Judgment Day 2001: Austin and Undertaker’s Best Match

Judgment Day 2001
Date: May 20, 2011
Location: ARCO Arena, Sacramento, California
Attendance: 13,623
Commentators: Jim Ross, Paul Heyman

 

This is more or less the last match on PPV for the Two Man Power Trip as the following night HHH would tear his quad in the tag match vs. Benoit/Jericho. Tonight though he’s defending the IC Title against Kane while the main event is Taker vs. Austin in a no holds barred match for the world title. Other than that we have the final match in Chyna’s WWF career and Angle vs. Benoit, 2/3 falls. Can’t go wrong there. Let’s get to it.

 

The opening video is of a bearded man in front of a church talking about this being the end of times and all that jazz. Nothing special at all here.

 

The theme of the set is of big hourglasses as time is running out and the end is near. How poetic.

 

William Regal vs. Rikishi

 

Regal is Commissioner here still. Prematch we hear Regal saying that Rikishi gave Stephanie a Stinkface and tonight he’ll avenge her. Rikishi is all pissed off here. I guess that whole attempted murderer thing is forgiven. Rikishi has a bad shoulder though so it’s hard to say how well he’ll be able to do here. The fat man hammers away and Regal is in trouble early. Stinkface is attempted but Regal gets a low blow in to take over.

 

Loud Regal Sucks chant starts up. Rikishi tries a seated senton on Regal but the English dude moves. This is what they picked for an opener? Really? Rikishi gets a leg drop for two and there’s the Stinkface. I hate stuff like that, I truly do. Regal dry heaves for a bit on the floor and the look on his face is priceless. Regal is busted open. Rikishi misses a charge into the corner and posts the bad shoulder. The Regal Cutter (that neckbreaker he does where he pulls the other guys’ arm around their own neck) ends this quickly.

 

Rating: D+. What was the point to this? Isn’t this something that belong on Smackdown or Raw? Stephanie is avenged I guess but at the same time did we need to have this on a PPV/ At least it was in the opening spot I guess, but dang dude, give us something better than this. Not a bad match but nothing I have any interest in at all.

 

Christian and Edge are talking. Tonight they have a tag team turmoil match with the winner getting a title shot. Jericho has a mystery partner and if you read the intro you know both what happens and who wins. Angle pops up and says if the 2/3 falls match he has with Benoit goes to a third fall it’s a ladder match. Edge says don’t fall off because it sucks. Christian adds that if you do, make sure you have your medals which I guess is what this is about. Yeah he’s not wearing them at the moment.

 

HHH and Stephanie get here and are greeted by Vince. Vince wants to know why HHH and Austin involved Taker’s wife Sarah. If I remember right someone told Taker that Sarah had been in a car wreck and Taker left to check on her. It turned out Austin faked the whole thing. I don’t think a reason was given other than to attack Kane. Vince wants to know why HHH and Austin would mess with the sanctity of marriage. Yes it’s meant to be funny.

 

We recap Angle vs. Benoit. This is the time where Benoit stole the medals and Angle started losing his mind. I love how Kurt is willing to put his property on the line in a wrestling match. Benoit put the medals in his ball sack of all things. Angle stole them back and kissed them, but then Benoit put him in the crossface and he had to drop them to tap. Tonight the first fall is pin only, second is submission only, third is ladder.

 

Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit

 

Kurt grabs the mic before he starts. He says that tonight the gold medals are coming home. The crowd says he sucks so he says shut up. Tonight the medals go from against Benoit’s genitals to around his neck where they belong. Angle makes fun of the Sacramento Kings, the NBA team in town. Making fun of sports teams heat is still heat.

 

Nice pop for Benoit. Benoit takes the medals out and Angle jumps him. It’s aggressive Kurt tonight as he hammers away with the Rolling Germans. Angle goes up but misses a splash/headbutt and Benoit hits an Angle Slam and it’s 1-0 maybe a minute in. Dang that came out of nowhere. Crossface goes on almost immediately but Kurt gets a rope. This one is submission only remember.

 

Angle goes into the steps a few times as it’s all Benoit. Now he goes into the post. This hasn’t been a good 2 minutes for him so far. Benoit misses a chop so Kurt picks him up and rams him balls first into the post to shift momentum and Benoit’s voice range drastically. The fans are all over Angle here. Back in the ring and Angle tries the ankle lock but Benoit grabs the rope.

 

Another attempt fails and Benoit can’t get it either. He does however get a quick crossface which gets him nowhere. After a quick nothing on the floor it’s back in and Angle rakes the eyes to take over again. They’re clearly just going through stuff here but it’s not bad at all. Angle hits a belly to belly as Benoit is in trouble. Benoit reverses a whip in and almost gets another crossface but a rope is grabbed.

 

Angle grabs the ankle but Benoit grabs the ankle. That’s the idea here obviously: both guys are trying to grab their signature holds but neither can keep it on for any significant time at all. Out of instinct Angle tries a rollup which of course doesn’t count. Angle grabs something close to a knee bar but Benoit is in the ropes again. The referee threatens a DQ which kind of negates the whole SUBMISSION ONLY thing.

 

Benoit grabs a quick Liontamer of all things which doesn’t work very long but it got a great reaction. Spinning toe hold goes into a figure four but not a very good one. They roll over a few times and Benoit won’t break in the ropes. Oh never mind yes he does. Benoit focuses on the knee now which is good. It’s stupid for Benoit to do a bunch of leg work and then to try the Crossface unless it’s right there. That’s psychology there people.

 

Dragon screw leg whip and an ankle lock by Benoit almost works. JR: “If these ropes were a woman Angle would be going steady.” Good line. We head to the floor and Benoit is in trouble. Never mind as they’re back in already. They’re moving very quickly here. DDT by Benoit but Angle pops up and hits the Angle Slam. Uh….ok. Ankle Lock goes on and Benoit taps immediately. You could argue there that Benoit tapped that fast because he wanted his ankle to be ok for the ladder match.

 

The medals are hooked up and raised again. The guys are back on the floor with Benoit going into the steps. Angle brings in a ladder which is read and only 6’0 tall. That’s not something you often see here. Benoit knocks him down and gets a regular ladder but Angle rips Benoit down. Angle charges with the ladder but Benoit ducks and the ladder and Angle go to the floor.

 

Benoit gets it and instead of going up he hammers on Angle a bit. Such a nice psychopath. Angle somehow gets up and stops Benoit with a lot blow to take over again. The ladder is in the corner and both guys are rammed into it/crushed by it. Benoit in control at the moment. The ladder gets wedged between the top and middle ropes like you often see done with chairs and Benoit goes chest first into it.

 

Angle gets a suplex to throw Benoit into the ladder and the Canadian is in trouble. Scratch that as Benoit is able to seesaw the ladder and drive it into Angle’s face. He puts the ladder on top of Angle and climbs. For some reason Benoit climbs down for most stomping. He goes up again and Angle is able to shove him off. Benoit grabs a Crossface out of nowhere but here are Edge and Christian. Their distraction is enough to let Angle go up and get his medals back to win the match.

 

Rating: A-. Very solid stuff here but dude, it’s Benoit vs. Angle. Were you expecting anything other than a classic? 2/3 falls from these guys is something that you really can’t get wrong. They did their stuff out there and it was of course awesome. There isn’t much else to say here. It’s a great match but that’s par for the course with these two.

 

Taker runs into Regal’s office and wants his match with Austin to be No Holds Barred. Regal is terrified and says he’ll do it.

 

Jerry Lynn, the Light Heavyweight Champion, is at WWF New York and isn’t happy with being there instead of on PPV. He gets on JR and JR denies knowing why Lynn was talking to him.

 

Hardcore Title: Test vs. Rhyno vs. Big Show

 

Rhyno has the title here. Test cost Big Show a match with Shane last month so there’s a history there. Test and Show go at it early before Rhyno gets here. Rhyno takes his time to get here which is kind of stupid. He tries to get some steps but can’t get them unhooked in a funny moment. Rhyno charges at Show on the floor but runs into a boot and we hit the crowd.

 

Show rams Test into a wall and is looking for Rhyno. Oh there he is. Test grabs something to choke Show out with and Show is going down quickly. Rhyno tries to launch a cart of anvil cases at Show and it might have hit him in the head. Rhyno vs. Test now with the taller one in control. And then the real taller one shows up and hammers both of them down.

 

Show tries to chokeslam Test onto some pallets but Rhyno saves. Rhyno and Test manage to knock Show down onto said pallets and is hurt bad. Test and Rhyno run away so they can have a one on one without Show there. That’s rather smart actually. Back into the arena now and even back to ringside. Test is rammed into a post and Rhyno grabs a weapon or two.

 

Back in the ring and Test punches the trashcan lid that Rhyno had back into his face. The fans chant for Show. Rhyno gets a DDT onto the trashcan lid for two. Show is back and Rhyno takes a HUGE chokeslam but Test kicks Show down for two. Gore to Show and Test adds a trashcan lid shot to Rhyno for two. Fire extinguisher comes into play and Show is down. Rhyno throws Test to the floor and throws a trashcan to Show. A “Gore” (read as a tackle) to Show pins him and Rhyno retains.

 

Rating: D+. What were you really expecting here? This is every other hardcore match you would see in this era and there’s not a single special aspect to it. Rhyno would be champion a little while longer until RVD showed up and he and Jeff Hardy traded the title a bunch. This was just there to fill in space more or less as the novelty was completely gone.

 

Regal can’t bring himself to speak to Austin about the no holds barred aspect.

 

Lita is stretching while the Hardys give her encouragement. Eddie comes in to offer her advice against Lita.

 

Regal manages to go in and tells Austin about the stipulation and Austin is ok with it.

 

We recap Chyna vs. Lita. In short Chyna won the title and no one could challenge her. Then there was Lita left. They were partners and Chyna more or less patronized her like she had no chance against Chyna in their match.

 

Women’s Title: Chyna vs. Lita

 

Lita is insanely over here. And here’s Chyna looking like a peacock. That’s JR’s term, not mine. They hug before the match as I guess Lita is ok with Chyna being a witch to her and not seeming to take this seriously at all. This is power vs. speed here and both use their own better attribute to take over for a bit. Lita tries to help Chyna up and gets rolled up for two. Ok so she’s hot but not incredibly smart. Got it.

 

Chyna overpowers the match with ease to start but Lita gets a DDT for two. She finally wakes up and hammers away on Chyna. Middle rope clothesline gets two. Lita goes for the arm as this is getting sloppy. The fans are still in it though so they have that at least. Swinging neckbreaker by Chyna sets up a powerslam for two.

 

Lita channels her inner Alberto by hooking up a rolling cross armbreaker and Chyna is in real trouble all of a sudden. Chyna reverses into a headscissors and here’s Eddie for no apparent reason. She tries a powerbomb but Lita reverses into a horrible looking rana for two. And then a powerbomb by Chyna ends this clean. Nothing from Eddie other than standing there and Chyna more or less didn’t break a sweat.

 

Rating: D. This was supposed to be the big showdown? Chyna destroyed Lita here and made her look like a joke. This was Chyna’s last match in the company as she was taken off TV and the title was held up. She held the title until November anyway so there simply were no title matches for about six months. In short, Chyna destroyed the division and it took Trish and Lita to bring it back to whatever it was. Oh and this match was awful.

 

Angle is fired up about winning the medals and says that this is just beginning. Tomorrow he’s going to have an Olympic Medal ceremony. He thanks Edge and Christian and leaves. Edge says it was to get Kurt to shut up.

 

Vince gives HHH and Austin a pep talk.

 

We recap HHH vs. Kane. These feuds can be combined into one actually. The Hardys and Lita had been the ones to stand up to the Two Man Power Trip and in short, they got their teeth kicked in. Austin/HHH were about to destroy Lita when Taker and Kane popped up as the cavalry. They were tag champions at the time and the main event of Backlash was the obvious tag match with all the titles on the line (HHH was IC Champion at this time if that wasn’t clear). The Two Man Power Trip had injured Kane’s arm which was what caused the tag title change. The feuds then split into two single feuds, playing out tonight.

 

Intercontinental Title: Kane vs. HHH

 

This is the version where you’re joined at the wrist but you win by pin/submission thank goodness. Kane brings the chain and still has the bad left arm. HHH jumps Kane before they’re attached and the fight is on. Like an intelligent man, HHH goes after the BIG BANDAGE on the arm. To the floor with HHH ramming Kane’s arm into various steel objects.

 

Back in the ring and HHH attaches the chain at the wrists. This gives Kane a chance to get up though and he whips away at HHH. Wisely though HHH pulls on the chain which pulls at Kane’s bad arm to reshift the momentum. The Game goes up top and hits a double axe for two. Apparently you can only win by pinfall. Eh it’s not like they use submissions anyway I guess.

 

Out to the floor again for more dominance by HHH. He sends Kane back into the ring and grabs a chair but Kane pulls on the chain and it rams HHH’s head into the chair and busts him open BAD. Kane wakes up now and Katie Vick’s best friend is on offense. He chokes away with the chain and it’s back out to the floor again.

 

HHH gets hung over the top rope via the chain as it’s almost all Kane at this point. He goes up but HHH pulls the chain and the Big Fried Freak comes flying down. Back to the floor again with HHH being thrown into the crowd. After some brief offense by HHH, Kane slams him off the railing and back to ringside.

 

Back in the Pedigree is blocked and Kane gets a low blow. Big shot with the chain puts the Game down. Top rope chain shot by Kane sets up the chokeslam but here’s Austin. He’s out before I can finish that sentence though and HHH gets a low blow. Austin however grabs a chair to swing at Kane but hits HHH in the head (kind of. It was more like he swung too high and hit both guys at once). Kane dumps Austin and covers HHH for the pin and the title.

 

Rating: C-. Just ok here with these two guys having a severe lack of chemistry. It’s passable but at the same time there’s nothing special going on here at all. The chain thing was pretty pointless and didn’t really play into the ending at all for the most part. This could have been no holds barred but they were doing that in the main event so I can let that slide. Not much here though but it could have been worse.

 

We still don’t know who Jericho’s tag partner is and he hints that it’s Coach. He says his partner is a real party animal. Oh blast it he picked Percy Watson. Jericho says that if they don’t win, they’re at least taking Edge and Christian with them.

 

HHH rants about Austin and Vince says keep it together.

 

Tag Team Turmoil

 

It’s a tag team gauntlet match with the winners being #1 contenders. We open with APA vs. Dean Malenko/Perry Saturn. There are seven teams total in this. The Radicalz spring into the ring with Saturn suplexing Farrooq for no cover. Dean vs. Farrooq to start us off officially. Double clothesline puts both guys down. Another suplex to Bradshaw but Farrooq hits Saturn with a big old spinebuster and this doesn’t make it to two minutes.

 

Dudleys in next. To the shock of no one this is a brawl to start us off. Powerslam by Farrooq to D-Von gets two. Spike is here with the Dudleys. Off to Bubba now and the Dudleys control. Off to Bradshaw who beats up the Bully. Clothesline from JBL misses and Bubba lands a side slam for two and it’s back off to D-Von. Dang when did I become such a play by play man?

 

The fans want tables. Fallaway slam puts D-Von down as Bradshaw takes over again. Everything breaks down with Bubba and Farrooq hitting the floor. That doesn’t last long though as Bradshaw gets caught in a Doomsday Device and then What’s Up to Farrooq. It’s Table Time but Bob Holly of all people shows up to hit the Alabama Slam to D-Von. Clothesline from JBL ends Farrooq in the ring and the APA advances again.

 

Next up is X-Factor, which means Justin Credible and a clean shaven X-Pac. Albert, the third part of the group, is on the floor. Farrooq vs. X-Pac to start for a bit and now it’s off to Bradshaw. Bradshaw easily overpowers him as you would expect so it’s off to Justin now. Out to the floor where Albert, the guy that would actually win the IC Title from Kane, takes Bradshaw down for Justin.

 

Farrooq comes in now as the APA is getting a bit tired here. Leg Drop gets two. Why in the world was X-Pac given a stable of his own? Who thought that was a good idea? Nice powerslam by Farrooq gets two and it’s off to the future JBL. Bradshaw tries the fallaway slam to Pac but Albert trips him up and holds the foot down to eliminate the APA.

 

In fifth are the Hardys. Shoot no Lita. Matt is European Champion here. The Hardys dominate to start with Justin in trouble. Pac pulls the rope down and Jeff goes sailing to the floor. To be fair he’s probably high already so he didn’t feel a thing. Pac comes in and hits Jeff with the Bronco Buster. Ross says he’s graduated from Sidekick School. Is Marty Jannetty the mascot?

 

Medium tag to Matt who cleans house. Poetry in Motion sets up the Swanton but Albert pulls Matt out. Jeff takes out Matt and Albert in a big dive. A superkick from Justin to Matt gets rid of the Hardys in an upset. Jericho and his mystery partner are in next. He comes out on his own first but waves out Chris Benoit. Well I think we know the winners already here.

 

They storm the ring and the fight is on. Jericho knocks Albert down but tries to dive on him and is rammed into the post. Remember that this is technically Benoit’s fourth match in about two hours. The traditional tagging part begins with Pac vs. Benoit with Jericho down on the floor. Benoit is sitting in the corner and Justin manages to pick him up by his legs and hits a sitout powerbomb for two.

 

We hit the chinlock which Benoit fights out of with relative ease. Pac vs. Benoit again as Jericho hasn’t been in legally yet. He takes way too long setting up the Bronco Buster and Benoit moves, allowing him to bring in Jericho. The Canadian cleans house and chops away on Pac. Middle rope dropkick gets two for Jericho and we get some mild heel miscommunication.

 

Albert beats up Benoit on the floor and the referee is taken down. X-Factor hits double superkicks to Jericho but they only get two. They try a double team move but Benoit crotches X-Pac. Albert comes in and that doesn’t go well for baldie. Double suplex to Justin sets up the double submission on X-Factor. The final pairing is Benoit/Jericho vs. Edge/Christian. What a shocker.

 

Benoit gets dropped face first into the steps by Christian while it’s Jericho vs. Edge in the ring. Christian vs. Jericho at the moment as this is a very Canadian heavy match. I’m a bit confused as Jericho and Benoit were in a different corner against X-Pac than they are now. Jericho is bleeding from the mouth a bit as we’re back to the chinlock by Edge at this point.

 

Christian gets a backbreaker for two on Jericho as apparently the referee is Canadian too. Edge hammers away on Jericho but misses a dropkick. Lionsault gets knees though so we’re not done yet. Edge gets slammed into the mat and it’s off to Benoit. He ducks an incoming Christian who hits Edge by mistake and then gets a HUGE German on Christian for two.

 

Everything breaks down and the team that used to be brothers but are now friends take over again. They try a double team move but Jericho intercepts Edge and it’s a Doomsday Device with Benoit hitting a dropkick on Christian. Edge saves and DDTs Benoit for no cover. Out to the floor and Edge and Christian grab chairs. Stereo baseball slides take care of them though and the other Canadians pick up the chairs.

 

Edge spears Benoit and Jericho gets rolled up for two. Edge and Christian grab the chairs again but Benoit ducks and grabs the Crossface out of nowhere on Christian. Edge is taken out by Jericho and Benoit makes Christian tap to earn the spot against Austin and HHH which they would use in an epic match the next night on Raw.

 

Rating: B. That’s for the whole thing. Some of it was indeed kind of stupid but at the same time the ending match was great. This was one of the better matches of this kind that you’ll see as other than the first fall, everything could have at least been on Raw. This was perfectly fine and it worked rather well I thought. Fun stuff.

 

We recap Austin vs. Taker. Read the Kane vs. HHH recap but here the idea is that Austin is power crazed and made a fake phone call to Taker, telling him that his wife was in a bad car wreck so that Austin and HHH could beat on Kane with no worries of Taker. This didn’t go well as tonight it’s time for Taker’s revenge.

 

Here’s Vince as JR messes up Vince’s job title. Apparently the boss will be joining us on commentary.

 

WWF World Title: The Undertaker vs. Steve Austin

 

This is no holds barred remember. Could these two PLEASE have a good match? They have some of the worst chemistry you’ll ever find but hopefully they can get something going here. Taker jumps the champion in the aisle and the fight is on. All Taker so far as it’s Revenge Mode Taker here. He manages to hit Old School on the floor using the railing. That was rather different.

 

Back out to the floor again after about 8 seconds in the ring. Austin tries to whip Taker into the railing which gets him nowhere at all. Fire extinguisher to the face of the champion and Austin is reeling. Back the to ring but Taker gives Austin a chance to breathe by grabbing a chair. Austin manages to fight back a bit and hitting a neckbreaker. He goes for the knee but misses a chair shot and here comes Taker again.

 

Big clothesline sets up a powerslam attempt but Austin escapes. Stunner doesn’t work and a big boot from Taker gets two. Back to the floor one more time and Taker goes after Vince, allowing Austin to get a shot in to take over a bit. He wraps Taker’s left leg around the post multiple times. Ross keeps ranting about how Austin changed and Heyman says Austin said for four years “Don’t Trust Anybody.” Ross of course has nothing but tries to say Heyman doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I love Heyman at times.

 

Back in the ring again and Austin works on the knee even more. Austin grabs a leg lock and Taker rams his head with elbows. A pair of low blows puts Taker right back down as the fans chant that Austin Sucks. Taker uses the good leg to ram Austin’s head and he’s on his feet now. He has one good leg though so he sends Austin to the floor for a bit. What an original idea in this match.

 

It’s table time as Heyman tells Taker that the Spanish guys are over there in a funny line. Chokeslam through the table and Austin is in trouble. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE DIET SODAS??? Austin’s back is bleeding as he kicks out at two in the ring from that chokeslam. Wow that was a badly written sentence. Elbow drop gets two and the fans are into this. Vince is off commentary now.

 

We hit the floor for I think the fifth time in about fifteen minutes and Austin hits Taker with a monitor to take over. Taker is busted now. Back in the ring and they slug it out. Taker sends him into the ropes but gets caught by a Lou Thesz Press which is booed out of the building. I could do without Ross saying “who is this man” and the like.

 

Austin gets a low blow and it’s clear both of them are getting tired. He does that move where the other guy is in a 619 position and he runs at them to jump on their back. What is that move called anyway? Heyman points out he does know both of these guys as he managed both of them early in the year. Sleeper by Austin as JR needs to stop running his mouth.

 

Taker reverses with a suplex but Austin cracks him with the chair to put him down one more time. Now the fans like Austin. This is an odd crowd. Austin sets for the Stunner so Taker flips him off. Stunner gets two and a big pop for the kickout. Austin wears him out with the chair which apparently doesn’t do much since Taker hits the chokeslam a few seconds later.

 

Instead of covering though Austin grabs the chair and beats Austin a few times with it. Ok make it a lot of times. HHH comes down with the sledgehammer and gets beaten down as well. Taker covers Austin but Vince breaks it up. He beats on the boss and manages to avoid an Austin chair shot which ends Vince. Sledgehammer to the head of Taker ends it as Kane’s pyro and music hits. NICE TIMING LITTLE BROTHER!

 

Rating: C. Nothing great at all here but it’s one of their better matches. The booking at the end makes some sense I guess but I’m still not a fan of it. WAY too much going to the floor here but overall the match worked pretty well. Taker looked pretty good out there as did Austin. Not that any of that matters as due to HHH being injured they had to hotshot the Alliance but what are you going to do?

 

Overall Rating: C+. Not an awful show but really nothing great. There’s nothing worth going out of your way to see other than maybe Angle vs. Benoit. Those two have had FAR better matches though so it’s nothing that’s required viewing. The company was clearly going down slightly at this point but the Invasion would help a bit. Anyway, nothing special here and not really worth seeing.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book on the History of the WWE Championship from Amazon for only $5 at:

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3 comments

  1. chris says:

    It was an ok show, It might mean more if they ever mentioned it lead to the awesome Jericho, Benoit, Austin, Triple H tag title match.

    I’ve always had a soft spot for Austin, Taker, summerslam, 98. HIGHWAY TO HELL.

  2. I like the Taker vs Austin Summerslam match as well but I agree with KB in that something is always lacking in their matches and it seems like it really does have to do with the weird chemistry the two have. Sometimes it just works that way.

    I will have to check out the Angle vs Benoit match. Never seen this one before.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Well the Summerslam match has a big problem holding it back which isn’t their fault. IYH 15 is good also.