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Ian Challis

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WWF VENGEANCE

  • Rather ashamedly, I've been a sucker for these "history-making" shows that the WWF has been promoting this year. InVasion ruled, in my book, as did Survivor Series-simply because we were unlikely to see anything with that unique value ever again. So I'm pretty pumped for this show. We'll see how well it fairs.

  • Incredibly cool opening promo sees Freddie Blassie (who was scheduled to die in August by Stephanie McMahon) watching a film of assorted WWF and WCW Champions. And here's the kicker: it's all set to CLASSICAL MUSIC. Mad!

  • Comin' atcha liiiiiiiiiiiiiive from San Diego, California, your hosts are Jerry "Electric Boogaloo" Lawler and Jim "Cheek To Cheek" Ross. Set Report: This month's is mid-way on the swank-o-meter; kind of a pyramid of three big screens, with the entrance underneath the biggest. Cannot compare to the Backlash Spikes Of Death, of course.

  • Just to test my patience, Vince is out to remind us all that yes, his ass is a star. Basic message for today: he who laughs last, laughs loudest. Or longest, as the proverb actually goes. Nyah. Before Vince can whip out his Johnson and piss in the middle of the ring, Ric Flair struts the aisle and reminds McMahon that there is actually a show to run tonight. See, now this is how to freshen up Vince's little ego marathons.

  • Special Bonus Opening Match: Too Jewish Vs. Test/Christian: Albert gets jiggy in front of Vince, much to his chagrin. Christian's entrance is disgustingly ignored, causing Fink to falter on the announcements of the heel team when they enter together. FOR SHAME! Scotty and Christian kick it off with the usual and Scotty takes over. Tags on both sides, and Albert whomps Test as the commentators ignore the T&A history. Jiggy splash gets two, and Albert piefaces Christian off the apron. Scotty gets the tag, and Christian guillotines him over the top strand. The heels go to work on him as King reels off wacky names for the face team. Test comes in to clean up, and eats a Scotty superkick. Hot tags both sides, and Albert's a proverbial house afire. Jiggy jabs on Test! Albert makes a heel sandwich in the corner, and gets two on Christian from a big swing. He clotheslines both heels, but Test pulls him to the floor. Christian blocks the W-O-R-M with a slop drop and mocks it, but Albert comes in. He eats the Face Punt from Test, but Scotty breaks up the cover. W-O-R-M on Test, and Christian takes the Baldo Bomb for the pin. Yeah, get jiggy fat boy!

    Winners: Albert & Scotty II Hotty via pinfall at 6:21.

    Rating: *1/2. Fun opener with little substance. Hell, it served it's purpose of getting the crowd riled up, and the end sequence was HOT. We can't ask for more than that.

  • Regal cuts a snotty promo with Coach, who shockingly does not steal a vehicle in this segment. Regal's opinion of Coach: "Pillock". TESTIFY!

  • WWF Intercontinental Title Match: Edge Vs. William Regal: Regal's new music is...weird. Better than the old one, I guess-at least this one sounds vaguely menacing. The ref pats Regal for the knux prematch. They start off with some basic grappling, and Edge takes over with a second-rope dropkick, causing Regal to bail. JR talks up Regal's carny background as they fight on the floor. Back in, and Edge gets a backdrop for two. Regal forearm gets two, and Regal strikes with some knees to the face. They trade some reversals, and Regal knees Edge in the head off of a sunset flip for two. Edge cradles him for two. Regal's Running Knee Of Death gets two. He stomps Edge, to BIGTIME heel heat, and gets a near-fall from a suplex. Edge coems back with a neckbreaker and the Edge-O-Matic for two. Regal goes upstairs and gets rana'd down for two. Edge Northern Lights suplex gets two, and he sends Regal outside. He preps for a spear off the apron-but misses and crashes head-first into the steps. Painful. Regal retrieves a set of brass knux from under the ring as the ref checks on Edge. Boy, that Regal-he's as cunning as a fox that's just been appointed professor of cunning at Cunning U. Back inside, and Regal covers Edge for a VERY suspect two count. Butterfly powerbomb gets two, and Edge scores with a pair of rollups for two. Regal hits another pair of butterfly bombs, for two. Poor Tajiri-Edge kicks out of THREE, whereas one is enough to polish off the little Japanese blighter. Regal gets frustrated and goes for the knux, but Edge spears him out of nowhere for the surprise pin. JR assures that this issue is far from over.

    Winner And Still Intercontinental Champion: Edge via pinfall at 9:07.

    Rating: ***. The expected style clash wasn't even a factor here-they meshed pretty well and produced Edge's usual good-but-not-great match. He definitely needs more seasoning, though.

  • Kurt Angle and Flair play Wayne & Garth backstage. Flair's looking sharp tonight, I must say.

  • Matt Hardy promises Lita a night on the town after beating Jeff. Lita's getting manlier by the day.

  • This Hardyz video package just screams GAY GAY GAY

  • Jeff Hardy Vs. Matt Hardy, Special Referee-Lita: Lita gets the biggest pop of all. Bad sign. The brothers feel each other out to start (bad choice of words, I know), and Matt slips into the heel role surprisingly well. They trade armbars, and Matt slams him for two. Chop exchange, and Matt hits Snake Eyes and a clothesline for two. Sleeper on Jeff, who reverses, and Matt suplexes his way out of it. The AHHHHHHHHlegdrop misses, and Jeff hits one of own for two. Matt crotches Jeff on a moonsault attempt and stomps him in the Tree Of Woe, finally drawing some heel heat. Schoolboy gets two. Jeff goes to the apron and Matt sunset flips out, which Jeff reverses to a rana. Both guys flop around outside for a bit. Jeff sunset flips back in, but jars his knee in the process, giving us the story of the match. Matt instantly channels the spirit of Owen Hart, zooming in on the leg like a vulture and not letting up. Jeff counters a powerbomb into a legsweep and gets two off the compactor rollup. Matt goes back to the leg, and Jeff eventually sends him to the floor. He nails a baseball slide, but the leg gives way when he attempts a pescado. Matt goes after the leg, and Jeff hits his inverted enzuiguri. Slugfest, and Jeff counters the Twist Of Fate with a low blow. He goes upstairs, and Matt tosses him down. The Twist is again countered, and Matt gets a backslide for two. He sits on a sunset flip and grabs the ropes for two, drawing the ire of Lita. Matt argues with her, and Jeff rolls him up for two. He goes up top and Matt follows. A top-rope Twist Of Fate is attempted, but Jeff shoves him down and nails the Swanton. That gets the three, but Matt's foot was on the ropes. CONTROVERSY! Matt storms off as Lita the BITCH raises Jeff's hand.

    Winner: Jeff Hardy via pinfall at 12:41.

    Rating: **. This match would be easy to pan for it's methodical pace, but the psychology was there and Matt developed an interesting character as the match went on. And it got me wanting a rematch, which is always worthy of something.

  • Trish and Rocky smoulder some backstage.

  • WWF Tag Team Title Match: The Dudley Boyz w/Stacy Vs. The Big Show/Kane: Please let it be painless. Kane's entrance gets the "Desire-O-Vision" treatment. Things kick off with the Duds bumping around for Kane, and Show come sin and mops up, slamming Bubba for two. D-Von won't tag in, so Bubba pokes Show in the eye to reassure him. D-Von comes in, and promptly takes a sidewalk slam for two. Corner crunch (mit Rude Swivel!) by Show, and it all breaks down again. The faces kill the Duds with double-team Avalanches and toss them, then kane dives onto them from the top. Nice. Stacy, like an IDIOT, gets in the ring, allowing Show to spank her. Kane comes back in takes a double-team neckbreaker, but soon comes back. The Duds provoke Show, allowing a Wazzup behind the ref's back. Double flapjack on Kane, but he fights out the 3D and makes the tag. Show cleans house with room to spare, but Kane accidentally nails him with the flying lariat. Bubba covers for two, and Show and Kane bicker. They resume brawling, and Show clobbers Kane by mistake. He turns around into a flapjack onto the EXPOSED TINY TURNBUCKLE RING OF DEATH for the pin. Damn, that looked BRUTAL.

    Winners And Still WWF Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz via pinfall at 6:51.

    Rating: *1/4. Shockinglu more bearable than I'd have thought at first. The right team went over, the action was kept short and the ending wasn't too convoluted. Let's just pray that this DOESN'T lead to another Show/Kane feud.

  • Lita tries hard to make up backstage, but Matt's a raging homoerotic bull, baby.

  • WWF Hardcore Title Match: The Undertaker Vs. Rob van Dam: The Undertaker looks like a giant Val Venis with that haircut. And they should change his entrance now that he resides in heeldom. AND van Dam STILL needs "Walk" for his entrance music. Taker shoves van Dam around to start, and RVD fires back with some quickness. Top-rope cannonball gets two for RVD. Heel kick gets two. Taker crotches van Dam on the top rope and boots him to the floor, as JR and King have bizarre discussion about cups. Taker pounds van Dam on the floor but eats post on a charge, and RVD send shim over the railings. Taker fights back amongst the crowd and chokes him with a flag, but RVD fires back with a moonsault for two. They wander over to the entrance area, and Taker dumps a rail on van Dam's face and STANDS ON IT. Ouch ouch ouch. RVD comes back with spray of CO2, followed by a few fire extinguisher shots and a trash can to the head. He climbs up to the nearby balcony-there's the thumbs-and there's a HUGE CROSSBODY! for two. They brawl up the stairs and out onto the stage, and RVD gets two from a spinning legdrop. Taker beats him up some, and javelins him into the set. Jesus, Kevin Nash eat your heart. He tries the Last Ride, but van Dam grabs the set to escape and nails Rolling Thunder for two. Seated Van Daminator gets two. Taker dodges a second van Daminator and chairs the Hell out of the champ, then sets up a Tombstone. Van Dam promptly escapes and tries another Van Daminator, but Taker dodges and CHOKESLAMS HIM OFF THE STAGE. RVD goes through two tables on the way down, and I'm pretty sue he's dead. Taker calmly descends and pins the fallen champ for the win and the title. Taker scurries off with his new belt, giving van Dam a "SHIT that guy's TOUGH" look on the way. Cool.

    Winner And New Hardcore Champion: The Undertaker via pinfall at 11:06.

    Rating: ***1/4. RVD bumped like a mofo and Taker sold more than he has all year. The outcome wasn't of major importance because there'll be a rematch, I guarantee it. I think this heel turn might just work, folks.

  • Jericho takes his turn bitching out Flair.

  • A nice classy video package on HHH's rehab, set, rather alarmingly, to the upbeat tones of U2's Beautiful Day. Positively Hunter?

  • WWF Women's Title Match: Trish Vs. Jackie: Jackie takes over almost immediately, throwing Trish around like a ragdoll and generally stiffing her in every way. Highlights include a SAD rollup by Trish for a measly one-count, and some nasty kicks by Jackie. Finish comes when they knock noggins, and Trish capitalises with a backslide. Just pointless.

    Winner And Still WWF Women's Champion: Trish via pinfall at 3:36.

    Rating: DUD. I'm not even sure what this was doing on the card, in all honesty.

  • And here's a replay of that fresh and entertaining "Kiss My Ass" show from SmackDown. Oh, how we laughed.

  • Rikishi's backing that as up at WWFNY, because, well, I dunno.

  • This "Undisputed Champion" video reel is superb, especially Austin's "What?" part.

  • And here's some lame-ass pyro to start the mini-tournament.

  • WWF Title Match: Kurt Angle Vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin: This is it, folks. Staredown to start, and they tease some lockups, then grapple on the ropes. Austin kickstarts it with some fists, and Angle bails. Back in and Angle wrestles Austin down, and HE bails. Awesome awesome psychology. Back in, and there's some more feeling out to be done. They trade blows, and Austin gets some chops. Kurt goes for the ankle lock, and Austin flips through and beats on him. He goes to work on Angle's left arm and takes it outside, throwing Angle shoulder-first into the ringpost. Back inside and Kurt tries a comeback, but Austin gets an armbar takedown for two as JR and King talk about the Gotch/Hackenschmidt legacy. Austin fires off some more chops, and Angle rolls him into the ankle lock! Austin barely makes the ropes, so Angle tosses him and they brawl. Angle trips Austin in the ring and works his knee around the ringpost. Angle sets it up-yes-RINGPOST FIGURE FOUR! Austin sells it like a mother. Angle breaks and goes back inside, applying the ankle lock again. Austin rolls through, but gets met with a belly-to-belly suplex. Angle, King Of The Spot-Stealers, stomps a mudhole in Austin and hits a German trifecta for two. He goes up, but the Hollybuster moonsault misses and Austin hits the Thesz Press. Austin spinebuster gets two. Austin, not to be outdone, goes ahead and throws FIVE German suplexes for a damn close two count. They lay around on the ropes and Angle sneaks in a low blow. Angle Slam gets...two. No-one was buying that as an ending. Angle throws a hissy fit and goes for a Stunner, but Austin shoves him off and hits it himself for the pin to advance. Phase One is complete, and JR preps for Phase Two by all but promising Austin/Rock V in the final.

    Winner And Still WWF Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin via pinfall at 15:02.

    Rating: ***. Super-great old school match with solid wrestling and swank psychology. Both men looked like main-eventers here, there were no underhanded tactics at play. Good show, old man.

  • Test Rude gets all friendly with Trish backstage, and when she spurns him he somehow turns it into a reminder of his immunity. I have no idea what the purpose of this segment was.

  • World Title Match: The Rock Vs. Chris Jericho: Locukp, and they go into the opening exchanges. Jericho escapes an armbar and slaps on a headlock, and Rocky pushes him off and lays the smack down. Big ol' clothesline, but a Jericho leg lariat puts Rocky outside and the springboard dropkick keeps him there. They trade the advantage on the floor, and back in the ring Jericho gets a flying back elbow for two. Suplex, and JERICHO RESURRECTS THE COME ON BABAY POSE! Marvellous. Jericho lays in some chops, but a big clothesline gets two for Rocky.Belly-to-belly and a Samoan drop get two, and Jericho catches him with a sleeper. There's the arm-test, and there's the comeback. He pounds Jericho but gets put down. Jericho misses a LionSault, but gets the bulldog and nails it on a second try. It gets only two, and Jericho throws a tantrum. Suplex and he goes upstairs, but Rock crotches him. Jericho shoves Rock down on a superplex attempt, but Rocky rolls through the followup crossbody for two. An enraged Jericho stomps Rocky down, but gets tossed. Some more brawling, and Jericho catapults Rocky into the ringpost. He preps the announce table and sets up a Rock Bottom through it, but Rock fights back-and there's a DDT on the table! Nice.

    Rock drags Jericho back inside and sets up the Rock Bottom, but Jericho counters into the Breakdown. Standing senton, and he comes the JERICHO ELBOW, BABAY. Rocky catches the leg, unfortunately, and tries the Sharpshooter, but Jericho turns it into one of his own! Jericho is ON tonight. Rock fights to the ropes and Jericho tries the Walls, but Rock cradles him for two. ROCK BOTTOM OUTTA NOWHERE! Rock covers, and heeeeeeeeeeere's Vince, ready to distract the ref. Rocky smacks him off the apron and delivers the People's Elbow to Jericho, then resumes beating on Vince. Silly Rock-there's a low blow, and there's a Jericho Bottom! 1,2,3!

    Winner And New World Champion: Chris Jericho via pinfall at 19:06.

    Rating: ****. That match absolutely rocked, save for the somewhat loose style at times. Not as good as No Mercy, but then they were obviously holding back so as not to overshadow the big one.

  • Jericho barely has time to raise his belt before Austin's music once again hits and the final match is ON LAHK NECKBONE. BUT FIRST! Here's Kurt Angle, to crown Austin with spiffing steel chair! And here's the Rock, with a charming Rock Bottom for World Champion Jericho! Start the match, Hebner! Hey, that's a damn cool graphic!

  • World Title Unification Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin Vs. Chris Jericho: Hebner, ever the awful official, actually flirts with counting both men out right off the bat. Jericho thwarts that by rolling onto Austin for a two-count. He chops away at Austin, and beats him down with some punch-kick offence, but chews on an Austin spear. Jericho, meet the turnbuckle-thirteen times. Hey, Austin's saying hi to Tazz! Jericho bails on the Stunner attempt, so Austin beats the piss out of him on the floor. There goes the floor padding-and there goes Austin after a Jericho clothesline. They fight atop the Spaniards' table and Austin goes for a Stunner, but Jericho blocks into the Walls. Austin sends him off the table to the floor, and delivers a suplex onto the concrete. Back inside, and Jericho sends Austin into the ringpost a coupla times. Some more chops, but he misses a dropkick and Austin gets a catapult. Clothesline gets two, and Jericho turns the pin into an armbar. He uses the ropes and Hebner breaks it up. Jericho suplex, but Austin gets a gutshot and chops away. He tries a backdrop, and Jericho rolls through into the Walls. Austin makes the ropes. Jericho goes back to stompin', and tries the flying forearm-which promptly smashes Hebner in the face. Doy.

    Austin makes a comeback, but Jericho low blows him and hits an ugly Stunner. Vince reappears with Evil Ref Nick Patrick in tow, but before he can make any crazy decisions Ric Flair runs down and takes him out. Vince clobbers Flair(!), and Austin nutshots Jericho in the ring. He spies Vince and takes time out to kick the crap out of him, then he goes back in and applies the Walls Of Austin on Jericho. Jericho taps-but OF COURSE there's no ref. Austin says "Fuck It" and keeps the hold on, but like a shadow in the night (oops, bad choice of words) Booker T delivers a NASTY belt shot. He vanishes as soon as he appeared, and Jericho crawls over as Hebner rouses....1....2.....3!!!!!!!! LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, YOUR UNDISPUTED WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, CHRIS JERICHO!

    Winner And Undisputed World Champion: Chris Jericho via pinfall at 12:37.

    Rating: ***. A fitting end to a great hour of action. Jericho is the new champ, Austin is PISSED, there is a wealth of new stories to be explored and, most importantly, the wrestling was spot on.

    Final Thought: Barring X-7, I'd label this as the best all-round show of the year. Good hardcore, good spotfest, gooes mat wrestling, good sports entertainment, Hell, good everything. The main event line-up delivered in spades, and Jericho winning could well be a moment that is remembered by wrestling fans for decades. A highly recommended show.

    Ian Challis
    R.I.P The Shooters

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