Sunday 25 September 2016

Journey Through The Attitude Era Vol 41: WWF Wrestlemania 17 Review (The Finale)

Image result for wwf wrestlemania 17

My dear friends, I hope you are having a wonderful day for it is truly a sad day for me as we have reached the final chapter of the series. Yes it is the final episode of Journey through The Attitude Era, I’ve laughed, cringed, complained and enjoyed every second of this series but all good things must come to an end. So welcome back to the only web series which gets beaten more times than Dolph Ziggler, yes we are looking at every pay per view from The Attitude Era from beginning to end while critiquing, analysing and evaluating all the action from the hottest period in wrestling history. The end is upon us as I dive into Wrestlemania 17. It is The Rock vs Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWF Championship, the two biggest stars that wrestling had possibly ever seen vying for the most prestigious title in the industry at the biggest show of them all. We also have TLC 2, Taker vs Triple H, Vince vs Shane and many more. So for the final time, let’s start up the nostalgia time machine and enjoy what is considered to be one of greatest pay per views of all time (I feel a tear coming already).

Opening Promo

The opening promo is everything you could want from the WWF, scenes of classic Manias, people all around the world watching the greatest moments in wrestling with Freddie Blassie’s voice narrating the whole thing. Children, teenagers, adults and the elderly all watching wrestling and enjoying the madness. Welcome to Wrestlemania, welcome to the WWF where anything could happen. Fuck yes I love it, I love it and I love it! Glad to see the network has My Way from Limp Bizkit, that song with the promo for Austin vs Rock is pure magical. The hairs on my neck are standing just thinking of that promo but more on that later, Wrestlemania 17 is huge, the arena is packed with over 60,000 fans. Huge fireworks, huge stage and it is tremendous. Paul Heyman’s first pay per view with WWF as Lawler quit to stand with his wife The Kat who was fired by the WWF.

(WWF Intercontinental Championship Match) Chris Jericho © vs William Regal

Opening contest is for the Intercontinental Championship, Y2J will be battling the commissioner William Regal. Regal had been installed in the position after Mick Foley had been fired by Vince Mcmahon. Jericho interrupted Regal on his coronation so Regal would place Jericho in handicap matches. Jericho would gain revenge by peeing in Regal’s tea (Truly besmirching Regal’s pride). Regal is taken down with a clothesline to start, flying forearm by Jericho. Spinning heel kick by Y2J and Regal powders to the floor.

 Plancha by Jericho who chops the chest of the commissioner. Reverse elbow by Jericho, Regal takes down Y2J but Jericho rolls in The Walls of Jericho. Regal counters and tosses Y2J shoulder first into the ringpost. Make it two by Regal, arm wringer by Regal who applies a wristlock on Y2J. The commentators play up that Regal had assaulted Jericho’s left arm on Smackdown. Lionsault attempt by Y2J is blocked by Regal who tries a roll up. Two count for Regal who drops Jericho with a back suplex. 

Regal exposes a turnbuckle and continuously smashes Jericho into the post. Jericho breaks Regal’s momentum with two kicks to the head. Jericho drops Regal with a forearm and scores with a missile dropkick. Jericho misses a Stinger Splash, Regal drills Jericho with a double underhook suplex from the top. Cover and a two count for the challenger. Jericho blocks a back suplex, Regal counters The Walls and applies The Regal Stretch with the pressure on Jericho’s left injured shoulder. Knife edge chops by Jericho after escaping but Regal kicks the arm of Y2J.

 Regal misses The Regal Cutter, Y2J rams his head into the turnbuckle with Jericho looking ready for a Lionsault. I am not too sure about the finish, Jericho looks at Regal as if to say “ I cannot Lionsault you for you are too close to the ropes” so Jericho lays him out with a snap suplex and then goes for The Lionsault. It was certainly not a momentum killer because I feel the match just never clicked, it was alright and had psychology but I don’t know. Regal has a certain style and it does not work for me here (Sorry Regal lovers).

Winner: Chris Jericho over William Regal via Lionsault!

Bradshaw Promo

Bradshaw cuts one of the best promos of his life as he fires up Jacqueline and Faarooq for their match by referencing important Texas moments and the importance of Wrestlemania.

RTC W/ Stevie Richards vs APA & Tazz W/ Jacqueline

Sadly, this match is not going to be saved, RTC try to nail APA & Tazz it does not goes well for RTC. Jackie drops Stevie with a DDT, Faarooq and Bull kick us off, Tazz is in with a t-bone suplex on Bull. Bull big boots Tazz and tags in Val Venis. Knees to the ribs and a Russian legsweep by Val, cover and a two count. Reverse elbow by Goodfather and Val, giant legdrop by Goodfather.

 Back suplex and Tazz kicks out at two. Ho Train connects by Goodfather and now Goodfather looks for a splash form the second rope, Tazz avoids Goodfather and tags in Bradshaw. Fallaway Slam on Val, Faarooq battles Bull. Double spinebuster on Val, Bull pummels Faarooq while Bradshaw drops Val with a back superplex. Double team powerbomb on Bradshaw, Goodfather misses The Ho Train and Bradshaw picks up the win with a Clothesline From Hell. Short and sweet and we shall leave it at that.

Winners: APA/Tazz over RTC via Clothesline From Hell!

(WWF Hardcore Championship Match) Raven © vs Kane vs The Big Show

I like Raven and I am glad to see him get a Wrestlemania match. Raven brings a trolley of weapons to ringside. Raven tries beating on Kane before Show is even in the ring, Kane no sells Raven’s offence as Show makes his way to the ring. Kane decks Raven while Show is still walking to the ring, Show must be confident that Raven will survive. Kane military presses Raven to Show, Show catches Raven and looks for The Final Cut.

 Kane dives on the two and now we have crowd brawling (Ah WWF you have not once not given me crowd brawling and I hate you for it!). Show slams Kane on some wooden pallets, Raven runs from Show. Show catches up and locks himself in with Raven. Kane breaks the padlock on the cage area and smashes Show with weapons. Raven’s attempt at choking Kane fails as Kane smashes Raven through a wall. Kane tosses Raven through a glass window while Show smashes Kane through a door, Kane gains revenge by putting Show through a wall.

 Raven gets on a golf cart and crashes into a wall, Kane gives chase running over Raven’s leg. The three improvise as the golf cart segment was meant to last for a while. Show has Raven by the entrance stage in a military press, Kane big boots both men off the stage and drops a legdrop on Show.

 Kane is your winner. That was a fun match, Kane had the potential to be a dominant Hardcore Champion but it did not last very long, some cool spots in this match and a fun fact about Kane: Kane had not been pinned on pay per view for over a year by Wrestlemania 17. Simply a Badass Monster.

Winner: Kane over Everyone Else via Elbow Drop!

Kurt Angle Promo

Angle is watching footage of Benoit lock in The Crossface and make Angle tap. His buddies Edge & Christian ask about celebrating tonight but Kurt is all business stating he never tapped out to Benoit. Serious Angle is coming out ladies and gentlemen, shit is about to get real!

(WWF European Championship Match) Test © vs Eddie Guerrero W/ Perry Saturn

Albert had betrayed Test in December so Test was a babyface that was getting a push during the time. Guerrero was the new head of The Radicalz as Benoit had left the group turning babyface. Eddie jumps Test but Test overpowers the shorter Eddie, flapjack and a gutwrench powerbomb by Test. Eddie kicks out and powders to the floor. Test hammers Eddie on the floor, Saturn distracts Test so Eddie presses his advantage.

 Test outpowers Eddie and drills the challenger with a clothesline. Reverse elbow and a scoop slam by Test, Test goes to the top rope but Eddie greets Test. Eddie’s hurricanrana backfires as Test hangs on, elbow by Test and a two count for the champion. Eddie lowbridges Test, the referee has to free Test from the top rope. Guerrero goes after Test’s leg, smashing the leg into the floor. Eddie continues to kick the leg of Test, elbows to the inside leg by Latino Heat. Both men trade bombs before Eddie applies a sleeper. Test begins to fade before Eddie releases the hold, Irish whip into a tilt a whirl slam by Test.

 Another Irish whip into a spinning powerbomb, two count for Test. Full Nelson by Test, Eddie distracts the referee and Saturn nails The Moss Covered Three Family Credenza (Easily my favourite move name). Eddie nails a brainbuster, Eddie misses The Frog Splash, Eddie dodges The Big Boot but Test nails a Pumphandle Slam. Big Boot to Saturn and Eddie, Dean Malenko pulls out Test so Eddie stays alive. Test nails Dean but Eddie has the belt and whacks Test in the face. Eddie cheats to win. That was a fine match, Eddie was not on top form towards the end of his WWF run but Eddie could still go when he needed to and Test looked good taking on so many people at once.

Winner: Eddie over Test via Shenanigans!

Chris Benoit vs Kurt Angle

Angle believes himself to be the greatest technical wrestler in the WWF, Benoit believes otherwise so these two battle it out tonight to see who is the better technical wrestler? Simple story with two of the very best wrestlers in the world. Benoit is face for the first time in his WWF career since he originally joined the company as one of Cactus Jack’s friends. The two shoot for takedowns and wrap themselves one another (Oh behave you dirty little man). More intense takedowns, crowd is digging the action. Benoit clean breaks Kurt in the corner, stare off and Kurt takes down Benoit.

 Both me roll to the ropes ending in a stalemate. Benoit has Angle almost in The Crossface, Angle reaches the ropes, second Crossface attempt ends with Kurt taking a breather on the outside. Benoit is outwrestling Angle and Angle does not like it one bit, third Crossface attempt but Angle decks Benoit with a clothesline. Angle slams Benoit into the barricade and announce table. Angle hurls Benoit into the ring and stomps The Rabid Wolverine. Snap suplex with a floatover gives Angle a two count. 

Back suplex and another two count for Angle. Right hands by Angle in the corner, elbows to the mouth by The Olympic Hero. Benoit chops back with Angle, belly to belly suplex by Angle who taunts and celebrates. Angle takes too much time as Benoit clotheslines Angle out of his boots. Benoit cannot capitalize as Angle comes back strong, the two are trading shots in the corner but Benoit knees Angle in the ribs. Reverse elbow and a pin by Benoit, two count. Snap suplex, the result is the same with Angle kicking out. Top rope superplex by Benoit and Angle kicks out again. German suplex, two Germans, Benoit shoots for the third but Angle rolls through for The Ankle Lock, Benoit rolls through into his own Ankle Lock. Angle fights out but Benoit applies The Crossface, Angle counters with his own Crossface.

 Love it these two just tearing it up with the counters, referee takes a bump and Benoit applies The Crossface. Referee does not see as Angle taps, Benoit checks on the referee and Angle nails The Angle Slam. Benoit kicks out at two! Scoop slam by Angle and Angle misses the moonsault as Benoit drives his knees into Angle. Benoit calls for the diving headbutt, Benoit scores and a cover. 1..2.. Kickout by Angle, Angle low blows Benoit, Angle grabs the tights of Benoit and rolls The Crippler up for the win.

 That was different and refreshing in a lot of ways, the feud was built around being the better wrestler, Angle and Benoit started the match out by wrestling on the mat. They went hold for hold, counter for counter and submission for submission. Angle could not outwrestle Benoit so he had to cheat to get the win and Benoit is protected by having the visual tap victory over Angle, perfect setup for a rematch and I am looking forward to it.

Winner: Kurt Angle over Chris Benoit via roll-up!

(WWF’s Women Championship Match) Chyna vs Ivory ©

Before the match, we are treated to the WWF superstars visiting the troops. Kevin Kelly does not respect Benoit so Benoit applies The Crossface and Angle taps out once more. Next up is Chyna vs Ivory and it is the death of a division ladies and gentlemen. Chyna wanted to wrestle men but it was not the case anymore, Chyna was in the women’s division and looked unstoppable. Chyna had her neck kayfabe broke by RTC. Chyna wants to fight despite being told to retire so she is going to kill Ivory like she planned at The Royal Rumble. Now there are burials and then there is this match, this match screwed over all the hard work Ivory had put in to the title.

 We had bad champions like Sable, The Kat and Stephanie Mcmahon but this was a death nail for the division long before you young whippersnappers were criticising Kelly Kelly or The Bellas. Chyna is nailed with the championship belt in the neck and stomps Chyna. Ivory beats on Chyna’s neck but seconds later, Chyna decides to kill Ivory. A toss by Chyna, some forearms and kicks and a hiptoss. Some hard clotheslines by Chyna, big back bodydrop and a Jacknife Powerbomb.

 Chyna pins Ivory but pulls her up at two so Chyna punishes Ivory with a military press slam and causally sits back pinning Ivory with absolutely no effort, I mean this is the most nonchalant cover in history. And it is over, it was awful but that was it for the Women’s Division. Chyna would defend once against Lita before the title was deactivated until Survivor Series 2001.

Winner: Chyna over Ivory via Total Annihiliation!

(Street Fight) Shane Mcmahon vs Vince Mcmahon W/ Stephanie Mcmahon

Oh boy, Linda Mcmahon is in a comatose state while Vince fondled the assets of one Trish Stratus. Trish was turned on by Vince for trying to be more important than Stephanie. Trish was forced to strip but ultimately, Trish would remain at Vince’s side as a servant to Stephanie. Shane returned to WWF, challenged Vince and bought WCW from Vince Mcmahon.

 The wrestling world exploded could we be seeing WCW vs WWF? Well it would not be tonight due to Shawn Stasiak spilling the plans for the group to the dirtsheets so instead we see the WCW “stars” and I use that term loosely sitting in a skybox watching this match. Mick Foley is the special guest referee so things are not looking too good for Vince. However, Vince always has a plan. Vince slaps Shane at least 6 times as Shane covers up in the corner, Vince talks trash to his son, the product of his seed. Vince pummels Shane and chokes him in the corner. Shane battles back from the ground, huge clothesline and a spear by Shane. Shane pummels Vince as Stephanie is shocked.

 Multiple elbows on Vince, Stephanie slaps Shane and bails. Baseball slide by Shane, Shane hurls Vince into the steel steps. Shane looks for a weapon and finds a kendo stick. Wham across the back of Vince, make it three shots to the back and one to the ribs. Shane nails Vince with left shots to the head, Shane clears the announce table and lays poor Vince across the table. Shane perches himself on the top rope to drop an elbow through Vince and the table but Stephanie saves her father. Trish brings sedated Linda to ringside, Trish looks to check on Vince but no it is not to be as Trish has had enough.

 Trish slaps the shit out of Vince and goes after Stephanie. Mick Foley is slapped by Stephanie and the women are chased off by the great Mick Foley. Vince eyes up sedated Linda, mouthing the word “Bitch”. Vince looks at Shane and edges toward Linda. Foley protects Linda as Vince grabs a chair and nails Foley twice with the chair. Vince has a chair for Linda to watch Vince beat up Shane with weapons. Vince has trash cans, four to be exact.

 One shot to Shane, two shots to Shane and now Vince winds up for the third shot and the place explodes as Linda sits up. Nut shot to Vince and Mcmahon is broken, Foley is up and Foley hammers Vince in the corner. Right hands and a trademark knee by Foley. Shane has Vince in the corner, trash can planted in Shane’s face. Shane goes to the opposite corner. Van Terminator by Shane and it is all over, Shane pins Vince.

 As a wrestling match, there was hardly any but as a match that grabs your attention and targets your emotions, it was great. Vince is on the best heels in the business bar none, Vince is the ultimate pantomime bad guy in this match and for all his disgusting acts, he pays for every single one. Trish was wronged and got her revenge, Foley was attacked and got his revenge and Linda, Linda destroyed Vince for what he done as Shane defeated the evil Vince and all was right with the world.

Winner: Shane Mcmahon over Vince via Van Terminator!

(WWF Tag Team Championship Match) The Dudley Boyz © vs Edge & Christian vs The Hardy Boyz (TLC 2)

The Dudleys had won the championships from Edge & Christian while The Hardys were not even on the last pay per view. I am sure they explained somehow that The Hardys earned their opportunity but we all know they are in there because everyone loved the first TLC so much so why not do it again. Edge & Christian have the advantage going in being undefeated in the previous encounters between these teams involving ladders. Edge & Christian beat down The Dudleys and Hardys with a ladder, Edge grabs a chair before stomping on Matt’s groin with his brother in the corner.

 Jeff Hardy is smashed into a chair by Edge & Christian. Dudleys drag out Christian while Edge and Matt battle in the ring. Edge climbs the ladder before Jeff dropkicks Edge. Matt & Jeff baseball slide a ladder into The Dudley Boyz’s faces. Matt & Jeff nail The Omega Splash on Christian off two ladders. Nice spot there from The Hardys. The Dudleys nail The What’s Up headbutt on Edge. Table time for The Dudleys , Bubba and D-Von have two tables in the ring, one is propped in the corner.

 Edge is laid out on a table and Bubba counters a hurricanrana by Jeff and Bubba powerbombs Jeff onto Edge and through the table. The Dudleys stack 4 tables all together while Matt takes out both Dudleys. Christian and Matt set up ladders side by side, Christian is thrown to the floor by Matt. Three ladders are now erected side by side, all 6 men climb the ladders. Jeff and D-Von fall to the right while Matt and Christian fall to the left side of the ring. Edge and Bubba trade blows before falling to the mat. Edge and Bubba recover, little Spike Dudley thwarts Edge’s attempt to win with a Dudley Dog before dropping Christian through a table with a Dudley Dog.

 Rhyno interferes, using a ladder to wipe out D-Von and Jeff before goring Matt and Bubba, Matt was gored through a table. Edge begins climbing the ladder but here comes Lita, Lita stops Edge and Spike saves Lita from Rhyno. Lita nails a hurricanrana on Rhyno, Spike nails Rhyno with a chair shot that knocks Edge off the ladder. Dudley Death Device on Rhyno, chair shot by Lita on Spike but The Dudleys nail Lita with a 3D. Double chair shot by Edge & Christian on the Dudleys. Christian has a twenty foot ladder but Jeff nails Christian, stealing the ladder in the process. Jeff sacrifices himself with a Swanton through Rhyno and Spike Dudley through two tables.

 Unbelievable by Jeff, Christian and D-Von have a ladder in the ring, Matt removes the ladder and Christian and D-Von are hanging in the air holding the titles. Christian and D-Von fall to the mat, Jeff climbs for the belt and is hanging by the titles. Edge is on the twenty foot ladder and spears Jeff Hardy from the ladder to the canvas. 

Ridiculous spot which would be featured in omg moments for years in the WWE. Matt and Bubba are on a twenty foot ladder, Rhyno shoves them through the 4 stacked tables. I did not even recover form the last spot, this is insane. With Rhyno’s help, Edge and Christian pull down the belts for the win. That was nuts and these six men should get at least a month to recover from that match. There were so many big spots, so many bumps which must have hurt like hell but those men created an unbelievable match that is fondly remembered to this day.

Winners: Edge & Christian by Retrieval of the Belt!

(Gimmick Battle Royale Match)

Most of the horrible gimmicks from the 80s and 90s are here for this battle royal. In a nice touch, Mean Gene Okerlund and Bobby Heenan are at ringside for commentary which makes the event feel very authentic. So here will be my attempt at reciting all the participants. Great to see Bobby Heenan and sad to think what has happened to him in recent years. Our first participants are the Bushwhackers, two men who love walking bad and licking other men’s heads. Duke The Dumpster Droese, well he hails from the era of wrestlers who were based on jobs the garbage man.

 Next is The Iron Sheik, a former WWF champion who can be credited with legitimizing Hulk Hogan. Next up is Earthquake who was also Golga in The Attitude Era. Next up is The Goon, a wrestler who’s gimmick was he was a disgruntled hockey player. Doink is out next, everyone knows Doink. Kamala with Harvey Whipplemen and Kim Chee and we also have Repo Man who is formerly one of the members of Demoltion. Jim Cornette is here who is one of the greatest managers of all time but he is now more known for his Youtube shoots. Nikolai Volkoff is next up, followed by Freebird Michael Hayes. 

A legend in the Texas area of wrestling. One Man Gang who looks like he is in great shape and we have The Gobbly Gooker. The Gobbly Gooker debut at the same pay per view as Undertaker, I love this fact. Tugboat is here, also known as The Shockmaster. We have Hillybilly Jim who looks the exact same as he did in his heyday, some people really take care of themselves. 

Bruce Prichard enters as Brother Love who was a parody of the popular Evangelists of the time. Finally we have Sgt. Slaughter who stands for America. It is interesting to go back and watch this as the first time I saw this in 2001, I could name you only four people in this match. The match ends with Iron Sheik dumping out all the other jabronis who do not deserve to stand in the ring with the man. Sgt. Slaughter Cobra Clutches Sheik to death so America celebrates.

Winner: Iron Sheik!

(Triple H vs The Undertaker)

Triple H claimed to do it all in the WWF, there was nobody else but Triple H seemed to have forgotten The Undertaker. Triple H assaulted Taker multiple times so Undertaker was arrested by Triple H before Undertaker could have revenge. Kane threatened Stephanie so Taker manipulated Regal into giving Taker a match against Triple H at Wrestlemania. Motorhead play Triple H to the ring in one of the coolest ring entrances in Mania history.

 What sours the occasion is knowing Lemmy’s gone and the fact that Triple H had this entrance while nobody else had anything special so you know damn well someone is pulling the political strings and flexing those powers for this to happen. Taker jumps to the floor and proceeds to slaughter The Game. Triple H nails Taker with a knee in the ring but Taker gets right back up, sidewalk slam and a big back body drop by Taker.

 Running powerslam by The American Badass, Taker misses an elbow and Triple H is back to his feet, Taker clotheslines Triple H. Taker prepares for Old School but Triple H drags The Deadman down form the top rope. Neckbreaker by The Game, cover and a two count. Triple H uses closed fists on The Deadman, elbow to the back of the head. Swinging neckbreaker by The Game, repeated covers by Helmsley do not keep Undertaker down. Triple H and the referee argue before Taker hammers back on The Game, rights and lefts to the body of The Game. Facebuster by Triple H, cutting off Taker’s offence.

 Triple H has a sledgehammer, referee takes away with the hammer. Triple H looks for The Pedigree, Taker counters and catapults Triple H into the referee. Chokeslam by Taker and Taker cannot believe it as Triple H kicks out at two. Taker destroys the referee for not making the three count. Undertaker battles with The Game on the floor. Triple and Taker battle to a tech area, Triple H beats Taker with a steel chair until Undertaker Chokeslams Triple H off the tech area to the floor below. 

Taker drops an elbow to Triple H from the tech area, Taker battles off the EMTs who are tending to The Game. More crowd brawling until we are back by the ring. Taker has Triple H beat and Taker looks at the sledgehammer, Triple H had opened up Undertaker with a sledgehammer and Taker feels it is time for revenge. Triple H begs for mercy, Triple H low blows The American Badass, Triple H has the hammer but Taker blocks with the big boot.

 Taker wins the war of trading bombs, Triple H attempts The Tombstone but Taker counters into his own Tombstone. Still no referee as Taker has the match won, Taker sets up for The Last Ride but Triple H has the sledgehammer, Triple H cracks Taker in the head with the sledgehammer but Undertaker kicks out after the sledgehammer shot. The first signs of Taker being unbeatable at Mania ladies and gentlemen so as Jericho would say, drink it in man! Triple H was punching Taker in the corner but Taker countered with The Last Ride and Triple H has been conquered.

 This match does not get a lot of love compared to other Taker Mania matches and I can see why, as heated as the build should have been, I don’t feel the match matched the expectations set by the story of Triple H going through everyone except The Undertaker. As we also know, Taker got better with age and many would consider 2000 and 2001 as low years in Taker’s illustrious career. This match just felt long and the heat was not there for it so I’ll say this, it was good but it could have been a whole lot better.

Winner: Undertaker over Triple H via Last Ride!

(WWF Championship Match) The Rock © vs Stone Cold Steve Austin

 For months, the WWF had teased Stone Cold vs The Rock and tonight, we finally have the match that everyone wants to see, these two, the very best going at it in the centre of the ring. Now let us forget that Debra was interjected into this feud for no reason except as filler. Now to the awesome parts, the promo package is still considered as the best of all time.

 The song, the clips, the build everything was simply perfection. What I want to draw attention to in this buildup is Rock laying at Austin and symbolically placing a beer can beside the laid out Stone Cold and Austin saying he needs to beat The Rock and he will do everything possible to become champion. These two little details will be very important in the grand scheme of things. Howard Finkel announces that this match will be a No Disqualification match and JR questions why this is the case?

 Another subtle hint at things to come perhaps? Anyways, this is Austin’s return to the top of the mountain, being hit by a car had cost The Rattlesnake a year of his career but Austin can rest easy if he returns to the top of the mountain tonight. Austin starts by jumping Rock after Rock poses on the top turnbuckle, Rock and Austin trade blows, Lou Thesz Press and an elbow by Austin.

 Swinging neckbreaker by The Rock, Rock Bottom attempt is blocked, Stunner is blocked while The Rock attempts The Stunner, it’s blocked and Austin hurls Rock to the floor. Right hand by Austin, we have crowd brawling (Damn you, you could not have a final episode without crowd brawling in the main event). Clothesline by Austin cuts off Rock’s momentum, stomps to the back of the head by The Rattlesnake. Austin is more aggressive in the early stages of the match to the point where he seems sadistic and heel-like.

 Austin props Rock on the top turnbuckle, superplex by Austin and a cover. Two count for the challenger, Austin unhooks the turnbuckle, another heel tactic by Austin yet no mention from the announcers. Rock battles back, leaping clothesline and a belly to belly by The Rock. Clothesline to the floor by the champion, Rock rams Austin into the announce table and the timekeeper’s area. Austin nails The Rock with a ringbell, Austin roughs up the timekeeper. The Rock has been opened up by The Rattlesnake, Austin rams Rock into the announce table.

 Austin measures Rock, right hand staggers Rock and more rights by the challenger. Closed fists to the face by Austin who is wearing out The Rock. Rock blocks Austin’s attempts at ramming his head into the turnbuckle. Swinging neckbreaker by Austin thwarts The Rock. Austin nails Rock with more closed fists to the face. Austin stomps The Rock repeatedly and chokes The Rock using the ropes. Austin is really taking advantage of the no disqualification rule and Rock explodes out of the corner with a clothesline, another clothesline. Rock smashes Austin into the exposed turnbuckle and uses the title belt to smash the challenger.

 Austin kicks out but Austin is a bloody mess. Right hands by The Rock which rattle Stone Cold on each and every occasion. Austin and Rock brawl on the floor, Rock is dropped on the barricade, catapult into the ringpost by The Rattlesnake. Austin wipes out Rock with a monitor, two count after the monitor shot. Austin measures Rock for a Stunner, Rock blocks and applies a sharpshooter. Rock drags Austin to the centre of the ring, Austin crawls and makes it to the bottom rope. Austin counters Rock with a rake to the eyes and applies a sharpshooter of his own. Rock kicks off Austin using his leg strength, Austin stomps Rock in the sternum.

 Second sharpshooter attempt by Austin, Rock reaches the ropes to survive. Austin does not relinquish the hold right away, the heelish tactics are adding up in this match. Austin applies the million dollar clutch from his Ringmaster days, Rock channels his inner Bret Hart and reverses the hold into a pin, Austin kicks out at two where he had been beaten in the past.

 Right hand by Austin, make it three but The Rock Stunners Austin. Rock hooks one leg but Austin kicks out of The Stunner. Vince Mcmahon strolls down to ringside and everyone’s BS meter goes into overdrive. Rock and Austin brawl before Austin delivers the spinebuster for a close two count. Spinebuster by The Rock and a People’s Elbow. Mcmahon saves Austin by breaking up the pin, Rock stares a hole through Vince giving chase and Austin plants Rock with a Rock Bottom. Cover and a two count for Austin!

 Austin misses The Stunner as Rock pushes Austin into the referee. Low blow by Austin (That is like the fifth thing Austin has done as a heel). Austin asks Mcmahon for the chair and uses Mcmahon to hit The Rock with a chair. Cover by Austin, Vince wakes up the referee and Austin still cannot get the job done. Austin has the chair, Rock nails The Rock Bottom on Austin and Vince distracts the referee. Rock has had enough as Rock nails Vince.

 Austin nails The Stunner on The Rock and Rock kicks out again! The crowd is going nuts by this stage, it is a frenzy but Austin has the chair who annihilates The Rock with the chair, shot after shot over and over again, The Rock is whacked, smashed and cracked with the chair. Austin pins Rock after the insane number of chair shots and is your WWF Champion.

 The crowd cheer but they cannot believe what they have saw as their hero has shaken hands with the devil himself, Stone Cold Steve Austin has aligned himself with Vince Mcmahon. Now before we take on the ending and why it was bad, let’s look at the match. Austin heeled it up throughout the match, weapon shots, exposed turnbuckles, not breaking holds and low blows, Austin give us every reason to boo him out of the building.

 The chair and using Vince were the icing on the cake but where it fell flat was this was Texas, Stone Cold territory due to his homestate status. As the match continued, you could see Austin’s desperation and the phrase “I will do anything to beat you The Rock” was hammered home as Austin could not figure out how to beat The Rock. Rock looked like an absolute beast in this match due to not giving up despite Austin’s Herculean efforts to end The Rock’s career.

 Now let’s look at the ending, Austin could not defeat The Rock so he joined forces with Mcmahon, the same person he had waged wars with for the entirety of his run on top of the company, the same man who had wished anyone else as champion rather than Austin. Austin turned heel because he felt he had run his course as a babyface, it was a bad decision and Austin regrets it entirely but I guess the question was could this be salvageable?

 Austin tried and tried as he might but he could not generate the boos, it did not work and I don’t think the odds of it working were very good. Mcmahon and Austin side by side was simply not right and Austin would turn face after Survivor Series. What I will say is the execution was very good, from Austin’s promo stating he would do anything to working heel the majority of the match to hammering home the turn with the chair shots.

 If it was in a different stadium, it could have been a more sympathetic reaction towards Rock but ultimately, the fans did not want a heel Austin and WWF business suffered as a result. However, this ending did not take away from the match in my opinion, it had a great narrative with facials playing a key role, the action was great and it was excitement from beginning to end. A worthy main event for one of the greatest Wrestlemanias.

Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin over The Rock via Chair Rape!

I feel very sentimental writing this as this is truly the end of a series I have thoroughly enjoyed writing and reviewing. Wrestlemania 17 was ine of the best Manias of all time, the women’s match and the RTC match are the only blemishes for this pay per view and to be fair, both were short so they did not detract from the overall presentation that much. You had a bit of everything on the show with the huge bumps in the TLC, pure wrestling with Benoit and Angle, drama with the likes of Rock and Stone Cold and showmanship between the likes of Triple H, Shane, Undertaker and Vince.

 Honestly, I cannot see myself changing that much from this pay per view and it really is a fitting end to The Attitude Era, it was the finest pay per view of the era and I am glad I was able to witness it live and relive it now to remind me why I fell in love with wrestling and why it is still a part of my life. So the journey is over, I have covered over 40 pay per views from beginning to end, I have had boring matches, sloppy matches, mediocre matches, good matches and some great matches. 

Do I think we overhyped this era of wrestling? To an extent, yes some of these pay per views had matches and moments that were simply forgettable and embarrassing in a lot of ways to look back on but by that same token, The Attitude Era defined generation of fans, it had so much mainstream appeal and there are so many legends form that era, so many wrestlers from that time that gave me and you so many memories.

 Sure, there were some bad times but nothing is perfect so my final conclusion on The Attitude Era was it could be bad but mostly, it was kickass and fun and that’s why people want a return to this era. However, I hope it never happens as I feel it will never live up to what came before it which was simply the best time to be a wrestling fan. If you read this review or stumbled across any of my reviews, thank you for taking the time to read and critique my opinions. Thanks for the good times and I hope to see you all again!

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Thursday 22 September 2016

Journey Through The Attitude Era Vol 40: WWF No Way Out 2001 Review

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Hello, hello, and hello my dear wrestling friends! You must be back for more Attitude Era action or you are really lost! Regardless, let me welcome you to the only series on the internet that loves Roman Reigns, my journey through the Attitude Era. 40 episodes all together, the only series which looks at every pay per view of the most popular time in wrestling while asking the important question: Was it as good as we remember? 2001 is upon us, the tension between Austin and Triple H has reached its boiling point, these two men fuelled by revenge will settle the score in a three stages of hell match. Kurt Angle, the WWF Champion defends his title against the incomparable Rock as Rock looks to head into Wrestlemania as champion. Meanwhile in Mcmahon Land, Stephanie Mcmahon is at the heart of a struggle between her father and his well for a lack of a better word, hoe Trish Stratus. Look no further eagle eyed viewer, the time for talking is over so strap in for WWF’s No Way Out 2001!

Opening Video

Time is ticking for Kurt Angle, Rock says that time is up for the champion. Triple H and Austin will have one final battle out No Way Out, they could not fight one another until this pay per view. A singles’ match, a street fight and a cage match if necessary. Three stages of Hell and I cannot wait for it! I am a fan of the simple stage design, the theme of the pay per view is stuck in my mind, we are live from Las Vegas! Oh look it is WWF New York, JR and Jerry Lawler welcome us to the action while running down the bigger matches on the card.

(WWF Hardcore Championship Match) Raven © vs The Big Show

Raven had joined WWF in September of 2000 having spent time in ECW after leaving WCW. Raven’s run in the WWF was poor to say the least but at least Raven had the hardcore championship. Big Show enters and is attacked by a female ninja with a 2x4 (It was Tori, X-Pac’s old valet). Raven is squashed by Big Show before Raven uses his quickness to mess up Show. A popcorn vender attacks Raven, it turns out to be Crash Holly. Raven is nailed with A Final Cut by Show, Blackman and Hardcore Holly run in and beat up Show with trash can lids and a kendo stick. 

Billy Gunn slides in and nails Raven with a FameAsser. Billy wins the title but Holly and Blackman jump the new champion. Backbreaker/legdrop combo by Hardcore and Blackman on Gunn. Show wrecks Hardcore and Blackman while Raven pins Billy Gunn. Show military presses Crash. Molly Holly wipes out the ninja lady, Raven beats Show with a trash can before Show Chokeslams Raven onto a garbage can. Show is champion, Billy Gunn attacks Show but Show hurls Billy over the top rope. That was a car crash of a match, so much interference with no wrestling. Like I have said a lot, you either hate hardcore matches or like them, I lean towards liking them with all their random spots and shenanigans.

Winner: The Big Show over Everyone Else via Chokeslam!

(WWF Intercontinental Championship Match) Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero vs X-Pac vs Chris Jericho ©

Benoit had lost the championship to Jericho in a great ladder match at the rumble, Guerrero had been accidently injured by Jericho in a match on Raw while X-Pac had also been injured in a cage match with Jericho at No Mercy. Hilarious that this match has so much backstory with Jericho legitimately injuring two men in this match. If it happened today, Jericho would be cited as an unsafe worker (Poor Seth). Guerrero pummels Y2J, X-Pac had Benoit on the floor. Flapjack by Y2J, stomps and chops by Y2J. Guerrero reverses with an elbow before being hotshotted into the turnbuckle.

 Benoit saves Eddie, chops by Benoit. Guerrero and Benoit double team Y2J, kicks and a reverse elbow flatten the champion. Jericho drills Benoit and Guerrero but X-Pac spinning heel kicks Jericho. Benoit and Guerrero double team X-Pac, Benoit has The Crippler Crossface on X-Pac. Jericho crotches Guerrero and breaks up The Crossface. X-Pac had Guerrero but Eddie pushes off X-Pac and nails The Frog Splash. Y2J saves his title for a second time, Benoit clotheslines Y2J and covers the champion.

 Eddie places Y2J’s foot on the ropes unbeknownst to The Crippler. X-Pac bundles Eddie over the top and nails Benoit with a spinning heel kick. X-Pac sets up for the bronco buster but Jericho wipes out X-Pac with a missile dropkick. Benoit mow downs Jericho and executes a german suplex with a bridge. Eddie breaks up the pin and The Radicalz battle one another, Jericho has X-Pac on the floor. Back suplex by Guerrero on Benoit, two count for Guerrero. Modified brainbuster and Eddie is climbing to the top, Benoit springs to his feet and scores with a top rope superplex.

 Modified backbreaker by Y2J, Benoit kicks out at two. Chops are traded between the two, Jericho rolls up Benoit for two before Benoit annihilates Y2J with a stiff clothesline. Benoit chokes Y2J with his boot, stomps in the corner. Jericho blocks a german suplex briefly but cannot escape the clutch of Benoit. German suplex is rolled through on the second attempt, Y2J applies The Walls of Jericho, Eddie tries to interrupt but Jericho locks in The Walls of Jericho, X-Pac meets the same fate.

 Justin Credible saves X-Pac and X-Factor nail Benoit with a double superkick. Eddie eats a facebuster from Jericho, Lionsault and X-Pac breaks up the pin. Low blow and X-Factor by X-Pac on Y2J, Benoit breaks it up and nails Justin Credible. Benoit has X-Pac in The Crippler Crossface, Eddie breaks up the move with a snapmare neckbreaker. Benoit and Eddie brawl, back suplex by The Rabid Wolverine. Diving headbutt on Eddie, X-Pac nails Benoit with a spinning heel kick before Y2J rolls up X-Pac with the delphin special. That was a hard hitting fast-paced match between all these great wrestlers.

Winner: Chris Jericho over Everyone Else via roll-up!

Mcmahon Promo

Commissioner Regal made the match between Trish Stratus and Stephanie Mcmahon. Vince tells Regal that he will know exactly what to do when the time is right. Regal nods yes but in reality, Regal has no idea what to do.

Stephanie Mcmahon vs Trish Stratus

Trish had been messing around with Vince Mcmahon and Stephanie did not like it one bit at all. Vince wanted the two ladies to be great friends but it simply was not going to happen as Stephanie says there is only room for one dominant female in the WWF. Stephanie has her best intensity face on which comes off as laughable in the grand scheme of things. Spear by Stephanoie, Stephanie is kicked off. Stephanie yanks Trish to the mat, clothesline by Steph, make it two by Mrs. Helmsley. Hair pull by Steph, followed up by some awful kicks as Trish is thrown to the floor. Trish throws Stephanie over the barricade, clothesline from the barricade by Stephanie. 

Trish stunguns Stephanie and massive bitch slaps by Trish. Running bulldog by Trish and a cover, Stephanie kicks out at two. Trish are not happy and the fans are not happy as Trish adjusts her shorts robbing the fans of their eyeful. DDT by Trish, Trish chokes Stephanie in the corner but goes to the well one too many times as Steph tosses Trish to the floor. Trish is thrown to the floor by Stephanie, Stephanie throws water all over Trish and Trish is angry as she rams Stephanie into the announce table.

 Trish is irate but Stephanie counters the hurricanrana into a powerbomb. Stephanie reveals Trish’s thong and spanks her. Stephanie cannot strip Trish and both women grab one another’s hair, both women are knocked out. Regal runs to ringside, Regal drops the referee and places Trish on top of Stephanie. The referee counts but Regal saves Stephanie, Trish slaps Regal and Regal drops Trish with a Regal Cutter. Stephanie crawls over for the win.

 This match should have been a shambles yet I found it entertaining, I am shocked that Steph and 2001 Trish were able to carry a decent match. Don’t get me wrong, it was not good or anything but it was fine which I did not expect from these two non-wrestlers. It is weird seeing these heel vs heel matches though, the crowd liked Stephanie more but I mean Stephanie was allied with Vince, supported Triple H and hated the likes of Austin and Rock so she was only cheered here due to stripping Trish and that Trish was a bit more of a dick.

 In the end, Vince would chew out Regal for his actions and a tag match would be put in place pitting Regal & Stephanie vs Vince & Trish. Vince would turn on Trish in that match, Vince would use a disgusting mop on Trish, Stephanie would humiliate Trish and later in the feud, Trish would be told to get on her knees, bark like a dog and strip for Mr. Mcmahon. I am surprised that Vince was not crucified for what he done to Trish and that Trish stayed with the company. It was a different time but damn, that is always a tough watch.

Winner: Stephanie Mcmahon over Trish Stratus thanks to Regal!

(Three Stages of Hell Match) Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Triple H

Triple H cost Austin the WWF Championship on Raw, Austin cost Triple H the WWF Championship at Royal Rumble. The two had a non-aggression pact until No Way Out, Austin attacked Stephanie so Triple H attacked Austin’s best friend JR. These two tested one another, cost one another championships and one man ran over the other. Pure hatred, a ton of animosity, this is what they are talking about when they say they do not do them/build them like they used to, this is a main event ladies and gentlemen, this is a war. Austin takes a second to stare down The Game before running right into The Game. Elbow by Austin and a tonne of right hands from The Bionic Redneck. Stomps in the corner and a clothesline by Austin, ten punches in the corner by The Rattlesnake. Austin was thinking Stunner, Triple H put the brakes on and the match continues with Triple H hotshotting Austin. Pedigree attempt is countered into a single arm DDT, arm into the ringpost by Austin.

 Triple H was thinking Pedigree once more but Austin weakens the arm, Lou Thesz Press and elbow by Austin. Kick out by The Game, spinebuster by Austin. Austin climbs to the second rope and eats a foot from Helmsley. Neckbreaker by The Game, knees to the back of the head by Helmsley. Austin kicks Triple H but The Game goes for the legs of Austin, Triple H slides under the ring and smashes Austin’s leg into the ringpost. Elbows to the knee by The Cerebral Assassin. Austin cannot get moving as The Game aggressively beats up The Rattlesnake’s legs. Figure Four by Triple H, The Game uses the ropes for leverage. Austin reverses the Figure Four and hammers away on The Game. Second Lou Thesz Press and elbow combo by Austin.

 Discuss clothesline by Austin, Austin measures for The Stunner, Triple H counters The Stunner with a shove into the turnbuckle and a neckbreaker. Roll up by The Game, two count as Austin reverses. Triple H attempts a double ax handle from the second rope but Austin drills The Game with a Stunner. It is 1:0 to The Rattlesnake!

Street Fight is underway, Triple H is thrown to the floor. Suplex on the ramp by Austin, Austin drags The Game to the announce table. Monitor the face of The Game, Austin tosses several chairs into the ring and it is crowd brawling time. Chair to the spine of The Game, time after time with the chair, Triple H is being worn out by The Rattlesnake. Cover and a two count for The Rattlesnake. Austin has the ringbell, Triple H bails to the crowd. Austin hammers The Game back to ringside, Austin has a 2x4 wrapped in barbwire.

 Triple H nails Austin right between the eyes, Austin is a bloody mess (That is like 3 pay per views in a row that Austin had bladed). Triple H pummels The Rattlesnake on the table, Triple H is thinking Pedigree but Austin reverses The Game, sending The Cerebral Assassin crashing through the Spanish announce table. In the ring, Triple H bullseyes Austin with the ringbeel, Triple H drapes a hand over but The Game cannot get the three. Neckbreaker on the chair by Triple H, cover and another two count. Second neckbreaker on the chair and Austin does not stay down for the three count.

 Sleeper by Austin but Triple H suplexes Austin on the chair. Austin kicks out again so Triple H aims for The Pedigree on a chair. Austin has it scouted and drops Triple H who sails over the top rope. Austin has a steel chair and Triple H is cracked over the head with the chair. Steel steps to the head of The Game, Triple H is wearing the proverbial crimson mask. Triple H pulls out a sledgehammer from under the announce table. Austin blocks the sledgehammer shot, we are in the ring. Austin has the hammer, mudhole stomping by Austin.

 Knee to the ribs by The Game, Austin misses The Stunner and Triple H nails Austin with the sledgehammer. Triple H Pedigrees Austin and we are tied at one a piece. 1:1!

The steel cage lowers as at least ten members of the WWF crew sprint out to the ring to secure the cage. Austin and Triple H stall as the cage secured for their final encounter. Triple H rams Austin into the cage, Triple H mounts The Rattlesnake and pummels The Texas Rattlesnake. Austin meets the cage again as Helmsley reaches for the 2x4. Triple H rakes the eyes of Austin. Austin smacks Triple H with a chair to stop the pain, Austin has the 2x4.

 The Game eats the steel cage wall and greets the barbwire 2x4 with his face. Austin smashes Triple H’s face with the 2x4. DDT onto the chair by The Game. Austin kicks out of the pin attempt, Austin creates some space, kicking The Game and punching a bloody Helmsley. Triple H collapses after the pummelling, Triple H tries escaping the cage. Austin and Triple H teeter on the top rope, Austin is crotched while Triple H continues his escape.

 Austin throws Helmsley to the canvas, two count for Austin. Stunner is blocked but The Pedigree is not blocked. Triple H covers and Austin is still in this match! The crowd is in shock, Triple H has the chair, whack to the face of Austin. Austin reverses The Pedigree with a catapult into the cage, Stunner by Austin. Austin cover and Triple H kicks out of The Stunner. 

Wow both men have kicked out of one another’s finishes. Triple H has the sledgehammer and Austin has the barbwire, both connect with their respective weapons with Triple H landing on top of Austin. Your winner is Triple H! That was awesome, you could feel the intensity, these two wanted to tear one another apart. There was wrestling, blood and good psychology. At the end, the two looked like they had been ejected from a car wreck. Finish was great too as it showed either men could have won, Triple H was just lucky to fall on top but the finish also build a narrative that the WWF could explore if they wanted.

 You see The Rock was leaving for The Mummy Returns, Austin was going over at Wrestlemania so Austin needed someone to work with and the original plan was to have Austin go heel with Triple H feuding with Austin as a babyface. Even if Austin and Mcmahon had the common sense to see Austin’s heel turn was a foolish idea, they could have executed the plan with Austin being face and Triple H being the heel, bragging about his win over Stone Cold.

 Things would not turn out like this due to Triple H teaming with Austin to form The Power Trip while Triple H would be injured on an episode of Raw before they could execute any sort of story between Austin and Triple H. My one knock on this match and it is really is a minor thing but there were so many spots that I could hear called in this match like I do not know if the cameras were too close or Austin and Triple H were really loud but it was very obvious and the cameras did a poor job of covering up the two speaking.

Winner: Triple H over Stone Cold Steve Austin!

Steven Richards vs Jerry Lawler W/ The Kat

The Right To Censor were created as a parody of the parents who were worried about the sexual and violent content of the WWF. Stevie Richards led the faction which ruined Val Venis and Goodfather while also adding Ivory and Bull Buchanan to the ranks. The Kat loved to get naked and this was a big red flag for RTC. Tazz is on commentary while Jerry Lawler is defending the honour of his wife The Kat. This might be Stevie’s first pay per view match in WWF as Stevie was usually on the outside while Val, Goodfather or Bull worked the matches. Weird thing about this match is Lawler went from ringside to backstage to make an entrance, I guess he wanted to come with Kat.

 Lawler is wearing a leopard print singlet and it is fabulous. Stevie calls Lawler a pervert and Lawler hammers Stevie. Stevie powders while Ivory consoles her stablemate. Lockup and Stevie goes to work on Lawler, Lawler blocks the hiptoss, clothesline and scoop slam by Lawler. Stevie powders again, Stevie rips off his shirt. Lawler beats up Stevie but Ivory comes to Stevie’s aid. Kat slaps Ivory, Stevie attempts The Ho Train. Lawler dodges and thirty punches Stevie. Bulldog for good measure and Stevie kicks out at two. Stevie backs Lawler into the corner, punches and a vertical suplex by Stevie.

 Richards grabs a chair, Ivory distracts the referee. Stevie is thwarted with a low blow by Lawler, two DDTs by The King. Ivory is up on the apron, Kat interferes and the referee is distracted. Lawler floors Richards and Ivory. Kat is in the ring, she grabs the belt and accidently nails Lawler with the title. Richards pins Lawler after Kat nailed Lawler with the title.

 Kat is forced to join the RTC, this would not last long though as Kat was released due to “bad attitude problems”. Lawler would stand by his woman and quit the company in protest which would lead to the introduction of Paul Heyman to the commentary team. This match was fine, Lawler knows how to work a crowd, he kept their attention and I was glad it was over.

Winner: Richards over Lawler via Shenanigans!

(WWF Tag Team Championship Match) The Brothers of Destruction vs Edge & Christian vs The Dudley Boyz © (Table Match)

Kane & Undertaker promise to beat the hell out of their opponents while we also see a promotion for Chyna’s book she released from the time period. Taker is wearing an attire that resembles something he would wear in 1999 and it looks plain weird here. Edge & Christian looked scared shitless as they are caught between The Dudleys and The Brothers of Destruction. Edge & Christian slide off the side of the ramp while The Dudleys battle Taker & Kane.

 Edge & Christian set up a table but Taker & Kane beat up the young Canadians. Edge & Christian are introduced to the announce table. Dudleys reappear with chairs and put a whipping on Taker & Kane before moving onto Edge & Christian. Edge & Christian use their speed to put a hurting on The Dudleys, double flapjack on D-Von. They grab chairs and miss a conchairto on Bubba, Bubba scoop slams Christian and we see The What’s Up headbutt. Taker & Kane beat up D-Von, Christian nails an Unprettier on Bubba. Kane & Taker rough up Edge & Christian. Double diving clothesline by The Brothers of Destruction. Bubba and D-Von attempt to derail Kane & Taker’s momentum.

 Taker & Kane continue punishing The Dudleys, Christian & Edge team up with The Dudleys to try to stop The Brothers of Destruction. Bubba hotshots Edge, Christian is alone with The Dudleys, Undertaker saves Christian from a 3D. D-Von saves Christian from a Chokeslam through the table. Edge & Christian double team Taker but Kane moves the table. Double Chokeslam on Edge & Christian. Kane & Taker nail Bubba and D-Von too with Chokeslams. Rikishi and Haku interfere and beat up The Brothers of Destruction. Taker & Kane are dragged away from the ring by Rikishi and Haku. We are down to two for now, Edge misses a spear on Bubba (Table did not break for Edge, Bubba hurries to throw Edge out of the ring). Dudleys 3D Christian through the table for the win. Was not feeling this match, it was slow and plodding in a lot of ways, the match felt long and I was happy when it was over.

Winners: The Dudley Boyz over Everyone Else!

(WWF Championship Match) The Rock vs Kurt Angle ©

Kurt Angel had an incredible rookie year, Angle had won the European title, Intercontinental title, King of the Ring and the WWF Championship at No Mercy. Kurt was a goofy chickenshit heel but Kurt had survived for several months as champion. The Rock has his rematch for the championship at this pay per view and Angle is in serious trouble. Rock defeated The Big Show to become the number one contender. After being abandoned by Stephanie and Trish, Angle showed signs of a mean-streak, it would be more explored in the later parts of his career which made him the wrestle we all know and love.

 Rock cuts a fiery promo before the match, guaranteeing victory for the millions and millions of The Rock’s fans. Angle enters first which I dislike, champion should always be out second. Angle does not do his usual routine with the pyro, I like that little touch of intensity. Angle is focused, Rock touched a nerve when he said Angle’s reign was over. Stare off and Rock hammers Kurt, huge clothesline by The People’s Champion. Knee to the ribs by Kurt, stomps by Angle. Reverse elbow by Rock, Russian legsweep and a cover.

 Angle kicks out at two and counters back with a clothesline on Rock. Angle drop toeholds Rock into The Ankle Lock (Kurt’s Ankle Lock had not been established as a finish yet in WWF, Kurt had only begun recently using the move). Rock escapes but Kurt had The Rock’s number with two belly to belly suplexes. Rock is back in it with a belly to belly of his own. Right hands by Rock, flying clothesline and a sharpshooter by The Rock. Rock is caught with a back suplex by Angle, Angle climbs to the top rope. Rock crotches Angle and a top rope superplex is on the menu. Rock is tossed to the floor, clutching his ankle and Kurt capitalizes on Rock’s misfortune.

 DDT by The Rock as he lured Angle in but now the match gets really weird. You see Big Show is coming to ringside, Show lost to The Rock. Show Chokeslams Mike Chioda and drills both Angle and Rock with a Chokeslam. This could have been horrific as many thought the match had been thrown out but thankfully, another referee comes to ringside and the match continues. Angle pins Rock, Hebnar drops the referee to count the pin. Rock kicks out at two! Rock grabs the belt to nail Angle, Rock nails Angle with the belt.

 Angle kicks out at two! Angle lures Rock into The Ankle Lock, Rock is screaming in pain, Angle smashes the leg into the mat and reapplies the lock. This is intense from Angle, I love it but The Rock makes it to the ropes. Kurt hammers Rock with right hands, Rock pummels the champion. Knee to the gut by Angle but Rock counters with the spinebuster, People’s Elbow but Angle is kicking out two motherfucker! That was so close, the fans almost lost their minds on that one. Angle is looking like a beast in this match, Angle retreats to the corner, Rock stomps the champion.

 Rock lashes out at the referee and Angle low blows the challenger, Angle exposes the turnbuckle. Rock Bottom is blocked, Rock is rammed into the exposed turnbuckle, Angle Slam and The Rock kicks out! This crowd is hot now, if Angle did not excite them, Rock definitely did. Angle beats on Rock, Angle stomps the leg. Angle charges but is rammed into the exposed turnbuckle. Rock measures and plants Angle with The Rock Bottom, 1..2. and Earl Hebnar does not count the three. Angle did not though, this was the finish but Earl did not count the three so Rock drops Angle with The Rock Bottom while mouthing to Earl “Count The Fucking Pin!”. 

Well, that was quite the match, Angle and Rock tore the house down at this pay per view. Two things I were not a fan of were Big Show’s interference and Rock whacking Angle with the belt. With Show’s interference, you think it would build to something and the impression given was it could be a triple threat between the three for Mania which would be awful, could you imagine Show, Austin and Rock for the title? Nobody wanted to see that but the speculation was strong after the event. Rock using the belt behind the ref’s back also did not make sense to me, Rock is your babyface and it seems so out of character.

 Apart from those nitpicks, this match was great, Angle worked the leg and Rock sold. The nearfalls were dramatic and the ending was great albeit the botch. Angle had used the exposed turnbuckle to nail The Angle Slam while Rock returned the favour for The Rock Bottom. Now, the stage was set Rock vs Austin at Mania.

Winner: The Rock over Angle via Rock Bottom!

Overall, No Way Out 2001 was a good show, there were no real bad matches or boring matches. I was not a fan of the tag team title match but everything else ranged from fine to great. Triple H vs Austin was a classic while Rock vs Angle was really good. Lawler vs Richards was fine while the fatal four way for the IC title was good too. Wrestlemania season is always a good time for wrestling and it is certainly reflected in the pay per views at the time. The stage was set for Wrestlemania and it was truly the end of an era so join me next time for the final chapter of Journey Through The Attitude Era.

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