The World Wrestling Federation Proudly Presents…
WWF King of the Ring 2001
Welcome, cats and kittens to another installment of Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight, as we have actually managed to find a working keyboard and operate it well enough to publish a review! Surprise! This time around, we’re reviewing another classic show, and this one is a personal favorite from back in the archives, WWE King of the Ring 2001! Gasp, as you see the death defying antics of Shane McMahon and Kurt Angle! Cheer as you see a new King of the Ring crowned! Frown confusedly as you try to make sense of the first PPV of the Invasion angle! It all happens here!
So without any further ado, let’s do a motherfucking review!
Segment 0 – Introduction!
This show is incredibly entertaining, fantastically memorable and all, all wrong. There are so many, SO MANY opportunities squandered in this one night by bizarre, self destructive booking decisions that it’s frankly amazing that the angle even made it to the Invasion PPV in the first place. We’ll get into the nitty gritty details of those as they come up throughout the show, but first let me take you back to where things stood when this show took place. It was 2001, and just 2 months earlier, Shane McMahon shocked the wrestling world by declaring that he had purchased WCW and would be using it to go head to head against his father, Vince McMahon. There were a lot of incredibly mixed thoughts about that concept at the time and there continue to be, but i’m not here to talk shit about the grand vision for the ultimate superfeud, because every single one of us at the time wanted that feud like a burning need in the back of our brains and there was an astounding amount of money to potentially be made from it.
In the month that followed, very little happened in this feud. Shane got himself booked in a Last Man Standing match against the Big Show, which he won, and, on May 28th, Lance Storm kicked off the hostilities by running in on a match on Raw. From then on, the WCW guys were shown in the stands, or they’d run in and mess up matches. Low key stuff. But oddly, throughout all of this, WCW was presented as an invading force. An almost faceless group of hostile nobodies here to interfere with our regularly scheduled WWE programming. They were quickly normalized as a group of star power challenged bad guys, while at the same time Shane McMahon himself was pushed very strongly on tv as a rebellious hero, holding out against his father and bullies like Kurt Angle. This disconnect hurt WCW’s ability to get any heat, as did a few other baffling oddities that, again, we’ll get to. But nothing was as tumultuous as the main event scene.
After Wrestlemania, WWE hit on an idea that drew some of the hottest heat they had managed since the 90s. Steve Austin had just turned heel, but it was unlikely that he’d find it easy to get fans to stay mad at him for his actions, since he had made a career out of being a tweener anyway. So they put him with Triple H and Vince McMahon in a stable called the Two Man Power Trip and had them bully and annihilate the most popular faces on the roster, the Hardy Boyz. Oh my god, did it ever work. The heat on those two for murdering Team Extreme with chairs every night was nuclear, and they successfully carried that over into feuds with the Brothers of Destruction, and then finally Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho. In one of the great examples of heat building to a meaningful climax, the Two Man Power Trip had a match for the tag titles on Raw against the Canadian Chrises that ranks up as one of the best tv matches in wrestling history. The Chrises won that match, putting them on the map finally as real main eventers, and setting into motion a million different possibilities for the next few months. But that match also saw Triple H go down with his famous quad tear, and while we’ll never know exactly what the plan was before his injury, many accounts agree that Trips getting hurt threw a MAJOR wrench into plans and forced them to speed up the Invasion angle before it was really ready. You will see that fully in evidence throughout this show.
But enough about what you WILL see. Let’s just damn well see it already!
Segment 1 – They Didn’t Make Him Famous.
I know i’m prone to hyperbole, believe me, I know. But I feel confident in saying that this is the worst angle that WWE ever ran. Worse than the Gobbledy Gooker, worse than Roddy Piper in black face, worse than Carlito going leprechaun hunting, worse than all of it. The absurd failure of this angle to produce anything coherent, logical, or even watchable offends my senses even now. But don’t take my word for it, let’s run through the storyline.
It starts with the Undertaker being shown a series of voyeuristic videos that someone has taken of his wife, Sara, at their home. For a few weeks, these videos would break in during Taker’s matches and promos and get him incredibly steamed, while a masked voice would say leering and suggestive things about what it wanted to do to her. Taker, being Taker, then spent weeks accusing everyone and beating everyone up trying to get to the bottom of who was so stupid and suicidal that they would make things personal with him. Now, this storyline is super problematic just for this part, but in wrestling terms, there is something here. Nobody had ever been able to get at Taker on a personal level like this, and Taker is such a legendary destruction machine that seeing him in such a blind rage is terrifying and has tons of potential. Keep that in mind for later.
Finally, Sara’s stalker announced that they would reveal themselves on Raw that week, and they rode a motorcycle to the ring to further antagonize Taker. The masked man stood in the ring as the wrestling world buzzed in that moment. For whatever we say now, that moment was hugely anticipated and the flashbulbs were lighting up the arena as the masked figure held his fist proudly towards the sky and in one motion ripped off the mask to reveal…
Shock. That was the only word for it. Other WCW guys had shown up before this, but nobody with as big a name as Diamond Dallas Page. And now he was here in a WWE ring, and he was picking a fight with the Undertaker. It was crazy and a huge spectacle. And to this point, the angle was still working. Maybe DDP had a master plan to take Taker out, maybe this was all an elaborate scheme to throw WWE”s biggest dog off of his game to distract him and help WCW take over. Maybe Page would actually beat Taker and be the face of a new WCW. Oh, what sweet summer children were were back then.
Up until this point, the storyline had potential. DDP could play himself up as a master of mind games, and use it to humiliate WWE. WCW could get that strong win it needed to establish itself right off the bat! But from the moment DDP appears on this night, the whole thing starts to unravel. DDP cuts an impassioned promo, trying to make the best of this, but on commentary the announcers are already burying him, and making it clear that Taker is luring DDP into a trap here tonight. Little 16 year old me saw this and scoffed, thinking that it was just my cynicism getting the best of me. You’ll see 16 year old me get a lot of wake up calls through out the course of this show.
At any rate, DDP takes his ticket, and his sign saying “Make Me Famous” and sits down in the front row, waiting for…what? Hmm.
Segment 2 – King of the Ring Semi Finals – Kurt Angle vs. Christian
Oh yeah, I totally forgot to mention that the whole King of the Ring thing was happening on this King of the Ring PPV. That’s kind of telling of how it was presented in the lead up to the show. Basically, the semi finals of this hallowed tournament came down to a four way toss up being the bestest best friends in WWE, Angle, Christian, Edge and Rhyno. They didn’t spend much time dwelling on that surprisingly, and most of the focus was on Angle attempting to be the first person ever to repeat as King of the Ring winner. But hovering over the entire tournament is the specter of Angle’s REAL match tonight, the street fight with Shane McMahon.
This is a solid match, and if there was one, non-Invasion, takeaway from this show it has to be that Kurt Angle was an absolute machine at this point in his career. Every sell, every spot, every mannerism was absolutely perfect, made his opponents look great and set up perfectly for the next thing. Later in his career he would get so good at this, that his matches would dissolve into spot ballet as he sought some higher form of wrestling existence, but right here is the perfect sweet spot for him. Christian is mostly forgettable, though absolutely solid, which was always the knock on him before he reinvented himself in the mid 00s. But the story from this match comes when Shane McMahon walks out and pulls Christian off of Angle at just the right moment to save Angle and give him an opening to win.
Shane walks off smirking at a job well done, while Kurt gives us his, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?” face, which ranks up with the best facial expressions you will ever see in the wrestling business.
This was a stepping stone to better things in every way, but damn, they don’t make 8 minute matches like this anymore.
78 out of 100
Where Did Their Careers Go From Here?
Kurt Angle – Draw – If you’re someone who thinks Kurt Angle is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, you probably think that this was smack dab in the middle of the early part of his greatness. If you’re someone that thinks that Kurt Angle is an overrated crazy person who looks like someone tried to shave an overripe tomato, then you would probably acknowledge that this was the only time you actually enjoyed him. Either way, there were World Championship behind him and in front.
Christian – Steep Incline – Christian, buddy, this version of you is forgettable. You’re so clearly the Jannetty of this team that it almost bums me out to see you come to the ring and try so hard to get noticed. But don’t worry, buddy. 2005 is gonna come, and when it does you’re going to become a smark folk hero. You’ve got it all ahead of you.
Segment 3 – Diamond Dallas Sage.
We go back to DDP, who is fidgeting in his seat like a cocaine addict in a 70s night club. Paul Heyman goes over to him and asks him what they hell he’s thinking by antagonizing Taker like this, and DDP gives us the impression that he has some kind of master plan and luring Taker out is part of it. Then the footage cuts out and we see a handheld video of DDP ordering lunch at a diner. For some reason this spooks DDP and makes him angry and he calls out Taker, to no avail. I don’t know why he’s so upset about watching himself order lunch, but man, he really must hate the age of smart phones, huh?
Segment 4 – King of the Ring Semi Finals – Edge vs. Rhyno
This is really the start of WWE’s years long attempt to make Edge a single star. You can totally see why they’d want to, too!
He looks like a star here, wrestles his ass off and can cut a mean promo. What’s not to like? Unfortunately it would take a number of injuries, failed push attempts, ill fitting character changes and the wrestling world’s most famous case of adultery before Edge would finally find the Rated R Superstar. Here, he’s just Pretty Good. He and his opponent have a good match, including a great double spear spot that the crowd ate up, and Edge won clean in what was definitely considered something of an upset at the time. Edge moved on to his destiny, and the show rolled along with it’s second good match in a row.
Oh, and as for his opponent? Rybo or whatever? Never heard of him.
75 out of 100
Where Did Their Careers Go From Here?
Edge – Steep Incline – It took a whole bunch of restarts and mulligans, but when Edge finally found something to latch onto, he became the defining heel of our era. It’s one of those inspirational stories about a super gorgeous dude with tons of charisma and skill overcoming all the odds and…goddammit.
Rybo – Draw – I read on Wikipedia that he ran for political office, but failed.
Segment 5 – Spike Dudley and the Case of the Mystery Partner.
In the grand narrative of the Dudley Boyz, this was a period where Bubba and D’Von were heels and little Spike Dudley was a plucky underdog who was just trying to do right by his sweet girlfriend, Molly Holly. This time period for Spike is mostly marked by him getting beaten half to death by people who were jealous of their relationship, which must have been a nice vacation from getting beaten half to death by people just because they thought it was fun.
Here, a defiant Spike calls out his brothers and challenges them to a tag team title match tonight, after they interfered in his match on Smackdown, and Bubba and D’Von appear as if summoned by the doughnut gods to do some top flight bullying.
Segment 5 – Chris Jericho Is Vague.
Next up, we go to the locker room, where Chris Jericho is doing what most people do when Tazz is trying to talk to them; avoiding eye contact and staying very still to avoid detection.
Jericho plays word games and dances around the question of whether he would actually defect to WCW after winning the title and walks off without giving us any clue as to whether he would or not. The odd thing about this whole shoehorned in subplot, is that nobody is really mentioning that he and Benoit were former WCW stars at all. You would think that connection would play a big part in this, but they’re really just making it seem like both guys like Shane McMahon and that’s it. Also odd, is the fact that this defection angle is casting both guys as last minute villains to WWE fans, while the super villainous Austin is now the hero defending the WWE against overwhelming odds. So we have a heel faction with a babyface leader, tempting two babyfaces into being potential heels, while a heel champion defends the babyface faction from…
Fucking hell, this is giving me a headache.
Segment 6 – WWE Tag Team Championships – The Dudley Boyz (c) vs. Spike Dudley and Kane
The surprise opponent is Kane. The surprise opponent is always Kane, guys. Always.
Spike Dudley is kind of a forgotten character these days, which is a shame, because maybe nobody in history took a more entertaining beating than Spike. He was so light, and so willing to get thrown around, that you would see spot spectacles with him unlike anything else, just during something as simple as a back body drop. And when he teams with someone like Kane, it just opened up a whole new toybox of possibilities for Spike to be used like a fuzzy lawn dart.
This match really doesn’t have much to it. Spike does a few things that shave a few years off of his life, eats a 3-D and then Kane chokeslams Bubba through a table to stay strong afterwards. It accomplishes its goal and that’s about all you’d say for it.
73 out of 100
Where Did Their Careers Go From Here?
The Dudley Boyz – Incline – They’re already starting to be considered one of the best teams of all time here, but there are a whole lot more titles ahead of them, and an eventual World title win for Bubba.
Spike Dudley – Steep Decline – Sorry, Spike.
Kane – Push – Kane is Kane is Kane is Kane. Forever and always, amen.
Segment 7 – Diamond Dallas Rage.
Once again, we go back to DDP in the front row being forced to watch a handheld video that someone took of him arriving at the arena, and completely freaking out about the invasion of privacy while a fan in the seats behind him loudly yells, “UH OH! UH OH!”
The Guy In The Visor Is The One Yelling.
I know i’m beating a dead horse here, but WHY IS PAGE GETTING SO WORKED UP ABOUT THIS WEAK ASS COMEBACK TO HIS STALKING OF THE UNDERTAKER’S WIFE?! If his entire plan was to lure the Undertaker to fight him on this particular night in this particular place, and it’s so important that Page is literally sitting in the front row begging Taker to come out and spring the trap, then why is something this simple unraveling all of his plans and driving him crazy? WHAT IS PAGE’S PLAN?! We’ll have to wait and see, but it better be good.
Segment 8 – This Is How Billy Gunn Dresses Himself.
I don’t have a comment, I just wanted to share.
Segment 9 – King of the Ring Finals – Kurt Angle vs. Edge
This match is basically forgotten, as it was hugely overshadowed by Kurt’s other match tonight and all of the other things going on in WWE at the time, but this is a marquee match between two members of the future Smackdown Six, (if you don’t know what the Smackdown Six was, ask your parents, kids.) So if you’re talking about the Six, what you’re talking about is matches that flow as smooth as silk from counter to counter to spot to spot so that you don’t even remember individual moments, so much as you sink happily into a warm, gooey malaise of quality.
That’s exactly what this is for the first 10 minutes or so, before Christian runs down to distract the referee, preventing Edge from getting a pin. Then Edge accidentally knocks out the ref, which conveniently prevents him from seeing when Edge taps out to the Angle Lock moments later. And then the coup de overbook comes when Shane McMahon hops in the ring, does a little shimmy, and then somewhat embarrassingly does a better spear than Edge ever has in his entire career.
The Little Shimmy Is What Makes It.
Edge and Angle get up and stagger towards each other, Edge snatches him up for a big ol’ Impaler, and just like that, Edge won the King of the Ring, forever to be listed on the very bottom of his career achievements.
It’s kind of alarming how short this match was considering that it was ostensibly a semi main event here. The whole thing goes about 10 minutes and really doesn’t involve much of anything that you haven’t seen before. It’s like a Mike’s Hard Lemonade. It isn’t what you want, and you wouldn’t want to publicly support it, but it sure does go down smooth.
78 out of 100
Segment 10 – WWE Light Heavyweight Championship – Jeff Hardy (c) vs. X-Pac
HEY YO YOU DEALIN’ WITH THE X-FACTOR
Today, in tribute to the rarely remembered and never appreciated stable known as X-Factor, I would like for you all to engage in something i’m calling the X-Factor Challenege. It goes like this. Get the X-Factor theme song on your phone or mobile device, pick a friend or loved one, and see how many times you can play it near them without warning in a single day before they uppercut you in the throat and leave you for dead. Here’s the song to get you started!
My personal best is 2 times before the uppercutting. Let me know how far you guys get!
As for this match, there really isn’t much to say about it. This is the tail end of X-Pac’s run in WWE, and Jeff Hardy was just killing time before moving on to something way more important than the Light Heavyweight title. So instead of really paying this match much mind, let’s fondly look back on what an underrated wrestler X-Pac really was.
Aside from simply boosting the credibility of smaller guys simply by existing in the land of the giants as the 1-2-3 Kid, and then by associating with stars far higher up than guys his size usually got to, Pac was also universally regarded as a phenomenal talent in the ring, who would be used to gauge how good up and coming talent was, and who could be relied on with absolute consistency to get a good match out of anyone whenever he was sober enough to figure out where the ring was. Inner demons and promo skills that were bad on a thermonuclear level prevented him for ever really rising to the top without being in a stable, but he was kind of the ultimate stable guy. He was the one who would have the great matches for the NWO and DX, while the other guys did the talking and looked more impressive. Frankly, I would endorse X-Pac for the WWE Hall of Fame and do it proudly. And if you are one of the contemptible masses who still believe that “X-Pac sucks,” then, well, may you receive a patented X-Pac dick rub carousel.
Damn, That’s Just Mean.
Oh, and X-Pac loses this match.
There’s no justice in this world.
73 out of 100
Where Did Their Careers Go From Here?
Jeff Hardy – Steep Incline Then Steep Decline Then Incline Then Steep Incline Then Decline Then Incline Then Steep Decline Then OBSOLETE
X-Pac – Steep Decline – Sorry buddy, have to do it.
Segment 11 – Diamond Dallas Played.
So here it is. The culmination of the weeks of mind games and planning. The time when the crafty Diamond Dallas Page reveals the plan that brought him out of the shadows, the time when DDP fires the first shot for WCW against the megolith of WWE as it’s biggest star and representative. After a show full of weirdness, Page finally steps into the ring…and is shown another video of him in his car. This time the camera turns around to show Sara, who was seemingly the one videotaping him the entire time. I guess we’re supposed to feel like this is some kind of payback, though I don’t think anyone on Earth would equate taking a cellphone video of a guy in a car to taping camcorder footage of a woman undressing from the bushes outside her house. This whole reveal is played as if it’s the mega twist at the end of Lost, and then Taker’s music hits.
Now, if you’ve seen this show, you know what is coming. If you haven’t, let me just say that reason I keep referring to DDP’s plan, is because anyone with any sense would have to assume that there was one, right? To antagonize the Undertaker repeatedly and beg him to make you famous, only to stand in the middle of the ring and have the Undertaker humiliate you and then beat your ass unopposed for 10 straight minutes, well that just makes no sense. But if Page ever had a plan it went right out the window, because that’s exactly what the Undertaker does.
For 10 long, uncomfortable minutes, the Undertaker punches and punches and punches and punches DDP, who manages to get in some meager offense, but mostly just gets stomped like a skyscraper in a Godzilla movie. Since Page is unquestionably the biggest name at WWE’s disposal associated with WCW, this is even more baffling as the Undertaker carries out one of the worst burials in the history of WWE. DDP’s run dies here, and a few months from this point he’ll be a grinning motivational speaker, busting his ass just to get on Heat.
You could argue that this one segment hurt the Invasion angle right from the beginning, and that without Page, it lacked the star power to ever truly be a success. You could argue that. You SHOULD argue that. Because it’s true. And i’m leaving out crucial parts of this, like how WWE built the whole angle around the idea that we wouldn’t already know who Diamond Dallas Page was, or that he was famously married to a fitness model, or how Page’s career was demolished simply because Vince had never seen him work before and assumed that Page sucked after seeing him try to work through ring rust and adjust to the WWE style. All of this giant clusterfuck tornado of awfullness started swirling right here on this night, as the Understaker stomped Page into oblivion.
Poor Page. Let’s move on. I can’t watch him try to make the best of this for one more second.
Segment 12 – Street Fight – Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon
Let’s look at this match from Shane McMahon’s perspective. You purchased WCW from under your father’s nose, beat him in a dramatic match at Wrestlemania, and have been a thorn in his side ever since. You come out on Raw to interrupt Kurt Angle and to antagonize him, because he’s one of WWE’s biggest stars, and enrage Kurt to the point where you get him to agree to a match at King of the Ring. Throughout the night, you manipulate the situation so that Kurt wrestles the maximum number of matches possible, and then make sure he doesn’t win the King of the Ring, driving Angle further into a rage because having a genius level wrestler like Kurt Angle angry at you is basically the only way to get him off of his game. And now you’re in a street fight, a no rules environment that you have triumphed in time and time again, where your resilience, creativity and complete disregard for your own well being can compensate for your lack of skill, and where your opponent is out of his comfort zone.
If you win, you strike a gigantic, inspiring blow for WCW. If you lose, then you lose nothing, because nobody expects you to win. You’ve have baited, cajoled, and manipulated the situation perfectly to put yourself in line to get the biggest win of your life, and to kickstart WCW into the stratosphere. To control all of the momentum going into the war that will determine the fate of the next decade.
All you have to do is find a way to beat this man:
The best wrestler in the world. A man of legendary skill and tenacity. 220 pounds of trained and focused muscle obsessed with bringing your life to a short and gruesome end.
So begins one of the most memorable matches in WWE history.
Everyone remembers one thing about this match. Shane failing to go through and then finally going through the glass on the set. It’s one of the most brutal and visually incredible spots there ever was, and the story behind it, (Kurt broke his tailbone during the match and couldn’t get enough force behind the suplexs to get the job done, so Shane just kept demanding that he try again until they made it work,) is the stuff that sports legends are made of. But let’s focus on what a lot of people don’t remember, and that is how absolutely incredible this match is.
The storytelling starts right from the beginning. Like many Shane matches, Shane knows very well that he needs to be chock full of surprises to have a chance. If Kurt Angle gets him on the ground, he is going to die a humiliating death, and so he makes sure to always be in motion. Whenever Angle gets ahold of him, Shane makes a beeline for the ropes, and does his best to endure the punishment as Kurt tries to beat him down in one big flurry of offense to start things off. For his part, Kurt just keeps coming straight ahead, not seeing Shane as any sort of a challenge, and completely enveloped in red rage.
When Shane starts landing some offense, though, and begins to mock Kurt again and again, Kurt eagerly takes the bait and starts falling into traps left and right. During one of these, Shane catches Kurt in the face and busts open his eyebrow (*wink**wink*) giving me all sorts of chances to make jokes about Kurt “seeing red.”
Despite Shane’s trickey, the early minutes of this match are 90% Angle. Kurt is just too damn strong, too damn fast and too damn good to be beaten by a plucky, but horribly overmatched civilian. But like all of the most powerful villains, hubris proves to be his undoing when he challenges Shane to some amateur wrestling and gets a heavy boot right in the ribs for his troubles.
From then on, Shane is all motion, as he flies around the ring, confusing and attacking Angle from unexpected directions, and in ways a normal wrestler would be too smart to try.
And then, out come the weapons. If you started watching wrestling in the last 10 years and saw an Attitude Era match, I think the way weapons are used would be the most shocking thing to behold. Weapons are used often, are swung HARD, and are usually aimed directly at people’s faces in a way that you will never see again in our post-concussion awareness society. In this match, those weapons are Shane’s equalizer, as he lights up Kurt with a kendo stick again and again, and peppers him his jabs to the face as he works Kurt all around the ring, dishing out inventive punishment. After 5 straight minutes of offense, Shane finally manages to wear Kurt down to the point where is is something like a fair fight. But even then, Kurt keeps exhibiting signs of his freakish athleticism that shows Shane has a mighty long way left to go.
More weapon shots follow, as well as a game attempt by Shane to do an actual wrestling move.
That’s Cute, Buddy.
At this point, Shane has been beating on Kurt mostly unopposed for minutes, as his constant stream of motion and offense has Angle completely in shock and unable to recover. You might think it wouldn’t work at this point to have someone like Kurt Angle so under siege, but the way they’re playing it is that Angle is still not really hurt, he’s just in shock, and Shane desperately needs to put together some more major offense or Kurt is going to recover and destroy him. The weapon shots aren’t doing it, the punches aren’t doing it, and let’s not even talk about the Sharpshooter that is so poorly done that even the Rock would giggle at it.
So Shane decides to go for the home run, and climbs to the top rope. Now, Shane McMahon loves to fly, we all know that, but in the past he wasn’t very good at it. Mostly he either just fell from a great height, or delivered his patented top rope, waggly elbow drop. So when Shane climbs to the top and does THIS…
…jaws hit the floor and chants of “HOLY SHIT” fill the arena. Sadly for Shane, though, that was a big swing and a miss, and now it’s Kurt’s turn. Kurt throws Shane out of the ring and drags him up the entrance ramp. Along the way Shane suplexs Kurt on the floor, (which is what breaks his tail bone, just remember that that is broken for the rest of this match,) but Kurt would not be deterred. He spots the glass, looks at his enemy, grabs the poor bastard and flings him into history.
In just a normal gif, you never see just how bad this spot fucks these guys up. They’re both cut all over from the glass, gimmicked though it is, and Kurt is in such obvious pain from his tail bone, but goddamit the plan is for Shane to go through BOTH panes of glass, so they collect themselves and go for it again.
I have seen that series of spots at least 100 times, and yet even now, my hands were shaking while I recorded those gifs, because there has never been anything like that moment aside from maybe Mankind flying off Hell in a Cell. It’s visually incredible, makes both men look like absolute warriors, and absolutely positively has to be the end of the match, as well as Shane McMahon’s wrestling career.
But it aint.
Kurt literally grabs a rolling equipment case, chucks Shane on top of it and rolls him to the ring, where somehow, SOMEHOW, Shane manages to kick out and keep this match going. By now the crowd is losing it’s fucking mind. It’s just one loud roar, as Shane and Kurt swap offense for a few moments before building to the finish. What could possibly be the finish to a match featuring the glass spots? This could:
Kurt pulls Shane up onto the ropes, lifts him onto his shoulders and delivers an atom bomb of an Angle Slam into the detritus filled ring. Kurt covers Shane and mercifully ends the match as the crowd deafeningly applauds the efforts of both men. Together they lay in the ring, broken and bloody and beaten half to death before Shane gets the standing ovation he richly deserves and they make their way to the back, walking separately, but forever linked in the memories of gif lovers everywhere.
This match is SO GOOD. Obviously, it’s no technical masterpiece, and some of Shane’s offense is just amusingly terrible, but this ranks right up there as one of the great carry jobs of all time by Angle. He stitched together all of the mega spots, and Shane’s weird offense into an actual match, made you believe that Shane could somehow win, and then delivered every step of the way with a BROKEN TAILBONE. It was magnificent, and maybe the defining performance of his great career.
There’s a reason why I have seen this match over and over in my life, and to this day cannot turn it off if I see it on. It’s magical and brutal and everything wrestling is and should be for me. Absolute greatness.
100 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Where Did Their Careers Go From Here?
Shane McMahon – Decline – The Invasion storyline was the top of the mountain for Shane as a lead character, and even though it didn’t work out, it wasn’t for lack of trying on his part. As Triple H and Stephanie gained power in the company, he left and pursued other interests very successfully before finally returning this year to pretty solid success.
Segment 13 – WWE Championship – Steve Austin (c) vs. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit
Poor Jericho. Every time he got a chance to main event, he always wound up having to follow something like THAT.
This match is mostly forgotten, because it feels as thrown together as it was. This was right in the middle of Austin’s transition from shit talking tweener, into sycophantic and paranoid heel champion. Fans, uh, did not like this transition, even if it did make for some great comedy. Honestly, Austin isn’t to blame for it not working, as his work in transforming his every mannerism and tic with the new character is some top class stuff, and he may never have been better in the ring than he was here before his body gave out on him. Jericho, for his part, is good, but not quiiiiite as good as you remember him being, and Benoit is…well Benoit is…I mean he was really good and we’ll leave it there, right?
After the novel length book I wrote about the last match, i’m not going to drag this one out. It’s a solid, but unspectacular main event where they try to manufacture some drama by teasing Benoit and Jericho as secret heels who might want to steal the belt for WCW, but that angle is largely unconvincing, and the crowd never gets fully into this whole thing. It takes a lot to convince fans that lifetime upper midcarders like Benoit and Jericho are suddenly capable of beating Steve Austin for titles on PPV, and they really didn’t do enough in the lead up to this to make them seem threatening enough. Even Booker T running in out of nowhere and putting Austin through a table isn’t enough to make it convincing, (though it is pretty great.)
The other thing that really works against this match is that the ending is really rushed and out of nowhere. This is because this is the match where Chris Benoit breaks his neck on a nasty Super Back Drop towards the end.
Like An Explosion Went Off In His Neck.
With him completely out of the match, they hurry up and end it, with Austin crawling over and pinning Benoit anticlimactically.
This isn’t horrible, but it’s not anything that you need to seek out and it there are plenty of times that I watched this show all the way through and just stopped after Shane/Kurt. It’s a shame considering the crazy talent in this match, but sometimes it just doesn’t work.
77 out of 100
Where Did Their Careers Go From Here?
Steve Austin – Steep Decline – Really, Austin’s career started a steep decline the moment that Wrestlemania 17 was over, because that show was the climax of his entire career, and perhaps WWE as a company. But in a year, Austin would be pretty much does as an in ring competitor and two years later he’d be an authority figure, bringing his career full circle.
Chris Jericho – Incline – This was during that era where every internet forum was full of TRIPLE H IS HOLDING CHRIS JERICHO BACK BECAUSE REASONS. Remember that? And now Chris Jericho is still main eventing 15 years later. So I guess they made up or something.
Chris Benoit – Uh…yeah.
When I was a kid, I had exactly 5 WWE VHS tapes. I had this show, WWF Survivor Series 2001, WWF Royal Rumble 2001, WWF Royal Rumble 1991 and some weird DVD that had highlights of big matches from 1999 cut to songs. Of all of them, this show is the one that I watched the most, so much in fact that I warped the tape and destroyed it. There’s a reason for that. Even the forgettable parts of this show feature fun characters from a time that is gone forever, and culminates in what may be my favorite non-Japanese match of all time.
So basically, you should watch it. Just skip the whole DDP thing. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.