Again, we’re rushing through (potentially) weeks of storylines in a few nights.
Edge & Christian Vs Rhyno & Tazz
Former multi-time tag team champions take on former ECW World Champions in another one of those matches which are relatively intriguing without ever being remotely “dream” matches. It’s competitive and largely balanced between the two teams but once again it’s three minutes and out. In the end Tazz has the Tazzmission on Christian whilst Rhyno is setting up for a Gore. Edge moves and Rhyno hits the locked-up Christian and Tazz which causes Christian to fall on top of Tazz for the 1-2-3.
Booker T Vs Kurt Angle – WCW World Title
There seems enough time left for this to have the chance to give us something good, even if we know there will be plenty of shenanigans in the closing stretch. Angle has the most of the early going, including slamming Booker onto the announcers table twice, but a missed Moonsault gives Booker and opening and he takes a little bit of control. Spurred on by his hometown crowd Angle is able to fight back into it. Eventually they fight up to the top and Angle hits a superplex which is the cue for loads of Alliance members to run out and try and save the WCW champion. Naturally a load of WWE guys return the favour and there’s a massive brawl. Angle covers Booker but referee Hebner is busy at ringside and misses it.
Kanyon runs in and nails Angle with a chair shot and finally Hebner gets back in the ring to see both men down. Booker gets up, gets a couple of near falls, but Angle is on fire and cleans house. However when Booker goes for a scissor kick he misses and waffles Hebner. This is the cue for Austin to hit the ring and deliver a stunner to Angle. As Austin walks back up the ramp Booker goes for the spinnaroonie but Angle grabs him and puts on the Ankle Lock. Hebner is awake now and see Booker tap and we have a new WCW World Champion. Austin, who had been walking away with his back turned is stunned.
Again, the pace of the show means it’s rarely boring and whilst there’s nothing “great” on show it’s all perfectly watchable in one sense. But again, there’s a rush to things that makes for watchable TV but with the regret that angles, such as the Rock’s return, are pushed through in days when just a few weeks of build up could have ramped up the anticipation all round. But that’s 2001 WWE for you!