Since people are complaining about today's WWE product, I figured why not take a look back to when the WWE (then-WWF) was red hot and pumping out great PPVs like they were John Cena foam fingers.
Today, we set the Way-Back Machine to 2000 and take a look at the night the Rock and HHH clashed in an Iron Man match with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee.
Cut immediately to DX and Vince hanging out, eating grapes, and we have our first X-Pac sighting of the night as I shudder. Reigning Hardcore Champion Gerald Brisco shows up and gets barked at to go get coffee, as we learn that X-Pac likes his with ice because he’s a big girl.
Brisco is jumped by the Headbangers en route to getting the tasty beverages: remember the 24/7 rule? That was an awesome concept until the WWF did what it always does—take a good idea that fans like and pound it into the ground over and over and over and over and over again until they get sick of it, eventually turning on it (See: Austin vs. Evil Authority Figure).
Cut to Shawn Michaels wearing some of the most questionable looking shorts I’ve ever seen. Heartbreak Kid indeed.
Kurt Angle, Edge, and Christian vs. Rikishi and Too Cool
The awesome original heel Kurt Angle (from my alma mater of Clarion University) comes out and reveals that teenage girls think he is “all that”. But, never fear, Kurt promises to stick to his abstinence stance. He was a little shaky on the mic, but the potential was definitely there.
Too Cool’s pop is ridiculous, and how Rikishi ever got this over is a mystery to me. The heels jump them to start, but Rikishi throws them all into the same corner and Kurt escapes before Rikishi can smash him with his huge ass.
Grandmaster takes over on Edge and nails him with a nice enzuguri before a missile dropkick from the second rope brings out the dance moves. In comes Scotty and some choreographed double teaming ensues. Edge goes to the eyes to take control and tags in Christian, who engages in a nice wrestling sequence with Scotty and takes a suplex.
Scotty kips up, and moonwalks like an idiot, so he gets jumped from behind. Christian chops away in the corner and Canadian Whips him to the other side, but Grandmaster is there to block the corner with his own body so Scotty can get a reversal. Edge tries to do the same with his partner, but of course he screws up and gets crotched. Cute spot.
Lots of double teaming ends with Edge headbutting Christian in the groin as the crowd chants for the fat guy. In a somewhat uncomfortable moment while the heels are on the outside, Sexay and Scotty argue about penis size and Grandmaster reveals he wears white Speedos. Don’t ask. Christian interrupts that weird spot, but doesn’t notice Rikishi getting tagged and gets destroyed.
The big man cleans house and finally gets his hands on Kurt Angle before Angle takes over by moving when Rikishi tries to sit on him. Rikishi gets worked over in the corner, but fights back and tags in Scotty, who tries to get the worm before Kurt breaks it up to some serious heat.
The heels seem annoyed by the constant double teaming and kick the hell out of Scotty to start the face-in-peril portion of the contest. The crowd is just electric for this as Scotty takes a Pittsburgh Whip to the corner. Meanwhile, the people let Kurt know that he sucks.
Kurt gets two off of a suplex, then Christian comes in to get his kicks in but Scotty catches him coming into the corner. Nice reversal sequence to a stungun has both men crawling to the corners, of course Rikishi comes in and is (in Vince’s immortal words) a house of fire.
Rikishi stacks the heels in the corner and crushes them all, as Kurt falls into the terrible position of getting Rikishi’s giant ass rubbed in his gold medal winning face.
Rikishi gets jumped but Kurt and Christian ignore the cardinal rule of wresting a Samoan guy, which is that piledrivers or DDTs do no damage whatsoever. Rikishi pops up and nails them, but Edge hits a spear and then gives a piss poor attempt at The Worm.
Scotty gets up and gives the people the real deal as Kurt eats a superkick from Sexay. Rikishi has Edge up for the Rikishi driver, but Christian sneaks in and nails the fat guy with the ring bell. The referee is distracted and Sexay comes onto Edge with a legdrop from the top rope and Rikishi gets the pin.
Winners: Rikishi and Too Cool
Talk about a hot opener! These guys went nuts for the crowd and the people responded. The magic sunglasses get put on and Rikishi gives the people a little dance number. We’ll call it *** for nice, fast-paced stuff.
Eddie Guerrero (RIP) and Chyna arrive earlier tonight on HEAT, and Eddie has the "Power of the Mullet". Is it sad that Chyna looks, almost, somewhat doable? Dean Malenko and Saturn interrupt the party and tell Chyna to stay out of the former Radicalz business. Perry Saturn has the charisma of my left butt cheek.
Triple Threat Match for the WWF European Championship
Eddie Guerrero vs. Perry Saturn vs. Dean Malenko
The Radicalz EXPLODE! Malenko is the Light Heavyweight Champion, but it’s not on the line—like the title meant anything anyways. For God’s sake, it’s like the only title in wrestling history that a company FORGOT it had.
Brawl to start with Dean and Perry laying the boots to Eddie, getting a nice double team move. They shake hands: I’ll give that about 20 seconds before that’s over. Eddie goes to the corner, and Perry clotheslines Dean for two. So much for that.
Dean counters with a leg lariat, but Saturn takes over and drops both men on their butts. Interesting spot as Eddie goes low on both men at the same time and gets a leg lariat. Hurricanrana sends Dean down, and then gives one to Saturn for the hell of it. Small “Eddie” chant breaks out as Dean dumps EG with a sidewalk slam for two.
Saturn jumps from behind but gets nailed with a tornado DDT out of the corner from Eddie for two. Dean is back up and catches Eddie with a knee before a nice sit-down powerbomb that gets two. Chyna’s boobs are ridiculously fake.
Dean tries a powerbomb again, but Eddie rolls him up, which is reversed by Dean into the Texas Cloverleaf. He barely gets any time before he has to clothesline Saturn to stay in control. Eddie reverses a whip to the corner, and tries for a superplex before Saturn breaks it up.
Saturn puts Eddie on his shoulders, a la the Legion of Doom, before dumping him onto the top rope and nailing Eddie with an overhead suplex. Dean fights Saturn off, and Eddie joins him on the top rope. A brief scuffle ensues before Dean nails Eddie with a NASTY-looking gutbuster from the top rope, OUCH!
Saturn dumps Dean and nails a nice looking splash from the top before Dean breaks up the count. Eddie comes back with a brainbuster and Dean locks on a crossface before Eddie dropkicks him in the face. Lots of spots here with no real flow to them.
Now it’s Saturn turn to comeback before he gets dumped to the outside and Dean hits a back suplex. Dean goes up top and gets his own splash before Saturn comes back in and German suplexes BOTH guys at the same time.
Chyna, however, nails Saturn with a dozen loaded red roses and he’s out cold. Maybe she knocked his eyes back straight. Dean catches Chyna trying to nail him with the flowers of doom, but she trips him up and he ends up falling face first on them and Eddie rolls him up for the pin. Winner and STILL Champion: Eddie Guerrero.
You know, I just didn’t just get behind this one. It was just spot, rest, spot, rest, spot. There really wasn’t a flow to link the spots together, they just did one, laid around, then another guy did a spot. I’m gonna go ** and chalk it up to a disappointment.
Recap of Gerald Brisco winning the Hardcore Title on Smackdown by pinning Crash Holly while he’s taking a nap. The hushed commentary is awesome.
Back live with Brisco hiding in the bathroom and establishing that he is terrified of everyone.
Recap of Big Show going through his phase of “having fun” after a stint on Saturday Night Live revealed that he actually was a pretty funny guy. His impression of Hulk Hogan at Backlash is still funny today. Shane, on the other hand, doesn’t think it’s so funny and thinks the Show is unmotivated and slob, which actually makes the Big Show cry. Aww, poor Paul.
No Disqualification Match
Big Show vs. Shane McMahon
Only in the WWF could the 20-something, chubby, non-wrestling-trained son of the owner compete in a match against someone who outweighs him by 300 lbs. and has a foot on him.
Shane dives over the ropes at Show like a total idiot; he gets caught and rammed into the post twice for his stupidity. Show runs Shane into the steps on the outside, then slams him on them. Paul Wight looks absolutely ripped compared to how he looked in WWECW.
Shane gets dumped into the right OVER the top rope and Big Show literally kicks his butt. Show talks trash while kicking his butt and Shane just bumps like a madman for him. AND CUE THE RUN INS!
Bossman is our first contestant, and works the Show’s leg over with the nightstick. Show has had enough and delivers a few headbutts before a powerbomb sends Bossman to the hills. Next up is Test and Albert (affectionately known as T&A) with balloon-boobed Trish Stratus before she learned how to wrestle.
They bring chairs to the ring, but that’s not enough as Show cleans house and sends them running as well. Trish gets into the ring and tries a low blow, but Show apparently has BALLS OF STEEL and feels no pain
Trish gets dumped on top of Test and Albert. I’m convinced he could have tossed her little bum into the 9th row with no problem. Shane is busy trying to get away during all this, but Show catches up to him at the entranceway and tosses him into the steel structure.
Show does a little housecleaning and grabs some scaffolding, but Shane gets a nice counter by using the set like monkey bars and kicking back in Show’s face. T&A take advantage and beat Show down while Shane runs a cart into Show and covers for a two count. Show comes back as Test tries to hit him with a freakin' cinder block—where did that come from?
Shane is climbing for his life, but run-in No. 6 has Bull Buchanan coming in with another nightstick. Show is laying on an obviously gimmicked pile of rubber wires, and Shane pushes a sparking speaker onto his leg. Bull sits on the speaker to keep Show down, while Shane BREAKS A CINDER BLOCK OVER SHOW’S HEAD. Okay then, that gets the pin. Winner: Shane McMahon
What the hell was that? They did a good job of putting Show over as a giant in the first five minutes, but then they busted out Wile E. Coyote spots with sparking, oversized speakers and a cinder block that crumbled to dust when it hit the Show’s head.
Let the record show that Big Show is up and walking out 30 seconds after getting hit on the head with a 40 lbs. piece of stone. The whole mess gets * and doesn’t get called the next day.
Show gets loaded into an ambulance complaining of his knee injury, and totally ignoring the massive concussion he should have.
Back with "The Gerald Brisco Comedy Hour", as Gerry travels to the referee locker room to hang out and try to stay safe. Of course, the 2 referees in there try to jump him as soon as he falls asleep.
HHH and Shawn are doing the male bonding thing in the back, before HHH reads my mind and makes fun of Shawn’s shorts.
Recap of the sweet feud between Jericho and The Wrestler Who Must Not Be Named. They highlight the Walls of Jericho against the Crippler Crossface.
On Smackdown, Hardcore Holly destroys Benoit’s knee with a chair, probably because Benoit called him Sparky Plugg.
Submission Match for WWF Intercontinental Title
Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho
How the hell did no one know that Benoit was on steroids? Y2J chant starts as they both fight over a lockup before Benoit takes over with some hard, awesome chops. Jericho comes back with a running bulldog and gets some MANLY chops of his own.
Jericho goes for an armbar early, but Benoit rolls out of it and tries a tombstone piledriver as Jerry Lawler makes a 69 joke. They fight over the move before Benoit gets a shoulderbreaker to setup the Crossface later on. Benoit gets a diving headbutt onto the shoulder—ouch.
Benoit slaps on his first submission move, but we all know there is no way. Jericho fights out and goes for the Walls, but it’s too early and Benoit fights out of it. Jericho keeps Chris down with an elbow, and then a dropkick sends Benoit to the floor.
Out on the floor, Jericho meets the steps shoulder-first and Benoit sets the steel steps upright. Jericho counters though and drives Benoit’s knee into his own step section—IRONY! Back inside, Jericho gets a double arm backbreaker and they start chopping the living hell out of each other again.
Jericho charges in the corner, but meets the post with his shoulder and Benoit takes the pad off of the turnbuckle before sending Jericho’s shoulder into the bolt. Benoit drops a knee on the shoulder, and you'll notice there is not one move that doesn’t concentrate on the injured body part.
That’s why Benoit was so awesome, he doesn’t drop a knee on the shoulder and then go for a Boston Crab or something stupid like that.
Fujiwara armbar has Jericho in trouble, but he fights to the ropes as we cut to Hardcore Holly watching the match and wearing no shirt for some reason. Benoit charges in the corner, but bangs his knee off of the exposed bolt and now Jericho is in control.
He gets a dragon screw leg whip and rips the knee brace off of Benoit’s hurt knee. The crowd doesn’t seem to be into this for some reason. Jericho whips Benoit with his own medical brace, which is like three different levels of cool.
He tries the figure four, but Benoit basically kicks him as hard as he can in the head. A dropkick to the knee sets up the Lionsault, which means nothing in this kind of match. Jericho attempts to dump Benoit, but it ends up with Jericho getting the Walls of Jericho on the ropes, which looks painful as hell.
Benoit misses an enzugri, but comes back with his German suplexes. Jericho tries the Walls, but Benoit finds the knee brace on the mat and smacks Jericho in the face before locking on the Crippler Crossface.
Jericho is fighting it, so Benoit lets go of the move so he can drag him to the middle of the ring and lock it on again—sweet. Benoit lets go again and now locks the move on so it’s a choke. Jericho legitimately turns purple in the face as Benoit looks like he’s trying to kill him. Jericho passes out and the ref calls for the bell. Winner: Chris Benoit
Well, the crowd wasn’t into it because it didn’t feature a fat Samoan guy, but man I was FEELIN' IT. I rate it ***3/4 for great psychology, good back and forth stuff and Jericho almost dying to get a finishing move over.
Recap of Gerald Brisco’s night, just in case you changed to another PPV channel. Michael Cole now interviews him, as some random concession workers plot in the background like evil henchmen.
The Rock lays down the law on Shawn Michaels and promises to kick Shawn’s butt if he screws him over.
Tag Team Table Match
DX (Road Dogg and X-Pac) vs. The Dudley Boyz
DX gets an anemic pop on its way out, but has the AWESOME Run-DMC entrance music tonight. Dogg’s rapping seems forced at this point and the crowd is all like “meh”. Dogg and D-Von start out, as Dogg jumps him from behind but gets caught with a shoulderblock. An elbow sends Road Dogg to the ground, but he takes over and tags in X-Punk.
D-Von hits another shoulderblock, showing he did not bring the moveset with him to Kentucky. Bubba Ray comes in and pounds away but eats a spinning heel kick. X-Pac goes for the tables, but Bubba has other ideas as he drags X-Pac’s greasy butt into the ring and chops the hell out of him.
Bubba misses a blind charge, but stays in control with a clothesline. WAAAAAAAAASSSSUP groin headbutt hits both members of DX as Tori distracts the ref, but it’s not like they are going to get disqualified or something—they have to put them through a freakin' TABLE!
Bubba checks out Tori and gets that weird look in his eye, called “getting wood” by the WWF of course. Meanwhile, D-Von is getting the crap kicked out of him in the ring and X-Pac hits his Bronco Buster in the corner.
Dogg goes for a boring front facelock to continue the heat segment, and the Dudleys get the classic “face teams gets a tag but the referee didn’t see it” spot. D-Von comes back with a double clothesline and gets the hot tag to Bubba, who curses out X-Pac before slamming him. Bubba Bomb for Road Dogg, Samoan drop for X-Pac and it’s “DEEEEEEEVON! GET THE TABLES!”
Three tables get involved, and the Dudleys set them up in opposite corners. D-Von gets run into the steps, and Dogg sets up a table outside and dumps D-Von through it to take the lead 1-0. Both members have to be put through a table of course, but they don’t even tell the crowd that D-Von was put through one.
The table spot was kinda weak anyways. Bubba is biting Road Dogg, which can’t possibly be hygienic as X-Pac sets up D-Von against another table. Why? I have no idea.
X-Pac tries for a hurricanrana on Bubba Ray, but gets powerbombed through a table for his trouble, making it 1-1. The referee gets between Bubba and Dogg, so they toss him through a table in a stolen ECW spot. Bubba celebrates by DDTing Road Dogg as YOUR Hardcore Champion Gerald Brisco makes his way out.
3-D going through the table looks to end it, but the referee is out cold so no bell rings. Let me get this straight: 15,000 people, 100 employees and millions of people on PPV all saw Dogg go through a table, but since one guy in a striped shirt didn’t see it, it’s like it never happened? The logic I’ve accepted as a wrestling fan is absolutely mind-blowing.
Brisco pulls Dogg out as Tori comes in to shake her butt some more. Bubba grabs Tori and the Dudleys set up for a superbomb from the top rope, but Brisco makes the save. Bubba is sitting on the top rope and X-Pac gets a decent looking X-Factor through the table for the win. The crowd doesn’t like THAT one. Winners: D-Generation X
Post-match, Brisco gets his as the Dudleys jump him and put him through a table. It wasn’t really a normal wrestling match, and it wasn’t an all-out brawl, which the Dudleys are so good at. It was just kinda there, which means ** is all it gets.
Creepy nursery rhyme proclaiming that Judgment Day is here. I think you know who THAT video is for?
Both HHH and The Rock warn that if Shawn screws either of them, he’s dead.
60-Minute Iron Man Match for WWF World Title
The Rock vs. HHH
With a 60-minute time limit, most decisions at the end of the time limit is the World Champion. Of course, Shawn Michaels is YOUR special guest referee and yes, he is still wearing those terrible shorts. HHH sends the McMahon-Helmsley Faction to the back because he wants to do this himself.
We stall for a bit and Rocky forces Hunter to take a time out on the outside. Back in, Triple H gets a headlock but a right hand from Rocky sends him to the outside again and HBK refuses to break the count.
Rocky goes back to the headlock and then runs HHH into the corners before missing a charge to the corner and taking a clothesline. HHH goes to work on the left arm of the Rock and grabs an armbar, Rocky fights out of it but takes an armbar takedown for two.
HHH stays on the arm as the 10-minute mark passes with no falls so far. Rocky backs him into the corner and sends HHH off the ropes before catching him with a Rock Bottom from out of nowhere for the first fall (Rock 1-0).
HHH rolls to the outside and Rocky follows him out where HHH meets the barrier surrounding the ring a few times. The Rock suplexes him back into the ring for a two count and Rocky starts to go to work on the knee, wrapping it around the post and driving it into the steel steps.
Rocky uses the Mr. Perfect spot of kicking HHH’s knee out from underneath him. Rock locks in the figure four (WOOOOO) and HHH is in trouble. Hunter eventually reverses the leglock and they tumble into the ropes for a break.
To the outside again and they fight into the crowd as two girls absolutely FLIP OUT at the sight of the Rock. A backdrop sends Rocky back to ringside and back into the ring as the 20-minute mark goes by.
Textbook suplex by HHH and a big elbow drop gets two. HHH tries the pinfall over and over again, which makes a lot of sense in the context of the hour long match, making the Rock expend energy to kick out each time. In the corner, the Rock goes to the knee but gets tossed over the top rope.
HHH follows him out, but that ends up being a stupid idea as Rocky reverses a whip into the steps and HHH’s knees slam into them. Back inside, the Rock wraps HHH’s legs in the ropes and then jumps on them in a cool looking spot.
Rocky slaps a leg grapevine on and tries for the figure four again, but gets kicked off into the turnbuckle. HHH catches him on the rebound and it's Pedigree time to even it up (Tied up 1-1).
Rock is still woozy and tries to fight back, but HHH catches him with a very sloppy looking inside cradle for another pin (HHH 2-1). Rock gets sent to the outside as I realize that Shawn’s referee shirt is actually longer than his shorts, they seem to be getting smaller by the minute.
They fight up to the entranceway and HHH gets sent into the steel set and takes a clothesline. HHH gets a suplex for a double-KO spot on the floor so Shawn counts them both as we are halfway through at 30 minutes.
They make their way back to the ring and Rocky hits HHH with a back suplex and backdrops him onto the floor. Shawn informs the JR that he’s not counting any of these guys out. Finally, we’re back inside and the Rock gets caught with his head down and HHH delivers a sweet looking piledriver for another pin (HHH 3-1).
I love that the pins in this match are coming off of things other than finishing moves or giant table spots.
Rocky gets beat down in the corner, but he explodes out and catches HHH with a clothesline. Hunter reverses, however, and catches the Rock with his own clothesline for a two count. HHH decides to go up top (?!?) but gets slammed off a la Ric Flair for a double-KO.
Rock nails him with good looking right hands and busts out La Magisterial for two—damn, didn’t know Rocky had that in him. HHH catches him with a high knee for a two count and grabs a sleeper, a great move for a long match.
HHH tries to use the ropes for extra leverage, but Shawn catches him and boots his legs off the ropes. HHH tries for the sleeper again, but Rocky counters this time with a belly to belly suplex for two. They screw up a floatover DDT but it still gets the pin (HHH 3-2).
40 minute mark has passed and they head to the outside again. The Rock slams him into the timekeeper’s table, and then HHH returns the favor. HHH tries to use a steel chair, but Shawn rips it from his hands and Rocky whips him into the steps. Rock gets a neckbreaker and sends HHH back inside where he finds the steel chair.
Hunter SMACKS the Rock in the face with it and earns a DQ from Shawn (Tied Up 3-3). However, HHH reveals he is a genius and now covers the Rock for the pin to take the lead again (HHH 4-3). That’s awesome.
Rocky is busted open and both men are exhausted with 15 minutes left. HHH slugs away and then sends Rocky off the ropes before locking on the sleeper again. They go with the classic “lift the arm 3 times to check if he’s still awake” spot and that wakes the Rock up.
Rocky fights back, but gets caught in the sleeper again and this time it actually WORKS! (HHH 5-3) Shawn rips HHH off of the Rock by his hair, and they get into a shoving match. Rocky slugs back as the crowd is starting to sense the desperation, and HHH gets whipped OVER the corner and to the floor, taking out a cameraman in the process.
Rocky brings him back inside and walks into a DDT for a two count as we’re past the 50-minute point.
HHH tries going up top but gets crotched and Rocky brings him off with a nice looking superplex for the double-KO. Rocky…slowly…crawls and gets a LONG two count aw there is only 8 minutes left. Rocky catches him with an elbow off the ropes and follows with a clothesline over the top and to the floor.
The Rock slugs him down on the outside and then slingshots him into the post, which would be great if he were wrestling Mr. Perfect.
HHH reverses a whip into the steps and Rock is in trouble with only six minutes left in the match. HHH cleans off the announce table, but Rocky fights him off and Pedigrees him on the table which DOESN’T BREAK! Damn. Now HHH is busted open and he gets counted out with four minutes left (HHH 5-4).
Now the McMahons make their return as they are getting a little nervous with this non-breaking table stuff. HHH almost gets counted out again but HHH stumbles back in with a little under three minutes left.
Rocky beats the hell out of HHH and smacks him with a clothesline. DDT plants HHH and Shane and Vince both get punched in the head. Rocky gets a spinebuster on HHH and the crowd is going NUTS! People’s Elbow ties it up with two minutes left (Tied up 5-5).
DX rushes the ring and Shane pulls Shawn outside, but gets knocked out for his trouble. Road Dogg and X-Pac jump into the ring, and Shawn gets blasted in the melee. DX is all over Rocky when, out of nowhere, the nursery rhyme video from earlier plays. Crowd is stunned waiting until…THE UNDERTAKER RETURNS!
It's Mark out city, baby. He comes out with his new American Badass character and the crowd is going absolutely insane. He just beats the hell out of anything that moves and chokeslams everyone.
Taker clears the ring until only HHH is left and he takes a chokeslam with 10 seconds left and the buzzer sounds to end the match. Wow, I’m breathless just WATCHING that ending. It looks to have the match end in a tie, but Shawn announces he has disqualified The Rock for Taker’s interference (HHH 6-5). Winner and NEW Champion: HHH
The crowd absolutely HATES that one. The Undertaker doesn’t like it too much either and he chases Shawn to the locker room while HHH is dragged to the back with the belt. Well, the match took a little bit to get going but once they got in the groove, it was SWEET.
The finish was one of the most emotional I’ve seen, and I’ll go **** for a damn good match and a great main event.