Date: August 19, 2001
Location: Compaq Center, San Jose, California
Commentators: Jim Ross, Paul Heyman
Ok, I know I usually say little is different, but in this case, just about everything is different. WCW in its original form is dead, having been bought by Vince for an insane two million dollars just 5 months prior to this. The Invasion is going on at the moment as WWF is battling the ECW/WCW Alliance. Tonight we have a double main event of Steve Austin vs. Angle for the WWF Title and Booker T vs. Rock for the WCW Title.
Either way, this show is just a complete 180 from last year. Also HHH is injured having torn his quad about 3 months ago. The roster has been more or less put on steroids now with guys like RVD, Booker T, DDP, Rhyno, Tajiri and Lance Storm here now. Oh and Lawler quit over his witch of a wife being fired.
Finally, Austin is top heel now, having left WWF for the Alliance, saying that he’ll have better competition now, which is completely stupid as he’s fighting the same guys he was fighting before the Invasion, but who am I to critique the genius of Vince McMahon and his Invasion storyline?
The angle could have been far better, but there’s been laundry lists of reasons given about why it didn’t work, with the big one being that they didn’t wait long enough, but I’ll drop that before I go into a page and a half long rant. Let’s get started.
WOW. This video package to open the show is AWESOME. It’s set to Drowning Pool’s Bodies, which is still the best live performance of a song that I’ve ever heard. This looks like the opening to a TV show or something and is just well done all around. It looks awesome and is one of the best video openings I’ve ever seen. Actually, here it is.
Intercontinental Title: Lance Storm vs. Edge
A lot of the stories tonight are going to consist of this: WWF vs. Alliance, and that’s what this would be classified as. Storm was the midcard Alliance guy so they gave him the IC belt to help even out the title scene. Edge gets a huge pop. This should be good. Edge was at an odd stage in his career at this point, where he and Christian were way too big of a deal to be a tag team anymore and Edge was clearly on the verge of being a breakout star.
He won the KOTR this year with he and Christian feuded over the KOTR Cup and yes I said Cup. This is very solid for the first five minutes or so with Edge having a completely different style around this time. He would get hurt in I think 2003 just as he was on the verge of the main event push and be out for over a year. His style back then was much more well rounded with more high flying but everything else just about the same as it is now.
Lance Storm has a very odd stomp, as he kicks his left foot forward and then stomps with the right boot. He must be doing something right though as he’s the only wrestler ever, and I do mean only one ever, that could make a half Boston Crab seem like a deadly submission move. We cut back to the WWF locker room to see everyone crowded around a monitor watching the match.
That’s something that could have worked well in the NWO angle, which is what this is a redoing of, and while it’s not as good, I don’t think it’s as bad as everyone says it was. Heyman’s commentary is great as he can play the cocky heel as well as anyone ever on the headset could. Edge starts his comeback as we get a gem of a line by JR: “Powerbomb by Edge. It was a powerbomb.” The more I listen to him, the more I shake my head.
Anyway, they both almost get their finishers but they can’t quite get there. For no apparent reason, Christian comes out and tries to spear Storm but misses and hits Edge which gets two. We get a nice sequence of holds and counters but Edge catches Storm in the inverted DDT which he needs to go back to for the pin and the title. Christian hands him the belt and leaves in a weird moment.
Rating: B. Another solid Summerslam opener here as they were going fast paced and slow paced in a perfect balance. Both guys were working hard and it was a solid pairing that gives you a nice title change that was more or less clean. Good way to get the show going.
Test and the Dudleys are heading to the ring but are cut off by Michael Cole, somehow looking less heterosexual than he does now. Test has left the WWF because he’s tired of being upstaged. The Dudleys left because they’re tired of Spike and his girlfriend Molly getting the glory, so we get a six man out of it.
Jericho says that he’ll beat Rhyno tonight. He also gets some funny jokes in about Stephanie being a slut and having a boob job.
Spike Dudley/APA vs. Test/Dudley Boys
Molly with the blonde hair and in the blue top is beyond pretty. Just absolutely gorgeous. Test cost the APA the tag titles, leading to this match. The white shirts on the WCW referees just look stupid. They start off with the faces beating the heels up and then Spike comes in. Now Spike reminds me of X-Pac. He tries so hard but his size is just too much to overcome.
Why should I believe that a guy that I outweigh by nearly a hundred pounds can beat up someone that outweighs me by 100lbs? Simply put, I don’t and I never have. He was fine as a cruiserweight guy, but he had no business being in there with big men. I get that it was his gimmick, but I couldn’t stand it. We’ve got tables less than 5 minutes into the match so at least we’re not waiting that long for them this time.
The Dudleys do a double flapjack and they throw him so high up they nearly lose their grip on him. That’s just downright impressive. This is actually a very fast match as the faces take over again for just a bit, until Spike is launched over the top and through a table. Bradshaw nails Test with a Clothesline, but Shane comes in and blasts him with a chair for the pin. Paul’s line of D-Von, get the ambulance makes me laugh.
Rating: C. It was just a short 6 man without much going on. We do need filler though and that’s what this match was. It was a seven minute match and a ten minute segment in total that was just fine. It’s not bad, it’s not great but I’d call it perfectly acceptable.
In the back, the WWF guys are upset over losing the match but they’re all congratulating Edge over winning the IC Title. Christian comes up and announces that he’s gotten a European Title shot tomorrow night on Raw. No one cares, as their Grandma calls. She talks to Edge and hangs up on Christian which gets a solid laugh.
Shawn Stasiak comes into Debra/Stone Cold’s locker room which ticks off Debra. At the time he was just an idiot character that was trying to impress Austin. He says something about his tights but Debra says if he wants to make an impression to go beat someone up.
Title For Title: Tajiri vs. X-Pac
It’s the light heavyweight championship vs. the cruiserweight championship here in a unification match. Actually, upon further review it’s not, and it’s just to hold both belts. Later on they would be split again until there was suppose to be a unification match at Survivor Series. X-Pac was injured so they just dropped the Light Heavyweight Title and replaced it with the WWF Cruiserweight Title. Uh, I guess that makes sense.
Anyway, let’s get to this. X-Pac at the time was the leader of perhaps the most useless group of all time: X-Factor. It was him, Justin Credible and Albert. They did nothing, they had no feuds, they accomplished nothing. Like I said, they were the most useless stable of all time. Oh yeah Pac is wearing just tights now instead of his singlet. Ross talks about how this is the last Direct TV broadcast of a PPV, as no one really cares.
The surfboard is just absolutely painful looking. See, this is how Pac should have been used the entire time. He simply had no business fighting guys twice his size, just like Spike in the previous match. It makes sense and works much better when he’s fighting guys like these. Oh apparently neither guy is in the Alliance, so this is the one real WWF match all night. Oh what a treat for us.
Both guys have educated feet I guess. This has been almost all X-Pac, and since this is one of my reviews and my timing is worse than a broken Boogeyman clock, Tajiri makes his comeback at that very second. Ok, so maybe this is for a unified title. They’re not very clear about it, but based on what the announcers say it’s for a unified title, yet based on what actually happened, it wasn’t unified until about three months later.
The company continues to amaze me with its complete lack of sense. Anyway, they botch the handspring elbow as X-Pac dives onto his stomach like it’s just a simple hitting of the ropes. Albert comes out and gets on the apron, causing the mist to be blown. A low blow and an X-Factor come as the referee is getting rid of Albert to end this.
Rating: C+. Short and sweet here, but overall it wasn’t bad. They were wrestling people that it made sense for them to wrestle and title for title matches are always cool no matter who is in them. Pac would be hurt soon enough and he would be the guy that had to drop out of the Survivor Series match after Tajiri got the Cruiserweight Title. It made no sense, so go figure.
We go to WWF New York and see Perry Saturn as he searches for Moppy. If you don’t know about this story, do yourself a favor and go look it up. It was one of the dumbest and best angles I’ve ever seen.
Stephanie is with Rhyno and says she picked him to beat Jericho because he’s never beaten Rhyno in the ring. Now table tennis, Parcheesi and Chinese Checkers, those are all different stories.
We get a recap of the feud, which was highlighted by Rhyno goring Jericho through the Smackdown set. Now, after that, he suggests a match with Jericho at Summerslam, which makes sense as he’s already gotten the last laugh, so we have to give the face another chance to get even right?
Chris Jericho vs. Rhyno
The editing is odd here as you get the Jericho interview from earlier in the show here. Not sure why they would do them twice like that. Stephanie looks AWESOME in a black leather dress. Her hair being braded/curled isn’t working so well though. Heyman hates Jericho apparently which is ironic I’d think.
They slug it out to start and Jericho is out of his league here. Top rope elbow to a standing Rhyno which is a move I’ve always liked doesn’t do much. Walls are avoided as Jericho has shifted it to wrestling and has taken over. Jericho gets that springboard dropkick while Rhyno is on the apron. Stephanie distracts Jericho to allow Rhyno to catch him with a Gore as Jericho dives at him to the floor and both guys are down, drawing a holy crap chant.
BIG old slap to Jericho by Stephanie which Ross calls a right hand. That’s true but it’s a bit misleading in wrestling commentary. Body scissors by Rhyno which is one of his signature moves I think. I watched a match of his last night and one today and I think he used it in both. He throws in a freaking airplane spin for two. Can’t say he’s typical.
Rhyno goes up for a splash which Jericho moved out of the way from but Rhyno would have missed even if Jericho hadn’t moved at all. Jericho messes up a springboard but gets something out of it anyway for two. Middle rope dropkick gets a cover but Stephanie literally hugs the referee to stop the cover. Jericho kisses her and then hits the Lionsault for a long two.
Spinebuster by Rhyno sets up the Walls for him and they’re better than the ones Jericho tends to use. Gore misses and the proper version of the Walls, as in the Liontamer, gets the tap.
Rating: B-. Solid stuff here as Rhyno was still worth anything at this point. Jericho of course was great as he was on the verge of going into the main event as a heel which worked out pretty well for him I’d think. This was a lot better than anyone expected I think and it was a solid 12 minute match.
Rock is walking in the back and is stopped by Regal. After a fairly boring promo, Stasiak runs at Rock who casually steps aside, causing Shawn to slam into a wall. Rock completes his promo and leaves.
Hardcore Title: Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy
This is a ladder match. It occurs to me, Hardy has had a more successful career than Van Dam, and it’s almost not even close. Imagine telling someone that back in 2001. They would have thought you were completely insane. At best for Van Dam, career wise they’re about even. Van Dam was a very interesting case. He was clearly the most popular ECW guy and WWF let him be. Yes he was on the heel team, but they didn’t make him evil.
Van Dam’s character isn’t someone menacing or threatening an they didn’t try to make him one. That’s why he was able to come out of it as a solid face: he always was one. Since I didn’t like the way I reviewed the TLC match at yesterday’s show, I’ll spare you the big long list of sick spots here and try to do more general stuff. For one thing, in this match there’s far less of a plan I think.
I’d guess that in the back, they just told these two to go put on a spot fest and that’s what happened. They go move for move with each other for about 15 minutes and it’s quite entertaining. Both guys can use the ladder very well indees, as they jump all over the place and try to one up each other with their big time moves. During the match, Heyman lists off the attributes of Sabu, yet doesn’t say his name. That just struck me as odd.
Were they not allowed to say it for some reason? I can’t imagine it was a copyright issue or something like that. Also, he’s credited as Van Dam’s mentor. I never really thought of him like that. Near the end they do the big hanging spot with Hardy holding onto the belt, which always seemed a bit stupid to me.
He really can’t unhook the belt with one hand? I find that a bit hard to believe. Anyway the ending is Van Dam just shoves the ladder down with Jeff on it and climbs up to get the belt in a rather anti-climactic ending.
Rating: B-. It was fun, but it wasn’t great. The problem with matches like these is that a lot of the spots have just been done before. We’ve seen all of these moves and while they’re cool, they’re not original anymore. Yeah the match was fun and cool, but it wasn’t great like a lot of them were. It’s still quite good though.
In the back, Booker is warming up for his match as Shane comes in with a present. He gives him book ends (like the Rock Bottom rip off of a finisher that he uses) made from the announce table that he put Rock through last week. That’s actually kind of clever.
We get a recap of the Brothers of Destruction vs. DDP/Kanyon. To me, this was an AWESOME story. Basically, we had seen Taker’s wife Sara (who was very hot, way hotter than McCool) being stalked by a guy that we never saw. He’d have tapes of himself inside their house, of her coming out of the pool, of her in the shower, in their bedroom, etc. The key thing was, you didn’t know who was filming them.
Now I’ve heard a lot of varying rumors as to who he was originally supposed to be revealed as, with the most prominent being Kane. However, it turned out to be DDP. The problem was they kind of discontinued the Sara aspect as DDP just kept getting beat up. Eventually Kanyon came in and Kane backed up Taker. They both won tag titles, so we have another kind of unification match here inside of a cage. In other words, it’s a way for Taker and Kane to kill them both at once.
WWF/WCW Tag Titles: DDP/Kanyon vs. Brothers of Destruction
Oh yeah Kanyon is the US Champion at the same time, so we have five belts in one match. Now aren’t you glad they unified some of them? I have to give them this: the WCW Tag Title belts just look awesome. They run down Taker’s history in cage matches, which is pretty extensive. I actually like the idea of pins and submissions counting here. Taker is a guy that needs to just win with a big knockout move.
Just after Taker and Kane get in, Taker grabs the door and slams it shut in a very cool looking thing. Immediately your heels try to go over the top in separate corners. If I were Taker and Kane, I would have let Kanyon leave. It gives you a handicap against DDP, who is the real hated one. Imagine what you could combine to do to him in that situation. Let the slaughtering begin. The heels actually take over for about 45 seconds which surprises me, but of course it doesn’t last long at all.
This is more or less a tag team beatdown. There is a cool moment though once the heels take over again as they’re both leaving over the top of the cage. The Brothers are down and at the same time they sit up. They follow my advice and let Kanyon leave without any problem, only to beat the living heck out of DDP. For a lot of this beating, Kane is just sitting on the top rope and watching.
Taker yells at Page that he can leave and he’ll let him live, but if he ever looks at Sara again he’ll kill him. Page tries to leave but Taker of course stops him and chokeslams him, before the Last Ride ends this. Dang, Sara is rather hot. Also, the unification lasted less than a month as both belts were individually defended next month.
Rating: C+. This was nothing but a double beating and that’s just fine. No one believed the heels had a chance so the match was booked correctly by not giving them a chance. They were completely destroyed and that’s how it should have been. Page of course turned face soon after this, becoming the motivational tooth guy (look it up).
Rock is with the doctor in the back and cuts a promo on the doctor as Stasiak runs at him again, and the same thing happens but this time the camera doesn’t even follow him. He just goes flying over the table as Rock steps back.
We get the recap of Austin vs. Angle. This was actually an epic match, as the buildup was great. They more or less made Angle into a monster leading up to this, having him beat every big name in the Alliance before finally challenging Austin. Austin had turned on the WWF at InVasion back in I think July, nailing Angle with a chair to give the heels the victory and join them in the process.
In the buildup, Angle had just beaten Austin down at every single turn and it looked like this one was going to be domination. To their credit though, the bookers never made Austin look weak. He was the same Austin that had dominated through the late 90s, but they simply made Angle look better. That’s hard to do but it works very well, as it saves Austin’s credibility as well as makes Angle look better.
WWF Title: Kurt Angle vs. Steve Austin
They meet in the aisle as Austin isn’t afraid of Kurt, which I think helps his character a lot. If Austin had just become this little coward, then no one would have bought him as the leader of the heel faction. By keeping him as the tough guy that he always had been, they make the Alliance look that much stronger. For the most part all we have in the first 2 minutes is nothing but punches.
I get why that’s how most big matches start but not two minutes worth. Austin works on the leg which isn’t as odd as you’d think but Angle gets a sweet counter into the ankle lock. The announcers more or less ruin it as they make it clear through their voices that this isn’t it. When I say announcers I mean JR. It’s weird to see Austin being in control for the majority of a match like this. These two are suplexing the heck out of each other, which is just freaking cool.
It’s not often that you see Austin using offense like this but it’s certainly both looking good and working. Angle hits seven or eight in a row, which somehow isn’t the most Austin has ever taken in a row as Benoit once hit I think 13 in a row. That’s just not only sick but impressive that Benoit could keep getting him up as well as he did. Since it’s pro wrestling though, Austin is just fine after a few seconds of resting following that many suplexes.
From out of nowhere, Austin gets a Stunner after about 8 minutes. The crowd has no idea what to think as Austin got it and got it clean. Angle of course kicks out and the second Stunner sends him to the floor. I don’t get why the announcers are so surprised that Angle kicked out. Rock kicked out after about 3 of them at Mania and after about a 20 minute match. Anyway, Austin goes to the floor and just beats the tar out of Angle.
He nearly breaks his leg and it’s Austin doing what he does best. This would have been a standard Austin match in the late 90s actually. See how well this was done? They’ve just turned his allegiance around and now Austin is still what he was before but just working for a different side. They go out into the crowd where Austin hits a suplex over the barrier but doesn’t go down with Angle. Apparently this was the best move ever, despite it being little more than a slam.
Angle counters though and gets the ankle lock on the floor with a downright scary look on his face. He gets it again in the middle of the ring, but he’s in the ropes in all of 4 seconds. Angle is bleeding bad here, like almost Austin at Mania 13 bad. Ok on second look it’s not that bad. Hey, did you know that Angle won an gold medal with a broken neck? Now sure if you’d ever heard something like that.
More suplexes follow as I’m gaining a new appreciation for those things. Angle busts out the moonsault and hits it like Curt Hennig would. Angle is going commando on Austin…whatever that means, but Austin breaks out the cobra clutch, which despite using it at Mania where Ross says that he hasn’t used is since he was the Ringmaster, Austin uses it here for the first time since he was the Ringmaster.
As Angle does the 80s style arm stays up on the third drop, his head is just looking awful. A third Stunner after all that only gets two as the fans are WAY into this. Angle Slam is the counter to the kick, as I continue to try to figure out how the Angle Slam is any different from a belly to back suplex that’s rotated just a bit. Austin hits the referee though after it gets a two as JR is of course, say it with me, FREAKING OUT.
Did you know that JR thought he knew that man? Did you know that? Not sure if you had heard that one or not. Austin low blows Angle and then stuns the other referee as JR is quoting the 25th letter of the alphabet. A THIRD referee comes out and Austin hits him with the belt. Angle hits the slam but JR is SHOCKED that the referee that got hit maybe 4 seconds ago is down. After all that, we get to the odd part of the match.
Nick Patrick, an Alliance referee, runs out, counts ONE time, and then slides out and tells Fink that it’s a DQ. Why in the world would you count a one and then go for the DQ? I thought he was pulling up because he was going to say his shoulder hurt or something like that, but just to count one and then the DQ? What kind of sense does that even begin to not make?
Naturally, Angle goes off on Patrick with the ankle lock, and I have two observations. One: Patrick taps. Why? Does he think that it’s a match and that’s going to make Angle let go or something? Two: Ross, as usual, says that he’s tapping like a drunk man. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I’ve been around people when they’re drunk and not once have they tapped. The line makes no sense at all and yet somehow the fans have accepted it.
After the match, Ross goes insane again and just babbles on forever about how he knows Austin can’t beat Angle. I know I make fun of Ross a lot, but this was beyond bad looking. This was bordering on embarrassing. Either way, Austin would lose clean to Angle next month after some of the best promos that I can remember, easily the best Angle has ever done.
Rating: A-. This was an awesome match. Austin went suplex for suplex with Angle and they had huge drama going on near the end. Angle took a freaking beating but kept going. I’m not an Angle fan, but there are times when he gets into that zone of his that he is just flat out mesmerizing. This was one of those nights for him.
We recap Rock vs. Booker as it’s just pathetic to really see how much WCW was just stealing from the WWF at the end. There’s imitating and then there’s just flat out ripping off. WCW was doing that later. It was really just bad, and Booker was the worst of them all.
WCW Title: Rock vs. Booker T
Yes, the main event of Summerslam is for the WCW Title. Think of someone that’s very over. Rock is more over. Ross says that the people at home are on their feet. Has anyone ever jumped up for an entrance? Not that I can think of. This is Rock’s first PPV match since Mania as he left to film Scorpion King. Therefore, if you can’t guess the ending of this show, you’re an idiot.
It’s mainly a brawl to start as neither guy has a real advantage for that long. I like matches like that. It makes you think that anything can happen and it can give you a possible hint of what I say makes a match great: not knowing who is going to win. There’s little fun in a squash match, as it’s obvious who is going to win. A good match is typically one where you’re unsure who will win. Now there are obvious exceptions, but for the most part you’ll find that the lack of a clear winner is the better case.
Oh yeah Shane is outside helping Booker about every 8 seconds as can be expected. However, the APA run out and take him out with a sick clothesline by the future waste of air Bradshaw. There’s really not much to say about the match as it’s pretty standard for the most part. Booker is down after an elbow drop but Shane has to make the save since Booker fell asleep waiting on Rock to finish with all of the theatrics, earning Shane another beating.
This is a pretty solid match here though as it’s back and forth with Booker of course being in control most of the match. They fight even more but Booker spins up as Mark Madden continues to validate his existence. If you don’t believe he has a reason to exist, read his column.
I’m sure you’ll be amazed by all the things that he takes credit for, but he’d hate this show. Page had a role in it. What’s his deal with Page anyway? Whatever, it’s not like I’d be able to listen to his explanation. Anyway, as Booker spins up, Rock nips up and lands the Rock Bottom (NOT URANAGE BLAST IT!) for the pin, the title, and Heyman’s heart attack. He poses with the belt to end the show.
Rating: B+. This was a fun match and was great to send the folks home happy. Booker wasn’t going to win and everyone knew it, but they did the best they could with it and it turned out pretty well. It was Rock’s big return and it put the spotlight on him very well. It was definitely good but not great.
Overall Rating: B+. Would have been better to have Austin/Angle go on last, but this certainly worked very well. Either way, we have a good show here with a solid balance of gimmick and regular matches and a fun match to end the show. Austin and Angle is an underrated match, but their match next month was better.
However, I think this show is lacking the one huge match that steals the show which is keeping it from being an all time classic. Definitely recommended though as this is a very good, but not great, show.