WWE Memory Lane: Ranking the 10 Best PPV Matches of 2001 (All Video Highlights)
Courtesy of WWE
This is the fourth slideshow of a short series I intend to create ranking top WWE pay-per-view matches for each year during the late 90s and the early 2000s.
This one will focus on the best PPV matches during 2001, which was a year featuring many amazing matches and some new faces in the WWE.
As with the previous slideshow in this series, please be sure to leave comments mentioning any matches that I forgot or didn't make my final list, or if you would like to discuss of any of these all-time great matches.
If you enjoyed this slideshow, be sure to check out some others in the series:
10. Kurt Angle vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (Unforgiven)
This was a classic bout between these two stars and I would recommend finding the promo video of the lead-in to this match on YouTube.
Angle finished off the Rattlesnake with an ankle lock submission, although Austin had a hand under the bottom rope, meaning the match technically shouldn't have ended.
9. Rock vs. Booker T (SummerSlam)
This was one of my favorite matches during the entire Invasion period, as it pitted two of my favorite superstars from both the WWE and the now defunct WCW against each other.
I'd recommend skipping the first 20 seconds of this highlight, as it is nothing more than a Twix commercial.
Although Shane McMahon was in Booker's corner, he couldn't help him save his WCW title, as the Rock came out victorious with a Rock Bottom followed by the three count.
8. Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle (WrestleMania XVII)
These two wrestling legends had a series of amazing matches, some of which are ahead on this slideshow, during 2001.
Kurt Angle stole the win in this one, as he rolled up Benoit and grabbed a handful of his tights to secure the victory.
This was the first of their many classic matches, and the ending was perfect as neither competitor took a defeat.
7. Triple H vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (No Way Out)
This match had an excellent build up, including both Stone Cold stunning the Game's wife Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and HHH hitting a pedigree on JR in retribution in the week leading into the match.
YouTube didn't have any highlights that I could find, only the match in its entirety, so this is the fifth and final clip of the series.
The match ended after Triple H leveled Austin with a sledgehammer, dropping on top of him to score the pin fall.
6. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit (Judgment Day)
This is another matchup in the classic series these two had during 2001 and was a best out of three falls match.
Each of the three falls had stipulations: the first was a regular match, the second was a submission match and the third was a ladder match with Angle's Olympic gold medals hanging above the ring.
Angle won the match and retrieved his medals after Edge and Christian came out and interfered, holding Benoit as Angle climbed the ladder.
5. Edge vs. Christian (No Mercy)
These two former tag team partners had a great feud in the fall of 2001 and culminated with this ladder match for the Intercontinental title.
Edge won the matchup after smashing Christian's head between two steel chairs, a move referred to as a "con-chair-to," at the top of the ladders.
4. Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle (Backlach)
This matchup was a 30-minute Ultimate Submission match between these two amazing technical wrestlers; as you might expect, it turned into an instant classic.
The match would go into a sudden death overtime after both wrestlers ended the time limit with three falls a piece.
Benoit won the match in the overtime after locking in his famous Crippler Crossface maneuver to make Angle submit.
3. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit (Royal Rumble)
This match was one of my favorite ladder matches in WWE history, as these two had an amazing chemistry in the ring together which definitely showed in this bout.
One of my favorite parts of the match was when Jericho locked in the Walls of Jericho on Benoit at the top of the ladder, which can be seen around the 1:40 mark of the highlight.
Jericho would eventually pick up the win after shoving over a ladder Benoit was on reaching for the belt, sending him tumbling to the outside of the ring.
2. Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy (SummerSlam)
These two superstars had an epic battle for the Hardcore Championship at SummerSlam that many might consider to be the No. 1 match of the year.
Jeff Hardy takes a massive fall during the match after RVD shoves a ladder out from under him, leaving him dangling from the belt hovering above the ring.
Van Dam would climb the ladder and pick up the win shortly after Hardy's drop.
1. Shane McMahon vs. Kurt Angle (King of the Ring)
This matchup is one of my all-time favorite matches, as both competitors literally gave it everything they had in this Street Fight.
Make sure you check the video around the 2:28 mark to see the three sick German suplexes McMahon takes into the glass entrance decor, one of which sent him through a pane.
The match ended with Angle hitting his patented Angle Slam from the top rope.