In 2001, WWE was in a very interesting situation. They had just purchased WCW and ECW and had come off one of the greatest pay-per-view events of all time in April.
The landscape of the business was going to change forever, whether anybody was ready or not. Even under all that pressure, WWE had to continue. At Judgment Day, the company put out a very average (C grade) event.
What all went down? Let's find out!
The opening match of Judgment Day was William Regal vs. Rikishi.
With Regal being a crooked heel, he was starting to gain some momentum. A month earlier, he defeated Chris Jericho at Backlash in one of the greatest stipulation matches ever created.
This time, he got to pin Rikishi. As expected, it was nothing clean, but he got the job done. Rikishi was not seen on television for a few months shortly after this event.
Chyna was the Women's Champion. She won the title at WrestleMania and had no real competition. As was expected when she won the gold, nobody could realistically challenge her.
After a few weeks, Lita stepped up to the plate.
At Judgment Day, we would get a rare face vs. face match for the Women's Championship.
The two worked a good match, and it even looked like a wardrobe malfunction occurred. In the end, Chyna won the match.
Chyna did not last much longer in WWE.
I believe Judgment Day 2001 was her final match with the company. She never defended the title again and was gone by the end of the year.
WWE had no Women's Champion until Survivor Series 2001. Trish Stratus won the vacant title in November at the memorable event.
Since then, Chyna has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Last year, she even popped up in TNA for a short run. As positive as I am in life, I just can't speak well of Impact Wrestling very often.
Her return was one of the many reasons why.
I wish Chyna nothing but the best in her life. She had a nice WWE run, and it was not a very ideal way to leave the company in 2001.
Rhyno defended his Hardcore Championship against Test and Big Show in a triple threat match. The man beast ended up gaining the victory in a fun 10-minute brawl.
What really stands out is how each man was portrayed here.
Big Show wasn't doing much, once again. He had just lost to Shane McMahon at Backlash and did not look very motivated. For the next few months, he would continue to do nothing.
Rhyno was enjoying a nice run as Hardcore Champion. His match with Raven a few weeks earlier was great in front of the Chicago crowd. Sadly, his time in WWE never went much further than his 2001 run.
Finally, Test was a hot property at this point in time. The man had been through a couple of rough storylines, but he was on the right track in 2001. He was always so close to reaching the top.
It never did work out for him.
Yes, Jerry Lynn was in WWE.
At Judgment Day, he cut a "shoot" promo on Jim Ross. His problem was the Light Heavyweight Championship was not being defended at the show.
He had recently won the gold and was doing nothing with it.
You would think this story would go somewhere, but it didn't. Weeks later, Jeff Hardy beat him for the title on Smackdown, and it was the end of that chapter.
Watch the video I posted!
Undertaker and Stone Cold were feuding, but it wasn't about the WWE Title. This entire situation was centered on Austin messing with Taker's wife, Sara.
She may have been mentioned before, but this was her official introduction to WWE fans. From this point on, Sara was on television a lot in 2001.
Diamond Dallas Page ended up stalking her for the next month, and that great feud was just beginning...
Triple H vs. Kane for the Intercontinental Championship was one of the big feuds going on. At Judgment Day, they would battle in a Chain Match.
They would be linked together, and there were no rules. With the The Game being a great heel, there just was never much of a reason for him being a secondary champ.
Yeah, he and Austin looked amazing with all the gold, but it was never going to last long. On this night, Kane won in an upset and bested Triple H.
It was very unpredictable, but he wouldn't last long as champion, either.
Every time I watch this event, I am still shocked by this announcement.
During the middle of the show, William Regal made the main event between Undertaker and Stone Cold for the WWE Championship a No Holds Barred match.
Nothing was mentioned during the weeks leading up to the show. Nothing was even hinted at. Suddenly, the match was made No Holds Barred an hour before bell time.
That can't happen.
Such a major match would have been great with that added-on gimmick. I assume a lot of extra pay-per-view buys could have been added on as well.
No. It was just thrown on last minute.
Triple H was seriously injured the following night on Raw.
Therefore, this was his final pay-per-view show of 2001. He returned in January of 2002 in grand fashion, a moment many fans still remember to this day.
The Game was on such a roll in 2001. This injury really was a huge blow to the company. Since he was a heel, many fans were happy to see him leave.
However, by the time he was ready to come back, the excellent videos by WWE and U2 were more than enough for people to get behind his comeback story. It really was something special to see.
Just thinking about that moment in Madison Square Garden gives me goosebumps. To this day, it still may rank as one of the greatest returns in the history of WWE.
Be honest. Very few remembered what the main event of this event was...
The final match of the evening was Stone Cold defending his WWE Title against Undertaker.
Two huge legends wrestled in the main event, and it was an amazing brawl. With the WWE Title on the line, you knew (heel) Stone Cold would do anything to keep it around his waist.
That much was very true.
These two beat each other half to death on this night, but it was not meant to be for Undertaker. Steve Austin retained his title, and his lengthy run at the top continued.
I won't spoil it for those who have not seen this match, but the ending was very well done. It is very difficult to be original in this business, but I loved the conclusion to Judgment Day 2001.