– Live from San Jose, CA
– Your hosts are JR & Paul E.
– Opening match, Intercontinental title: Lance Storm v. Edge. Once again, Lance’s opening promo is interrupted by offbeat shenanigans. You know, if years of reading Mad Magazine have taught me anything, it’s that offbeat shenanigans are only funny until you run out of material, and then you’re just some hipster doofus sponsoring a sketch-comedy show on FOX. Think about it. Mat stuff to start, and Edge gets a flapjack and dumps him. They head out and brawl, and back in Edge goes up with a flying bodypress for two. Storm reverses a suplex and tosses him, as Edge takes the railing bump. Back in, Edge eats knee and Storm gets two. Edge cradle gets two. Storm gets a front suplex, a rarely-used move these days. Storm starts working the ribs, as Edge comes back but misses a dropkick. Inside cradle gets two for Edge, but Storm comes back and pins him for two. They slug it out and Edge goes for a crucifix, reversed by Storm to a rolling fireman’s carry for two. Back to the ribs, and a senton gets two. Don’t see much of that, either. Edge fights back, but walks into an abdominal stretch, in one of the very few instances where it’s actually a sound move given the psychology. Edge hiptosses Storm out of the ring to escape, but Storm goes up… and gets powerslammed on the way down. Double KO and they slug it out, which Edge wins. Backdrop and heel kick get two. Storm suplex is reversed to the Edge-O-Matic for two. Edge blocks a rana with a powerbomb for two. Storm slaps on the Canadian Mapleleaf, however, and things are looking bleak. Edge makes the ropes and hooks his own half-crab, however. Christian decides to run in, spears Edge by mistake, and Storm gets… two. Thought that might be it. Superkick is blocked, and the Impaler finishes at 11:16 to give Edge his second IC title. Storm carried Edge to the match of his career, but once again the Great Toronto Conspiracy sees the Ontario boy going over the Albertan. **** Note to certain people: That last part was a joke.
– Meanwhile, Test gets all bitter on Michael Cole.
– Spike Dudley & The APA v. Test & The Dudley Boyz. Faarooq quickly takes the double-team neckbreaker and D-Von gets his twisty elbow thing, but he walks into a spinebuster. Test pounds on Faarooq in retaliation, but the APA double-team him. Bradshaw gets caught in the Alliance corner, but no-sells and DDTs D-Von for two. Spike comes in with a small package for two. Bubba drops him on the top rope in dramatic fashion and he’s YOUR face-in-peril, as if there was ever a doubt. Test gets a spinebuster and D-Von gets a table. Suddenly everyone in the room calls the finish from 10 miles away. Can you? Test tries to slam Spike through the table, but Spike falls back for two. Dudleyz flapjack him for two. D-Von goes up and misses, hot tag Bradshaw. The APA cleans house, leaving Bradshaw and Test. Powerbomb for Test gets two. Spike tries the Acid Drop on Test, and of course Test javelins him through the table outside. Bradshaw hits the Clothesline from Heck, and Shane-O-Mac makes a rare undercard appearance, clocking Bradshaw with a chair and giving Test the pin at 7:18. Man, Shane is just drooling to get Test over. Match was standard stuff, but pretty decent for what it was. *1/2
– Meanwhile, Christian gets a call from gramma… and gets blown off in favor of Edge. Ouch.
– Meanwhile, Meat gets chewed out by Debra, and decides to once again do something memorable, including changing his tights. “I don’t even KNOW what ‘mecca’ means!”. See, now they should just keep this guy around for comic relief.
– Title v. title: X-Pac v. Tajiri. If you don’t know who’s gonna win this match and why, you’re a sad, naive soul and there’s no hope for you. They trade wristlockery to start, and Tajiri gets a standing moonsault for two. X-Pac rides him down, Tajiri responds in kind. Tajiri gets a rana, X-Pac bails, and Tajiri follows with a nice quebrada. X-Pac posts him low and kicks him in the back while he’s hanging there, for good measure. Back in, X-Pac spinkick gets two. Into the bow-and-arrow, but X-Pac’s shoulders are down for two. X-Pac powerbomb gets two. Broncobuster misses, and Tajiri kicks him in the corner and comes back with the handspring elbow for two. Tarantula and he goes up, but X-Pac reverses a bodypress for two. X-Pac goes up and lands in a weird pinning combo, but Tajiri catapults him into the turnbuckle and gets a german suplex for two. Tajiri gets dumped and X-Pac follows with a somersault plancha. Back in, Tajiri tries the handspring again, but X-Pac ducks it and gets the X-Factor for two, reversed to that weird submission move and a cradle for two. Albert lumbers out as X-Pac spinkicks Tajiri, but when he jumps onto the apron Tajiri mists him… and walks into the X-Factor for the pin at 7:33. Oh, what a shocking finish. Match was a bit on the short side, but good. **3/4 Notice the pattern: X-Pac finds the new hot thing (Kidman, Tajiri), puts them over to set up a rematch, and then wins the last match so that he can bury them and make sure they don’t get over. HHH must be teaching classes now or something.
– Chris Jericho v. Rhyno. Speaking of “As the Political World Turns”, here’s another interesting match, based more on connections than actual booking. Slugfest is won by Rhyno, and he grabs a headlock. Jericho crossbodies him and unleashes MIDCARD VIOLENCE. Rhyno tosses him, but he comes back in with a shot off the top for two. Walls of Jericho are blocked, but Rhyno bails and gets hit with the springboard dropkick. He goes up, but Steph’s giant mammaries distract him and block out half the ringlights, allowing Rhyno to GOAR GOAR GOAR Jericho on the way down to the floor. Back in, it gets two. Rhyno goes all OLD-SKOOL~!, with a body-scissors and AIRPLANE SPIN, BABEE! See, I was just calling for the resurrection of that move in the Wrestling Gold rants. That’s service. We hit the chinlock, and Jericho fights out and gets a rollup for two. Rhynoplex and he goes up, but misses a splash. Of course, had Jericho not moved it wouldn’t have hit anyway, but that’s neither here nor there. Jericho backslide gets two, and he comes back. A moonsault press is BADLY blown, but gets two. Rhyno misses a blind charge and Jericho goes up, and manages to blow a missile dropkick in EVEN WORSE fashion, slipping off the top completely and nearly breaking his neck. Note to Chris: Get rid of the damn lifts, you’re not fooling anyone. Note to Stephanie: There’s your comeback next time he makes fun of your gigantic bazookas. Note to Rhyno: I don’t really have anything witty to say to you, but I didn’t want you feeling left out. They then break my first rule of wrestling by repeating the spot, and this time Jericho tries from the middle to play it safe, and thus hits it. But alas, Sable McMahon-Helmsley is distracting the ref, so Jericho heads over and kisses her, setting up what I think we all know is coming down the road. Lionsault gets two, but Rhyno comes back with a spinebuster and Walls of Rhyno! Jericho makes the ropes and Rhyno preps for the GOAR GOAR GOAR, but misses and Jericho finishes with a Rhynotamer at 12:34. Good effort from everyone not 3 inches taller than they should be. *** I hear through the grapevine that Jericho is now actively sucking up to the booking committee, which both delights and depresses me, for entirely differing reasons. But then I’m only truly faithful to the Other Chris when it comes down to it, so what happens to Jericho at this point in his career has become less important to me with every PPV. Note to conspiracy theorists: JR sewed the seeds of the double-turn by declaring that Rhyno would look good in WWF colors. Maybe that just means he wants to dress him in a panda suit…
– Hardcore ladder match: Jeff Hardy v. Rob Van Dam. Matwork to start establishes parity. They trade kicks and Jeff legdrops him low, and Rob backs off. Jeff gets dumped, but hiptosses Rob out and follows with a corkscrew plancha. He comes off the top and hits railing, allowing RVD to get the guillotine legdrop and grab the ladder. Jeff meets with the railrunner and brings the ladder in himself, but takes it in the jaw. Rob straddles the ladder to pick it up, and takes it in the crotch. Hardy 1, RVD 0. Double-jump moonsault on the ladder follows, but a blind charge misses and Rob hangs him in the Tree of Woe and does bad stuff to him, like forcing him to watch those old matches from Shotgun in 98 where the Hardy Boyz were dressing like Bon Jovi and jobbing to Los Boriquas. Okay, he just kicks him in the face a bunch of times, but I think the former would be more painful. Rob puts Jeff on the ladder and somersaults across the ring onto it, and then spinkicks and superkicks Jeff to set up another guillotine legdrop, this time onto the ladder. Rob showboats outside and turns around to meet the ladder face-first, buying Jeff some time. Jeff climbs but gets dropkicked off. A cartwheel splash onto the ladder kills Jeff. Rob should have one of those gymnastics balls and a length of ribbon tied around his wrist to complete his ensemble. I mean, a friggin’ CARTWHEEL? He climbs, but gets dropkicked and falls off, wiping out both guys. Jeff DDTs him and goes up, but misses the swanton. ***** frog splash also misses. Jeff climbs again, RVD follows, and superplexes Jeff off the ladder. Rob goes back up, Jeff follows, and powerbombs him off the ladder. Jeff climbs again and grabs the belt, but Rob yanks the ladder away, leaving him swinging there. Missile dropkick fails to dislodge him, but Jeff eventually falls anyway, without the belt. Jeff goes back up, but Rob pushes him over (and hurt Jeff’s leg on the ropes from the looks of things), climbs up himself, and regains the title at 16:33. You could see they were trying to tone down the crazy spots a lot, but the result is a lacklustre, although still really good, ladder match. ****
– Meanwhile, Shane has a gift for Booker: Bookends made out of the announce table. Awww.
– WWF v. WCW tag titles: DDP & Kanyon v. Underseller & Kane. The brothers dismantle the Jersey Boyz and no-sell EVERYTHING, including a lowblow and two shots to the cage from DDP. UT no-sells a clothesline and more carnage follows. Kanyon gets chokeslammed and DDT gets pole-vaulted into the cage. Kanyon finally manages a fame-asser on Kane and DDP DDTs UT. They climb, but UT grabs DDP and tells Kane to let Kanyon get out. So it’s 2-on-1, and they just absolutely murder DDP, giving him literally no offense. Finally, he just tells Page to get the hell out and don’t come back, but even then changes his mind, chokeslams him, and finishes with the Last Ride to unify the titles at 10:17. ?* You know, I know that DDP is being a jerk backstage and that’s why this match was made into what it was, but for someone paying $30 to watch this at home who DOESN’T know this stuff, this had no place on PPV. I mean, you’re paying DDP like $300,000 a year and using him as a JOB GUY for Undertaker? What’s the point? They already used O’Haire and Palumbo in that slot two shows in a row, and they make a hell of a lot less than DDP does and have FAR more years ahead of them in the business. I hope to GOD this feud is finally put to rest once and for all and they just get rid of DDP and get it over with so that Kanyon isn’t brought down any further. Wasting a potential money-drawing unification match to play political games is the kind of thing WCW used to do. I’m pretty sure that Vince McMahon is above that sort of stuff and I hope he’s gotten it out of his system now. And let’s place our bets now on what goofy non-finish is used to get the unified titles off them.
– WWF title match: Steve Austin v. Kurt Angle. Fight on the floor to start, and Austin whales on him. Into the ring, Angle takes him down and they pound on each other like schoolkids fighting over a girl. Angle stomps a mudhole, but makes a crucial tactical error by not walking it dry, and Austin gets his own shots in. Angle clothesline and bodyblock get two, however. He puts his head down and gets caught, and Austin works on the knee. Stepover toehold is countered with the anklelock, but Austin makes the ropes. Outside, Austin hits a clothesline and they head in, where Austin dumps him again to soften up the ankle. Back in, a triple suplex gets two, but Angle comes back and gets seven german suplexes. HEY! That’s gimmick infringement! Angle Slam is blocked, and Austin sends him to the turnbuckle. Austin puts him on top, but Angle blocks a superplex. Austin keeps wearing him down and gets it on the second try. Good psychology there. KICK WHAM STUNNER out of nowhere… gets two. Again, and Angle goes flying out of the ring on the rebound. Austin viciously posts him, drawing blood as promised on RAW. Another two postings are added for good luck, then one for the road and one to grow on. Angle, as you might guess, looks like Tommy Dreamer after taking a tour of the cheese grater factory. Austin slugs him down for two, then tosses him back out and back to that post again. Angle finally sends Austin into the crowd, but Austin suplexes him on the concrete. As Austin climbs back in, however, Angle catches the anklelock, then drags him into the ring by the foot and keeps it on until Austin makes the ropes. Austin bails as Angle bleeds to death. Belly to belly on the floor turns the tide for Angle, and a backdrop suplex there helps. Back in, Angle hits the Anglesault for two. Austin grabs a Million Dollar Dream (!!), but Angle shows awesome psychology by using the Bret Hart Counter from Survivor Series 96 for two, which Austin then counters by rolling out of it and maintaining the sleeperhold. I bow to the Buddha nature of these guys and am not worthy to recap their matches.
Angle dumps him to break, but Austin sneaks back in, KICK WHAM STUNNER… gets two. The crowd and my young cousins nearly have a collective heart attack. Angle crawls up, blocks another Stunner, and gets the Angle Slam for the double KO. Angle crawls over for two. Anklelock, but Austin is in the ropes, and just in case he decks the ref. DDT from Angle, but a second ref counts two. Austin takes that ref out. Third ref in, third ref out. Angle Slam, no ref. Nick Patrick comes in, disqualifies Austin for grievous mistreatment of WWF officials, and the crowd is PISSED at 23:11. Man, they totally booked themselves into a corner with this match – they couldn’t put Austin over because it would destroy Kurt Angle, but they couldn’t put Angle over because they need Austin strong for the unification match against Rock. And that’s why DQs were invented. If it had a finish, it’s Match of the Year, but it didn’t, so it ain’t. ****1/2
– WCW Title match: Booker T v. The Rock. Rock slugs away and chases Shane, allowing Booker to catch him coming back in. Rock gets a samoan drop for two, but walks into a kneelift. The Book unloads with chops, but Rock lays the smackdown. La Majastral gets two. Good lord, Rocky. Booker hits the sidekick for two, and they slug it out again. Booker gets bumped, and they brawl until Rock goes low, pissing off Paul Heyman. Booker crotches Rock on the railing and they head into the crowd. Wicked clothesline from the Bookerman. He sends Rock back to the ringside and preps the announce table, then tosses him into the ringpost (where Angle’s blood is apparently still congealing) while Shane loosens a turnbuckle. Back in, Rock fights back but walks into a spinkick for two. Short-arm clothesline and kneedrop, but Rock fights back… and gets hit with the forearm for two. Booker hits the chinlock, into the surfboard. He’s gotta do something about that habit if he wants to go from a ***1/2 guy to a ****1/2 guy. Rock escapes and hooks the Sharpshooter, but Shane distracts the ref. Rock chases and gets kicked in the head for two. Rock gets a clothesline and catapults Booker into that loose turnbuckle (O, the painful hand of irony!), and a DDT gets two. Shane gives Booker a chair and then lays out Rock with the WCW title while the ref removes said chair. The APA come out and lay out Shane in revenge for earlier in the night. BOOKEND, BOOKEND, BOOKEND… gets two. Rock comes back with the flying lariat and overhead belly to belly for two. Spinebuster sets up the People’s Elbow, but Shane pulls out the ref. Rock gives Shane Rock Bottom and heads back in. Booker gets a spinebuster, no cover. Axe Kick sets up THE MOST ELECTRIFYING MOVE IN SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT TODAY, the Spinarooni, but Rock pops up, Rock Bottom, goodbye at 15:18 as Rock wins the WCW title. Frighteningly, the Spinarooni got a Poparooni. Really good match, but not WWF main-event level good, more like WCW main-event level good. That’s not a knock on either guy, because Rock is rusty and Booker just needs more main events to learn the style, but nonetheless they weren’t gonna follow Austin-Angle and it was kinda silly to even try. ***3/4
The Bottom Line: Probably the second-best PPV of the year after Wrestlemania X-7 and definitely the best Summerslam ever, with 7 good matches and only one total stinkeroo in the form of the tag title cage match. Still, the Austin-Angle match was kinda like having a heaping bowl of delicious chili and finding a used needle stuck to the roof of your mouth at the end of it. I was actually thinking they’d go Angle over Austin and Booker over Rock to set up rematches next month, but I guess the money is burning a hole in Vince’s pocket and he wants to shoot his unification wad at Unforgiven and get it over with. But hey, it’s his company, and I can totally understand why he’d want to.
Peace, we out…
Aug. 20, 2001
By Scott Keith