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!
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!
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.